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The Alaska Wildlife Guide Team

- OWNERS -

Rainer Zahnen

a man standing next to a river

I am originally from Germany, and the founder and owner of Alaska-Wildlife-Guide LLC. I am a true outdoors person who enjoys sharing Alaska’s fascinating beauty with all our guests from around the world.
My passions are canoeing, hunting, fishing, hiking and snow machining. However, despite preferring the outdoors, my main job is managing the Tour company.

Jutta Zahnen

a woman wearing a hat and smiling at the camera

When I visited Alaska for the first time I fell in love with this incredible nature. After we settled in North Pole, and set up my husband’s company, we were asked so many times: “Where can we stay overnight?” We came up with the idea to build a cabin and rent it out, the customers just love it. I am responsible for all the good stuff that our customers receive on our tours like homemade stew, sandwiches, coffee and punch as well as the personalized lunch bags for each tour guest. You find me in the back but I am always there.

- OUR TOUR GUIDES -

We are so lucky to have found guides who believe in the ideas and goals of our business philosophy. We are very proud to have very knowledgeable, high motivated, extremely active and flexible people who live in Alaska not just for a short time, but year round. They know Alaska and the life in “The Last Frontier” and guide you through our special and interesting tours. Most of our guides are multilingual what helps to connect to our guests very well.

SUMMER GUIDES

Robert Bonestroo

a close up of a man

I came to Alaska in 2004 from Colorado to get my degree from the University of Alaska in Business Management and a minor in accounting which I finished in 2007. I was a part owner of a company that provided medevac insurance for Alaskans after college. I sold the company in September of 2016, and decided to go back to school to get a Masters in Education from UAF and plan to teach history to 8th graders when I finish my degree. I married a lifetime Alaskan in 2009 and we live near Fox, AK with our 4 Labradors. I am an avid birdwatcher, hunter, snow-machiner, atv and motorcycle enthusiast, and music lover. I love to talk about Alaska, and enjoy doing tours for people eager to have a true Alaskan experience.

YEAR-ROUND GUIDES

Jacob Bennett

a group of people sitting on the ground

I was born and raised in North Pole Alaska and have spent my time growing up here fishing, camping, hiking, snow machining, skiing and enjoying the beautiful outdoor life our state has to offer. When it came time to go out and get a real job I toured the highways all over the state as a long haul driver, from the port of Valdez to Prudhoe Bay and every road in between. I have hundreds of thousands of miles worth of experience and stories that I love to share with visitors to my exquisite and beautiful home.

Raydene (Ray) Wolney

a couple of people that are standing in the snow

Raydene (Ray) excels as an Alaska Wildlife Tour Guide, as soon as you meet her you can tell that she has a true passion for everything that is an integral part of the vast arctic wilderness that is in the interior and northern Alaska. Ray has an affinity for providing her guests with a unique, unforgettable experience by encouraging them to fully participate and be actively involved in the moment. She does so by sharing her knowledge of the history, people, flora, fauna and of the many unique natural wonders that surround them. “To be able to observe and share the beauty of the changing seasons in this dramatic landscape, this is definitely one of the most amazing feelings in the world”.


Cowie(Supervisor)

a close up of a cow looking at the camera

My name is Cowie and I lived my whole life here in Alaska. I came into this business through an unfortunate event which was Rainer’s and Dan’s hunting trip. My job is the most important one in this business. Sometimes, it is tough and a lot of work to be the supervisor in our beautiful and comfortable shop, but mostly I am just hanging around. And this makes up for all the hard work.

I make sure that everyone behaves during our snowmobile tours and that the vans are being cleaned properly. I am also the best photo model in this area, but will bite if you try to touch me.

- OFFICE EMPLOYEES -

Elizabeth Kirchgessner
(Office Manager)

a group of people posing for a photo

My husband, our dog, hairless cat, and I recently transferred to the great state of Alaska from Oahu. On Oahu I had the opportunity to work with companion animals as well as marine mammals as a veterinary technician. After moving here, I wanted to get to know more about the state of Alaska. I am pleased to be able to bring my years of management and superior customer service experience to this great company. My husband and I enjoy hiking, fishing, photography, and camping and cannot wait to get out and see everything Alaska has to offer.

Ellie Beck
(Assistant Manager)

a group of people posing for the camera

G’day!  I am originally from sunny, tropical Queensland, Australia and am married to a born and bred Alaskan and have two pet rabbits.  After more than 10 years of living down under, the Alaskan decided he missed the snow and ice too much so decided that we should move back to Alaska.  Luckily before moving here I had made many trips here over the  years and at least knew a little about my new home, so it wasn’t too foreign.  Apart from missing Aussie bacon, I do miss the warm weather and get a bit sick of snow after a while. I love the outdoors and always look forward to the snow disappearing so we can get out and explore this great State and everything Alaska has to offer.

- WORKSHOP STAFF -

James Skretkowicz
(Van Detailer)

a man smiling for the camera

My name is James, a boy from Brooklyn, New York, who transferred to Alaska with the Post Office Maintenance Department 20 years ago. I’ve since retired now and have a sweet retirement gig half a mile away. I love working for Alaska Wildlife Guide, it’s simply a pleasure coming full-circle to work once again for a mom & pop business. I’ve never seen a dissatisfied customer.

Brandon Treadwell
(Mechanic)

a man wearing glasses

Hi, my name is Brandon. I am from a small town from Southeast Georgia. I started working on vehicles a long time ago but my real journey started when I left home to join the Army which eventually brought me to Alaska on March 1, 2016. When I was in the army, I worked on diesel motors and was fortunate enough to meet my wife. I got out of the Army in 2020 and now have four sons. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and working on things around the house.