It’s a day some people look forward to all year long. On Saturday, the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for salmon camp registration. So far to date, no one has actually camped outside the door the night before registration but lines outside the visitor center form early. And while it’s not the only day to register, around 80 percent of the camping slots fill up on the first day.
This year marks the 15th time the refuge has put on the camp which is officially called, "Kodiak Summer Science and Salmon Camp." Locally known as "Salmon Camp" the summer-long program has a huge following with many of the campers returning year after year.
The environmental educational specialist for the refuge is Kristen Donaldson. She says camp activities are strategically tied to learning objectives but you won’t find campers sitting in a lecture hall.
— (Salmon Camp 1 "We have a … we’re outside.")
The manager of the visitor’s center is Tina Shaw. She talked about why adults are so eager to sign kids up for the program.
— (Salmon Camp 2 "There’s a certain … part of that.")
The camp is a large undertaking for the staff of the refuge. Planning takes place year-round then a camp director and counselors are hired for the summer to carry out the seven-week program. Donaldson explained why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service thinks its all worthwhile.
— (Salmon Camp 3 "Well, of course … spark that interest.")
Shaw offered more details on the registration process.
(Salmon Camp 4 "It opens this … Saturday the third.")
She said there are also some scholarships for camp based on need. Depending on age group the camp costs from 75 dollars a week for the youngest campers to 225 dollars for junior high "Adventure Camp." The scholarships are provided by Alaska Geographic, which is the store located within the visitor’s center at 402 Center Street.