Outfitter and Guide Training: How to be successful in Southeast Alaska


SourDough News | April 29, 2014

Picture of a glacier, a bear, and ancient Alaska Native art.


Outfitters and guides who work in the Tongass National Forest and Glacier Bay National Park recently had the opportunity to attend a training program on tour guide operating in Southeast Alaska. The training, which was held April 7-11, 2014, was hosted by the U.S. Forest Service, Admiralty Island National Monument, in collaboration with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.


The first session was a seminar series on the natural and cultural resources of Southeast Alaska. Professionals from the Department of Fish & Game, University of Alaska Southeast, Alaska Native Voices, and the Forest Service talked about cultural connections, glaciology, wildlife, marine mammals, archaeology, and Wilderness.


Joel Probst of Northern Safety Operations taught the second session, an Alaska Tour Guide program developed by the Department of Commerce in 2010. This “Train the Trainer” program covered: elements of a successful tour; different learning styles of clients and guides; Alaska’s visitors and their expectations; the art of interpretation or telling a story; and, principles and techniques for responding when tours don’t go as planned. Guides will be able to take these practical lessons back to their respective operations to share with their employees.


Participants came with a wealth of experience in areas ranging from sea kayaking to mini-cruises, and hunting to helicopter tours. While not everyone attended the full two sessions, there were 22 attendees overall.


One outfitter/guide said hearing the presentations from the Forest Service and Department of Fish & Game, and talking with others between sessions, gave him an increased respect for our work and willingness to collaborate. He inspired us when he said, “Had my life gone down a different path, I could see myself working in a building with all of you.”


By Kendra Huffine, Special Uses Permit Administrator, Admiralty National Monument and Juneau Ranger District