The Leslie Family
The Leslie family’s love for Alaska, its rich culture, and majestic landscape comes across in all of their activities. The family believes that it is important to volunteer their time and individual talents to the local community, state, and nation. Through 25 years of owning and operating their company, the family has gained extensive experience with Alaska’s waters and wildlife. The family has guided Black & Brown Bears tours at AnAn Bear & Wildlife Observatory for 25 years.
Jim Leslie grew up in Montesano, Washington. Living in the Pacific Northwest, he has been an outdoorsman his whole life and began operating boats on rivers when he was 12 years old. On the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, he instructed white-water canoeing for many years. Later Jim moved to Wrangell, Alaska and co-founded Alaska Waters, Inc. Jim has since made Alaska his home and has lived here for 41 years. He has over 25,000 hours of experience operating boats in Alaska’s waters, including over 30 years navigating the Stikine River. Jim has served his community as a board member and President of the Wrangell Chamber of Commerce, as commissioner and chairman of the City of Wrangell Port Commission, as well as an Emergency Trauma Technician and a member of the Wrangell Volunteer Fire Department.
Brooke Leslie is the first born of Jim & Wilma Leslie. She was born and raised in Wrangell, Alaska. She follows her mother’s heritage of Haida & Tlingit descent, as is tradition. She is well versed in Wrangell’s Tlingit songs & dance and has grown to develop a significant interest in music. She has worked for the family business since she was 12 years old. She graduated from Wrangell High School and went on to receive her Bachelors of Science degree in Accounting with a Musical Theatre emphasis at the University of Idaho while attending the Lionel Hampton School of Music. Raised in the family business, Brooke has extensive knowledge on Southeast Alaska’s history, geology, glaciology, biology and botany. Although she is not a Licensed Captain, like her father and brother she is also an accomplished jet boat operator. She is a versatile employee and a competent fit for any position at Alaska Waters. Currently, Brooke is Alaska Waters’ Business Manager and is responsible for all administrative aspects of the company. She also instructs in Alaska Waters’ guide training program and oversees our Gift Store retail sales.
James Leslie II is the youngest child of Jim & Wilma Leslie. He was born and raised in Wrangell, Alaska and also follows his mother’s heritage of Haida & Tlingit descent, as is tradition. He is an avid outdoorsman who loves hunting, fishing, trapping and running his boats. James graduated from Wrangell High School and went on to receive his Associates Degree in diesel mechanics at Idaho State University. James has worked for Alaska Waters most of his life. He started his Captain’s career sitting on his dad’s lap learning how to read water on rivers and control jet boats as a very young lad. He has become an excellent jet boat operator and currently works as Alaska Water’s “Master Captain” of the Chutine Warrior. Through his lifetime on the Stikine River, he has acquired an impressive knowledge of geology, glaciology, biology and botany. Raised in the family guiding business, James loves to share his passion and knowledge about Southeast Alaska. He has been an AnAn bear guide since he was 12 years old and has developed into an accomplished bear guide, acquiring extensive knowledge of Black & Brown Bear behavior, body language, and personality traits. He has a keen interest in Alaska’s wildlife including moose, birds, marine mammals, and bears. As a result, he is quite knowledgeable about the local wildlife.
Alaska Waters’ Team
Britany Kee’ ya aa. Lindley was born and raised in Wrangell, Alaska. She is the last of three daughters of Elsie Kalkins-Lindley and Jody Lindley. She inherits Tsimshian blood from her father’s family and represents the Tlingit traditions from her mother’s family. Britany’s great grandfather Svere Larsen made the journey to Wrangell from Oslo, Norway in search of gold and ended up making Wrangell his home for his love Emma Shakes. Britany is a direct descendent of Chief Shakes VI, Gush-Klin II. Britany’s Tlingit name is Kee’ ya aa. (Key-yuh-ahh), which translates to “when dawn appears.” She is of the Raven moiety, a member of the Kaachadi Clan and represents a Raven/Frog crest on her traditional Tlingit regalia. Britany has been an active member in Wrangell’s native community since she was a young child in the Johnson O’Malley Program. She’s a drummer, dancer, and singer for theShtax’Heen Kwaan dancers of Wrangell. She’s worked as a guide in Chief Shake’s House, interpreting many native legends and preforming traditional songs. Britany is a first generation college graduate, graduating from Pacific Lutheran University in the spring of 2012 with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in English and Legal Studies. She is an aspiring lawyer, attending Seattle University School of Law for Indian Affairs in the fall of 2015.
Britany adds an important element to the Alaska Waters team as Assistant Manager, Reservation Specialist, and a guide for our Island Highlights & Cultural Tour.
Glen Decker has worked and lived in Alaska for 17 years. He is an avid outdoorsman, subsistence hunter and fisherman. He lived in Wrangell in his early twenties and then moved to Seattle for some time where he trained for and became a certified arborist (professional tree climber). In 2007, he and his wife, Kelley, decided to return to Wrangell to raise their family. For many years, Glen worked as a boat operator and crew leader building and maintaining facilities in the Tongass National Rain Forest, including AnAn Bear & Wildlife Observatory. Glen also has experience as a Wilderness Ranger for the United States Forest Service. During his time with the USFS, he kayaked the entire South Etolin and Stikine/LeConte Wilderness coastlines. Glen has Kayak Guide Trip & Rescue Training from the Kayak Academy in Seattle.
Glen has worked for Alaska Waters for several years now. He is a licensed Captain, deckhand and bear guide. He has extensive knowledge about wildlife and plants in SouthEast Alaska. He loves to share his knowledge about animals with interested guests. Glen has impressive skills at managing bears and people in close quarters. He does an excellent job and is an invaluable member of our crew.
Katie Ballou was raised on the East Coast USA and moved to Dutch Harbor, Alaska in 2011 with her family of 5. In 2009, Katie gained her certification as a Certified Nurses Assistant. Katie graduated from Unalaska High School and continued her education at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau. In January of 2014, she moved to Wrangell, Alaska and in May she joined our crew. In the off season, Katie is an elementary school teacher. She enjoys staying active with indoor and outdoor activities. Being an Alaskan, she spends her downtime sport fishing and camping up the river with friends.
Katie is an influential member of our crew here at Alaska Waters. She works as a Reservation Specialist who is dedicated to AnAn Bear and Wildlife Observatory Regulations and Reservations.
Kacie Galla was born and raised in Wrangell, Alaska. She grew up working and playing on boats, hunting, and camping with her family of 4. Kacie started working for her dad as a deckhand on jet boats at an early age. She is an outdoorsy Alaskan girl who has an interest in environmental science. She enjoys Wrangell High School extra-curricular activities and is a Senior Varsity athlete. Kacie is currently attending Ft. Lewis College in Durango, CO during the winter months. and hopes to gain her Bachelors Degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing.
Kacie is a valued member of our crew. She is a versatile employee working as a deckhand on the boats, as a consultant on retail sales in our gift store and is a Reservation Specialist.
Scott McAuliffe has worked and lived in Alaska for 20 years. In the off season, Scott’s primary interests include hunting, fishing, trapping and logging. Scott is an excellent fresh water fishing guide and specializes in teaching fly-fishing. Beyond Alaskan outdoor activities, he is a member of the Wrangell Volunteer Fire Department and has advanced EMT training.
Scott has worked for Alaska Waters for several years now as a licensed Captain, deckhand and bear guide. He has extensive knowledge about wildlife and plants in SouthEast Alaska. He loves to share his knowledge about animals with interested guests. Scott has impressive skills at managing bears and people in close quarters. He does an excellent job and is an invaluable member of our crew.