Just as our rainy June came to an end, the TRAYLS crew completed the first half of their season. The first three weeks of the season were followed with a variety of activities including fish trapping, trail maintenance, beach asparagus harvesting, tree coring up Ear Mountain and more!
Week four was spent clearing trails and setting fish traps with Marlene Duvall from the Forest Service. We lopped overgrowth, picked up trash, and did other routine activities to maintain Bear Paw Lake trail and Wukuklook trail for the summer.
Another fun task we did with Marlene was set fish traps! After clearing the Suntaheen Fish Pass, we set a few fish traps up-stream to see if the fish pass was working. Turns out it is!
We also set some in Upper Game Creek both up and down-stream of culverts that will be replaced to see what fry are present.
Fish trapping is not only essential to carry out Forest Service projects, but also allowed us to practice our fish fry identification! We observed three types: Coho, Dolly Varden trout, and Cutthroat trout.
Coho fry have regular par marks along the body, have orange on the fins and tail, and have a distinct white stripe along their anal fin. The base of the anal fin is also wider than the base of their dorsal fin. Trouts on the other hand are usually darker, have irregular par marks along the body, and the base of their dorsal fin is wider than the base of their anal fin. You can distinguish Cutthroat from Dollies by observing the face- if the mouth extends past the eye and there are red marks on the throat, it’s a Cutthroat.
We ended the week by hiking and maintaining part of the Spasski trail. The Forest Service will be upgrading the trail in the future, so we helped take measurements for bridges and set fish traps to identify what species are present in those tributaries of Coho river.
Thank you again Marlene and those at the Forest Service having us with you and sharing your knowledge!
One highlight of our fifth week was beach asparagus harvesting and processing with Huna Heritage Foundation, Gordon Greenwald, and other HIA Environmental staff! We set out to Burnt Point with a goal to gather five gallons of beach asparagus for the Traditional Food Fair at the end of the summer.
The whole next day was spent cleaning beach asparagus, making the pickling brine, and sealing jars of pickled beach asparagus!
Another highlight of our last week before the mid-season break was the hike up Ear Mountain to collect tree core data to tell us about the climates of the past! The way up was steep, buggy, and completely covered in brush like devil’s club, but the crew was persistent and stayed positive the whole time. It was a great team-bonding experience and we collected a lot of data along the way.
It’s hard to believe the season is already halfway over! Thankfully there’s still plenty of fun and learning to be done.
Written by Arianna Lapke