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Meet The Leslie Family

The Leslie family’s love for Alaska, its rich culture, and majestic landscape is honored in all of their activities. Through nearly 30 years of owning and operating their company, the family has gained extensive experience with Alaska’s waters and wildlife. The family has been navigating the wild Stikine River and safely guiding guests through the AnAn Bear & Wildlife Observatory for over 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’ Land Tour Manager. She also instructs in Alaska Waters’ guide training program and created our new outdoors store 56° North.


James Leslie II  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 Dreadnaught & 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 acquired 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.