Great Alaska Adventures was founded by Laurence and Kent John and Kathy Haley. This is their story.
Laurence and his family were in Los Angeles California in the late '50's and early '60's living the beach life. After receiving the "dream promotion", Laurence decided a move to New York was not something he wanted for his family, and he and his wife Sharon bailed on corporate America, shucked the L.A. life and drove North to the Pacific Northwest.
Once there, they began developing and operating world class destination 'KOA" campgrounds on the Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island, Canada. That was the the beginning of their love affair with amazing locations, travel and adventure. During those early years they developed the "client first" attitude that is Great Alaska Adventures defining focus today. Many things have changed as the Kenai river has rolled by, but that passion to provide the trip of a lifetime has remained a constant.
In 1981, Laurence and Kent both travelled North to Alaska. They say once you travel to Alaska, you "never go all the way back". Laurence had explored the state in the late 60's on a Caribou hunt in the Fairbanks area and his heart never completely left Alaska. Kent was attending Washington State University in the fall, and had gotten some rough work at a salmon cannery on the Nushagak River to hopefully salt away some money. After the salmon season ended in August, Kent connected with Laurence on the Kenai Peninsula and spent a couple great weeks fishing, traveling and cold-calling folks to sell campground spots in Anchor point (the job Laurence had taken to subsitize his trip North....not Kent's favorite part of the trip!).
For those two weeks, Laurence and Kent discovered the incomparable Kenai Peninsula- a virtual microcosm of all that is the Greatland. Incredible wildlife, scenic splendor and the world's most amazing sport fishing. In their travels there they met Kathy Haley, an Alaska native and the daughter of a famous Kenai Peninsula homesteader, Walt Pederson. Kathy was raised on the lodge property and is truly Alaskan in every sense of the word.
Kathy's father, Walt had spent his years on the peninsula operating a air taxi company from the homestead, flying Super Cubs (Alaskan Bush Plane Par excellance) and flying folks from Anchorage looking for property to homestead. Walt was a crafty guy and he chose the greatest property of all...the confluence of the Moose and Kenai RIves where Great Alaska Adventure Lodge now sits, and where we have spend the last 37 summers sharing it all with our amazing guests. Read more about Walt and the Homestead history here.
Laurence, Kathy and Kent and their families formed the basis for Great Alaska Fish Camp. We added non fishing adventure travel packages and called that Great Alaska Safaris, and finally added the BearCamp in 2002. That is still the heart of Great Alaska Adventures, which has become the #1 adventure travel and fishing lodge in Alaska. Laurence and his wife Deb, Kathy and her husband John and Kent and his wife Julie are all deeply involved in the resort. 3 generations of family have now served our fantastic guests as Mackenzie John joined her parents at the lodge while she attends school herself.
More to come......
Receive a copy of our exciting 2019 Legendary Adventures brochure in the mail and we'll have our 40 page catalog in the sent to you right away. In the meantime, dive into the online version, and please let us know if you have any questions! Our office staff has a combined 100 years of Alaska and worldwide adventure travel experience, and we'd love to put that knowledge to work to assist your planning.