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 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 (shown here with his wife and partner in Adventure Debbie) 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 exploring the amazing Kenai. It was during these travels they found the area the lodge now sits on.
For those two weeks, Laurence and Kent discovered the incomparable Kenai Peninsula- a true "mini Alaska" Incredible wildlife, scenic splendor and the world's most amazing sport fishing. In their travels, LJ and Kent met 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) all formed the basis for Great Alaska Fish Camp in 1982. We added non fishing Adventure travel packages and called it Great Alaska Safaris . Laurence then discovered another homestead (that is another story for another time :)that became BearCamp in 2002. That is still the heart of Great Alaska Adventures, which has become the #1 adventure travel and fishing lodge in Alaska.
Day to day client operations are mostly handled by Kent and his wife Julie, and daughter Mackenzie and our amazing staff. Laurence still works the big picture stuff and Deb handles book and works with accounting. Kathy and her husband John retired a few years ago and spread the gospel of the Kenai Peninsula all over the Alaska and the southland each winter.
Each of our employees are special but here are a few of them:
Fishing Guide/adventure expert Steve: Steve has guided the Kenai river for Great Alaska for over 30 years. He is also a trip planner during the winter and sets up trips for our incoming guests. He's one of the finest fishermen on the planet.
Sales manager Andrew: Andrw has also been with us over 12 years. He is in the office full time setting up Adventures. When he sets up your trip, know that he has run the trips, booked the trips, sold the trips and delivered the trips on the ground for over a decade. There is no one better to set up your trip (except perhaps Steve - so it's a no-lose scenario!
Ops Manager Shari: Shari is our Operations Manager and has been with us for 5 years. She does an incredible job making sure your trip is a lifetime, memorable and smooth running success. Shari also manages our Safaris program and spends the winters in the mountains of Idaho.
Bearcamp Mgr/Lead Bear Guide Caprice: Caprice has been with us over 12 years keeping our clients safe and informed, and interacting with National Park rangers in the most professional way possible. During the winters she enjoys her new home and family in Tennessee and guides mountain trips for women and other groups all over the world.
Lead Safari Guide Johnny: Johnny and Caprice are married (one of the many Great Alaska romances over the years) and enjoy their new home, along with the music, history and culture of the Chatanooga area.
Ops Mgr. #2 Darahn: Darahn has been with us 7 years initially as a fantastic safari guide, and has grown into a our #2 operation mgr.and drone operator and videographer as well. Darahn works with Kent, Julie and Shari to make your trip a succes.
Executive chef Bobby: Bobby is in his 3rd year as executive chef and he delights in adding wonderful food to your Alaskan experience. We are so pleased to have him and know that you will feel the same.
Service manager/Concierge Star: Star is slso in her 3rd year and she and recently married our Exec. chef Bobby. She and Bobby travel the world each winter gathering new flavors and presentations to bring to your trip. Together they ensure that your meal service will be special.
Our Fishing guides, Safari guides and Bear Viewing guides are all incredible guides and will ensure your trip is the trip of a lifetime. I'll add more content as I have time.
Receive a copy of our exciting 2020 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.