ATCOFA student spends summer north of the Arctic Circle ATCOFA | SFA

Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture

Vyersreduced

When Kyle Vyers said the location of his summer internship was remote, he did not exaggerate. Vyers, a Stephen F. Austin State University forestry wildlife management student within the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, spent six weeks at Tjuonajokk, a Swedish fishing camp accessible only by helicopter or hydroplane.

Despite the camp’s remote location 120 miles inside the Arctic Circle, passionate anglers from around the world flock to the camp to indulge in world-class fly-fishing and breathtaking mountain vistas.

“The camp offers the best grayling waters in Europe,” Vyers said, referring to the fish species sought by those who travel to Tjuonajokk.

According to Vyers, a study conducted on one of the camp’s rivers estimated that an 800-meter stretch contained roughly 4,000 fish.

“All of the fly-fishers were very kind and cared about what they were doing,” Vyers said. “It was about the time spent fishing and the experience, not the number of fish they caught.”

While Vyers had the opportunity to fish, his primary focus was the daily operation of the camp, which included tasks that ranged from cleaning to construction.

Vyers is not the first SFA Lumberjack to intern at the camp. The relationship between the camp’s owners and Dr. Hans Williams, dean of the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, developed through the college’s partnership with Älvdalen Educational Center, a forestry and hospitality post-secondary technical college in Älvdalen, Sweden. The partnership has resulted in multiple student exchanges, all with the goal of sharing cultures and expanding students’ horizons.

“I was able to experience a lot of cultural diversity, and that was the most important thing for me,” Vyers said.

Vyers added one of the most memorable cultural experiences was the use of the sauna.

“The sauna was extremely important to the Swedish and Finnish people of the camp,” he said. “After sitting in the heat of the sauna, it is traditional to then run and jump into the chilling waters of the river that hover between 40 and 50 degrees.”

Additionally, Vyers and others received permission from the Sami people, an indigenous tribe of the region, to hike a sacred mountain.

To learn more about this and other activities occurring through the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, visit atcofa.sfasu.edu.