News Releases

Last Update: August 28, 2015 line2


Park Opening Dates


Chugach State Park - March 7

Chena River State Recreation Area - April 9

Denali State Park - August 17

Hatcher Pass East Mgmt. Area & Summit Lake SRS -
August 14

Kachemak Bay State Park - August 28

Nancy Lake State Recreation Area - August 24

Hatcher Pass Recreational Conflict Report

Chugach Trail Maps


Wood and lumber available by appointment at Harding Lake State Rec Area

August 28, 2015 (Salcha, AK) - Throughout September, the Harding Lake State Recreational Area will be disposing of low-quality wood and lumber stockpiled in its maintenance yard. These materials are free to any member of the public willing to load and haul them away. An appointment will be necessary.

Materials include approximately two cords of aspen, a half-cord of birch and some spruce rounds, as well as raw-cut, 12-foot-long, three-sided logs, lacquered 12-foot-long, three-sided logs, a number of 4-foot-long railroad ties, picnic tables, and various other lumber.

To make an appointment, call Park Specialist Jaclyn Cheek at 451-2685.

Jaclyn Cheek, 907-451-2685, or call the Fairbanks Park Office at 907-451-2695.


Public invited to Kenai River Ranch scoping workshops

August 25, 2015 (Soldotna, AK) - The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation in partnership with the Department of Fish and Game has initiated a planning process to develop a master site plan for the Kenai River Ranch property located within the Kenai River Special Management Area (KRSMA). The website for this planning process is

The planning staff will host an open-house in Anchorage from 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 8th in conference room 102 of the Atwood Building, located at 550 W. 7th Avenue. A second open-house will be held in Soldotna from 7-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9th at the Gilman River Center located at 514 Funny River Road. The open-houses are an opportunity for the planning team to include local input in the early stages of plan development.

The Kenai River Ranch is a former horse and cattle ranch located at Mile 32 of the Kenai River and near Mile 12 of the Funny River Road. The property was acquired under the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill habitat protection program and is cooperatively managed by the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation and the Department of Fish and Game. State managers are seeking input on how the property should be managed, including whether any recreation facilities should be developed on the property.

The deadline for submitting comments during the review period is September 25. Comments can be submitted online via the project website or sent by mail, e-mail or fax to: Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, 550 West 7th Ave., Suite 1340, Anchorage, AK 99501, fax: 907-269-7506 or e-mail:

Jack Blackwell, Park Superintendent, 907-262-5581,
Mark Fink, ADFG Access Coordinator, 907-267-2338,


State Parks to host Aug. 21-23 Art Weekend in Chugach State Park

August 14, 2015 (Anchorage, AK) - The public is invited to join Alaska artists August 21 through 23 for Arts Along the Arm, a full weekend of art-focused events based at the Bird Creek Campground in Chugach State Park.

Artists will be painting throughout Chugach State Park throughout the weekend and Alaska State Parks wil host a variety of family-friendly events. Arts Along the Arm is part of the Arts in the Park program launched by Alaska State Parks in 2011. Many of the participating artists use a style of painting and drawing known as en plein air, a French expression that means “in the open air.”

“Plein air artists thrive on the beauty of nature and creating their pieces outdoors. This is a chance for all of us to enjoy Alaska, inspire each other and bring our craft to the public,” said Kurt Jacobson, president of the Alaska Artists Guild and a member of the Plein Air Painters of Alaska.

The State Parks Arts in the Parks program is a family-friendly initiative that provides a great opportunity to be outdoors and participate in some unique art-based activities. Several workshops are scheduled and plenty of art supplies will be on hand for arts and crafts activities for children. Other activities include mushroom identification, alcohol ink workshops by Francine Dufour Jones, and an oil painting class at McHugh Creek with Don Kolstad.

“This event is a wonderful opportunity for Alaskans to enjoy Chugach State Park showcased through art,” said Claire LeClair, deputy director of the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. “We hope artists of all ages will join us this weekend to find creative inspiration and enjoy the recreational opportunities available at Bird Creek Campground and throughout the park.”

For more information on the Bird Creek Campground event or to share ideas for future art events in state parks, contact David Griffin at 269-8696 or To register for the art workshops, please call Blaines Art Supply at 561-5344.

Bird Creek Campground is accessed at Milepost 101.2 of the Seward Highway and features a 28-unit campground, two public-use cabins, picnic sites, drinking water, and paved trails. For more information about Chugach State Park facilities and trails, visit

CONTACT: David Griffin, (907) 269-8696,


SnowTRAC annual meeting scheduled for Aug. 26

August 7, 2015 (Anchorage, AK) - The Snowmobile Trails Advisory Council (SnowTRAC) will hold its annual advisory meeting/teleconference on August 26 in Anchorage. The meeting will be held 8:30-4:30 p.m., in Conference Room 102 on the first floor of the Atwood Building, located at 550 W 7th Ave. The agenda will include discussion of various SnowTRAC issues as well as review of grant applications and trail grooming requests.

SnowTRAC consists of seven members who are regionally selected from areas across Alaska. The primary purpose of the group is to advise the director of the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation on funding for eligible grant projects under the Snowmobile Trails Grant Program. The Snowmobile Trails Grant Program is funded through legislative authorization to receive funds from snowmobile point-of-sale registration fees. These funds are used to support snowmobile trail development and maintenance, as well as snowmobile safety and education programs.

The public is invited to participate in person or via teleconference. The number to call is: (866) 918-8374 and enter Conference code 5569714090. The physical location will be: Room 102 of the Atwood Building, at 550 West 7th in Anchorage.

If you are a person requiring special accommodations, auxiliary aid, or other special services to participate please contact Darcy Harris at 907-269-8699 or Justin Wholey at 907-269-8698 at least one week prior to the event in order to make the necessary arrangements.

CONTACT: Darcy Harris, State Trails Program Coordinator, (907) 269-8699,


Albert Loop Trail at Eagle River Nature Center closed for season

August 7, 2015 (Anchorage, AK) - Spawning salmon have returned to waters in the vicinity of the Eagle River Nature Center and so have the bears that feed on them, prompting the closure of the Albert Loop Trail and its vicinity, effective at noon today. Black and brown bears and their cubs at this time of year use the bridges and beaver dams as fishing platforms and the adjacent brush and trees for cover. This trail closure has occurred annually since 1997.

The trail closure does not affect the Iditarod/Crow Pass trail, the Rodak Loop and viewing platforms, or the Dew Mound Trail. The Albert Loop Trail and vicinity will remain closed until further notice, most likely at freeze-up when the majority of bears go into hibernation. The trail reopening will be announced.

Anyone recreating on an Alaska trail is encouraged to take appropriate precautions: be prepared to encounter a bear, and be knowledgeable in recognizing bear behavior and responding to an encounter.

CONTACT: Tom Harrison, Chugach State Park Superintendent, (907) 345-5014,


Artist in Residence Program focus of opinion article in Juneau Empire

August 4, 2015 (Juneau, AK) - The article can be found here:
My Turn: Muñoz-Gruening Artist-in-Residence Program shines light on local artists


Park Service agrees to maintain two Sitka area state parks through October

July 20, 2015 (Sitka, AK) – The Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation has entered into a temporary agreement with the National Park Service to provide grounds maintenance and litter removal at the Baranof Castle State Historical Site and Old Sitka State Historical Park.

Due to Fiscal Year 2016 state budget reductions, the two state parks in Sitka were placed in passive management, which included closing the park office and laying off staff. Because of the historical link between the two state parks and the nearby Sitka National Historical Park, the Park Service has agreed to maintain these two popular areas for the use and enjoyment of residents and visitors through the end of October 2015.

Mike Eberhardt at 907-465-2481, or Becky Latanich at 907-747-0132,


Campfire ban relaxed in most State Park areas

July 10, 2015 (Anchorage, AK) – Effective immediately, the prohibition on open fires in the metal fire rings located in developed camp and picnic sites is no longer in effect in Chugach State Park, Wood Tikchik State Park and state parks located in the Northern and Kenai Areas. Open fires on gravel bars below timberline in the Eklutna, Peters, Creek, Eagle River (excluding South Fork and Meadow Cr.) and Bird Creek drainages within Chugach State Park are allowed, as are open fires on gravel bars within Wood Tikchik State Park.

Open fires are allowed in most Mat-Su Area parks with the exception of backcountry campsites within the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area, and on gravel bars in Denali State Park.

The term “open fires” refers to any flame source not immediately extinguishable or controllable and applies to any form of wood or charcoal-based fire, even in established fire rings, such as those found in state park campsites. Gas grills, backpacking or camp stoves using fuel or compressed canisters which can be regulated and shut off are still permitted for use in areas where open fires are currently banned. Have fun but also be fire wise! Thanks for your participation!

Claire LeClair at 907-269-8702,


Trails and cabins to reopen in Chena River State Recreation Area

July 8, 2015 (Fairbanks, AK) – Trails and cabins on the north side of Chena Hot Springs Road will reopen at 8 a.m. on Friday, July 10th due to significant progress by fire crews this week in containing the Anaconda Creek Fire as well as a forecast for cooler temperatures, higher relative humidity and the chance of rain. As of Friday, all State Park facilities within the recreational area will be open to the public.

Waiting to reopen the cabins and trails on the north side will give firefighters time to finish mopping up and demobilizing. Although the fire is largely contained, visitors may see smoke for weeks within the burned area.

The Division of Forestry Fairbanks Area is continuing to monitor this fire even though firefighting efforts are ending and asks the public to stay out of the burned area. Fire-weakened trees can fall and cause injury without warning.

Brooks Ludwig at 907-451-2698,


Artist Kurt Jacobson in residence at Ernest Gruening State Historical Park

July 6, 2015 (Anchorage, AK) – Anchorage painter Kurt Jacobsen is the second artist selected this summer to participate in the Rie Munoz and Dorothy Gruening Artist-In-Residence Program based at Ernest Gruening State Historical Park.

Jacobson is the second of eight artists in this new program and will spend a week living and painting at the site of Territorial Governor Ernest Gruening’s rustic summer home north of Juneau.

As part of the residency, Jacobson will host a public demonstration and workshop on the topic of painting water. This event will be held from 1-5 p.m. on Friday, July 10.

The Artist-In-Residence Program brings artists from across the state to Ernest Gruening State Historical Park to live, paint, and experience a picturesque environment tucked in the woods along the rocky shoreline of Amalga Harbor.

Kurt is a lifelong Alaskan with a passion for painting the outdoors on location, or en plein air. For Jacobson, light is the motivating factor and his goal is to capture the light to tell the story.

“Painting outdoors allows the artist to experience as well as paint what he/she sees, bringing a better understanding of the subject matter to their paintings,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson participated in a prior artist residence in 2012 for the Institute of the North during the Dialog of the North Conference. In 2006 and 2008, Kurt won the Alaska Railroad Print and Poster Competition. Kurt has also been awarded the Peers Choice and Refuge/Wildlife Sanctuary Awards in the Art for Alaska Parks Top 30 Art Competition.

“Color is so much more powerful when painting outside, you never have blacks like in a photo, all color in nature has more tones and values then you see in a photo,” Jacobson said.

Artists selected to participate in the program are asked to donate an original piece of artwork inspired by their time at the Gruening Cabin to the State of Alaska. Artists are also encouraged to host a community workshop or presentation during their residency.

The Ernest Gruening State Historical Park is located in Southeast Alaska approximately 27 miles north of downtown Juneau. The 13-acre park was originally homesteaded by the Gruening family and encompasses a beautiful setting showing off Alaska’s political and natural history. Territorial Governor Ernest Gruening wrote much of the manifesto for statehood called “The State of Alaska” in 1953 at this site. Governor and then Senator Gruening and his wife Dorothy entertained national and foreign leaders at the cabin, including Adlai Stevenson, Governor Earl Warren, numerous U.S. Senators, and others. This is a great location for wildlife viewing (especially waterfowl), fishing and sightseeing. There are spectacular views across Lynn Canal, and the Peterson Creek Salt Chuck is a haven for wildlife.

For more information and to request a copy of the artist residency application, please contact David Griffin, Alaska State Parks, 907-269-8696, or or visit

Dave Griffin, Project Coordinator, 907-269-8696, or