Gondwana Ecotours Buys Alaska Grizzly Lodge in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS—Gondwana Ecotours and local partners Fred and Janet Vreeman have purchased the 8,600-square-foot Alaska Grizzly Lodge in Fairbanks. The new owners plan to renovate all of the rooms, add ramps and lifts, and expand the Northern Lights viewing area. Alaska Grizzly Lodge features fourteen rooms with access to private or shared aurora viewing decks. Trails for snowshoeing, hiking, or skiing are easily accessed from the lodge and Gondwana Ecotours plans to expand on-site activity options for tour groups. All rooms include high speed internet, cable TV, and home-cooked breakfasts. The lodge now offers rentals for winter gear, cameras, cross country skis and snowshoes.
“We are looking forward to renovating the property and providing a deluxe lodge experience with customized activity options to our guests as well as other travelers,” said Gondwana Ecotours Founder Jared Sternberg. “Over the past few years I have made great friends in Fairbanks, and I am excited for the job opportunities this lodge will be able to provide to the community. Our goal is to help protect and share the beautiful nature and culture that makes Alaska so special.”
Gondwana Ecotours has been offering tours in Fairbanks since 2013. The company typically runs twelve or more Northern Lights tours per season, as well as private and custom departures. Gondwana offers other adventures in Alaska, including kayaking and glacier adventures on the Kenai Peninsula, grizzly bear viewing in Katmai and polar bear viewing in the Arctic. Other worldwide destinations include Ecuador, Cuba, Patagonia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Louisiana, and Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.
Fred Vreeman has lived in Alaska since 1978 and has worked in the fields of natural resources and environmental conservation, and at the University of Alaska and the National Park Service. He currently works with Gondwana as their AK Tour Director, freelances as an engineer and also offers boat tours on the Yukon River.
“This lodge has incredible potential,” said Vreeman. “We will make upgrades and bring in local staff and vendors to make this feel like home for our guests from around the world, as well as locals who want to come share their stories and help us show travelers the Alaska we love.”
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Spreading the Word
When Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) first aired TV commercials featuring the tagline, “A Place That’s Always Been,” the reaction was surprising. Not only because they received numerous accolades and marketing awards for the campaign but because, at the time, it was rare for Alaska Native corporations to market themselves through the media.