EP11 – Alexander Feldt – The Life of a Park Ranger in Russia’s High Arctic

Alexander Feldt has spent the last decade working as an Arctic guide both on land and on expedition cruise ships in Russia’s Far North and Northern Norway, as well as serving as a Park Ranger for the Russian Arctic National Park.

Originally from Arkhangelsk on Russia’s northern coast, he’s spent his entire career focused on learning about and sharing his love for the history of this region.

Along with his insight into the recent history of the area, hear his stories of when he was on the world’s strongest icebreaker and they hit an iceberg larger than the ship itself, and of being stranded with 40 guests on land – in dense fog – right in the thick of polar bear country.

Cape Fligely from the icebreaker — Courtesy of Alex Cowan

Queue up today’s podcast to get the inside scoop on this fascinating yet little known, and less-traveled part of our world.


3:10 – How Alexander got started in his career as a Park Ranger

5:00 – The background of recently-developed tourism in the Russian High Arctic

8:00 – The only ways you can reach Franz Josef Land, one of the most remote archipelagos in the world

10:40 – There are only a handful of people who actually get to the Russian High Arctic each year – a truly exclusive and remote travel experience

13:30 – What it was like during the early days of tourism development (1990’s) and then the advent of the Russian Arctic National Park in 2011, with the first rangers starting to manage the human presence and maintain historical buildings

16:30 – The huge task of cleaning the Russian Arctic National Park from the leftovers of the military presence

18:50 – How the Park Rangers hitch a ride on the Icebreaker to “get to work” in this remote area

21:00 – On the development of guidelines to manage wildlife (polar bear) encounters based on AECO rules developed for Svalbard

23:00 – The critical importance of having park rangers with you in this remote and wild region

25:45 – How rangers deter polar bears when they are doing their conservation work on-site in the Park

30:00 – The challenges of managing a National Park that’s so huge and hard to monitor

32:00 – Alex shares a story of when the Russian Icebreaker 50 Years of Victory hit an iceberg that was higher than the icebreaker itself

36:00 – When Alex was stranded on land at the northernmost tip of Europe, Eurasia, and Russia at Cape Fligely in the fog with 40 passengers right in the thick of polar bear country

42:00 – Alexander’s “hobby” of protesting a landfill in Shies in the Russian North

50:00 – On the success of protests against landfills and the growing swell of support


The Russian North is Not A Dump (Facebook Group)

Appeal to Leaders and Organizations in the Barents Region


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