14 September 2021

Anchoring Down in Anchorage

Written by: David Castro

It is mid-September, and I just landed in Anchorage!


A bit of context for the title—I graduated from Vanderbilt University, where “Anchor Down” is often used as a rallying cry at sporting events. Ahead of each home game, an actual anchor drops at midfield. I remembered the phrase when I found out my newest work destination was Anchorage, which was referred to as “Anchor Point” over 200 years ago. Learning about the similarity made me even more excited to be in a place that locals sometimes call Anchortown.

In my last blog post I hinted at the possibility of traveling on business at some point during my fellowship. That moment is here, and I feel immense gratitude for the Hispanic Access Foundation and for my National Park Service supervisors who planned the trip. Reality hit me once I sat on the plane with my head above the clouds in the literal sense; next stop, the land known as The Last Frontier.

The flight itself lasted seven hours nonstop. I have flown on longer direct flights before, but this one seemed to exceed those by far, probably because my mind was racing through all the possibilities of what I will experience such as scenic highways, wildlife up close, and Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Perhaps part of my eagerness stemmed from the fact that I was seated on Alaska Airlines, so the name alone teased what the very near future had in store. Revisiting the mental list I compiled of what I packed, I tried to envision how I could rearrange the contents of my suitcase to fit any potential souvenirs. One of the first things I saw when I deplaned was a cool moose; the sign near it says that it is a world record Alaska-Yukon moose, found in Bear Creek in 1973. I included a photo of the moose and me in this blog post.

My Alaskan journey begins in the largest city of the 49th state, but I will be road-tripping via Glennallen and Homer as well, conducting interviews, snapping photographs, and leading public engagement. I love my job wholeheartedly; it allows me to spread my passion for conservation and for exploring different places with the general public. I get to share what I learn about cool projects nationwide, and that thrills me each and every day. I hope that the stories inspire future environmental stewards to enjoy these public spaces and others like them.

I write to you all from my hotel room close to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Soon I will have to bid farewell to The Air Crossroads of the World, another nickname for Anchorage. I will be off to Glennallen, regarded as the gateway to Wrangell–St. Elias National Park. Much more to come from the northernmost U.S. state!

Until next time,

Agency: National Park Service

Program: Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Program (COR)

Location: Rivers, Trails Conservation Assistance Program - DC Field Office

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