Current Park News
Last Update, Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Alaska Historical Commission to meet December 13 in Anchorage
(Anchorage, AK) - The Alaska Historical Commission will meet Friday, Dec. 13, in the Reynolds Conference Room of the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, located at 625 C Street in Anchorage. The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 8:30 a.m.
Denali State Park opens to snowmobiles
(Palmer, AK)- Recent snowfalls allowed the opening of the entire area of Denali State Park to the use of snowmobiles on Monday, Nov. 25. Park staff has determined that sufficient snow cover exists to protect underlying vegetation in the park. This opening includes the Curry and Kesugi Ridges and the road corridor south of Byers Lake. Please avoid alpine areas that do not have adequate snow cover.
Ketchikan State Parks Citizens Advisory Board recruiting a new member
(Ketchikan, AK) – Applications are now being sought to fill a current vacancy on the Ketchikan State Parks Citizen Advisory Board.
Albert Loop Trail Reopened
(Anchorage, AK) – The Albert Loop Trail, which is in the vicinity of the Eagle River Nature Center in Chugach State Park, has been re-opened following its annual seasonal closure. The Albert Loop Trail is annually closed during the late summer/fall season until winter freeze up to reduce the potential for human – bear encounters.
Nancy Lake Parkway closed to street vehicles for winter season
(Willow, AK) – The Mat-Su Area Office of Alaska State Parks announces that the gate at Mile 2.2 on the Nancy Lake Parkway in the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area has been closed to street registered vehicles due to unsafe winter conditions. The parkway beyond the gate leading to the South Rolly campground is not maintained in the winter but is used as a multi-use trail for skiing, dog-mushing, foot traffic and snowmachines when opened. As of today, the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area is still closed to snowmachines due to inadequate snow cover to protect the underlying vegetation. Once there is adequate snow cover, Alaska State Parks will open the area to snowmachines.
Poetry Reading in Palmer to Highlight Poems in Place
(Anchorage, AK) – The public is invited to a poetry reading at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17, at Alaskana Books in Palmer. The reading will highlight the upcoming 2014 Poems in Place program, which will select and install poems by Alaskan writers at two state parks: Independence Mine State Historical Park and the Alegnagik State Recreation Site.
Kachemak Bay State Park and Wilderness Park management plan scoping open house set for Nov. 13
(Anchorage, AK) – The Alaska Department of Natural Resources is initiating a planning process to revise the Kachemak Bay State Park and State Wilderness Park Management Plan. The goal of this plan revision is to address the issues the park is facing due to changing patterns in recreational use and increased visitation, and to update recommendations for park management and facility development. Additionally, a trail plan will be developed to provide specific guidance for trail management and development in these areas.
Proposals sought for operation of restaurant at Big Delta State Historical Park
(Delta Junction, AK) – The Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation is soliciting proposals from qualified offerors to operate the restaurant at Big Delta State Historical Park under a concession contract. The contract involves operation of the restaurant and other commercial activities.
2014 State Parks day use and boat launch decals available for purchase
(Anchorage, AK) – The 2014 Alaska State Parks annual day use and boat launch decals are now available for purchase online or in person at the Department of Natural Resources’ Public Information Centers in Anchorage and Fairbanks.
To purchase the decals online, go to www.alaskastateparks.org and click on the sample decals to be taken to a secure site for online purchasing. The receipt from an online purchase may be used as a temporary pass for up to 10 days following the receipt date. Decals will be mailed the next business day after the purchase.
To purchase decals in person, go to the Anchorage Public Information Center in the Robert B. Atwood Building, located at 550 West 7th Ave., Suite 1260 or the Fairbanks Public Information Center, located at 3700 Airport Way. By mid-November, decals also will be available for purchase at Alaska State Parks offices around the state and three additional locations in Anchorage: the Alaska Public Lands Information Center, REI, and Alaska Mountaineering and Hiking.
Applicants sought for Mat-Su/Copper Basin Area State Parks Citizens Advisory Board
(Wasilla, AK) – Alaska State Parks is currently recruiting to fill up to six vacant seats on the Mat-Su/Copper Basin Area State Parks Citizens Advisory Board. The board provides input on state park activities in 24 park units from the Copper Basin to Denali State Park, as well as the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area, Independence Mine State Historical Park and the East Hatcher Pass Management Area.
Archangel Road closes for winter season
(Palmer, AK) – The Mat-Su Area office of Alaska State Parks announces that effective, Wednesday, Oct. 15, the Archangel Road, accessed at Mile 14.5 on the Hatcher Pass Road, will be closed for routine work to upgrade the road surface before freeze up. The road will remain closed for the rest of the season.
For more information, contact the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities at 745-3117. (10/15/2013)
Southcentral state park advisory boards seeking new board members
(Soldotna, AK) – Applications are currently being accepted for positions on five state park advisory boards in Southcentral Alaska.
Hatcher Pass Road closes for the winter season
(Palmer, AK) – The Mat-Su Area Office of Alaska State Parks announces that effective today, Monday, Sept. 23,
The east side of Hatcher Pass (Palmer side) remains open for recreational purposes. For more information contact the Department of Transportation at 745-3130. (9/23/2013)
Eklutna Lakeside Trail reopened to ATVs
(Anchorage, AK) – The Eklutna Lakeside Trail at Eklutna Lake in Chugach State Park has been reopened to the use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), Sundays thru Wednesdays. While Eklutna Lake remains at flood stage, the water level is dropping, allowing the trail restriction to be lifted.
Director approves SnowTRAC funding for grooming and safety
(Anchorage, AK) – The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation has approved funding for snowmobile trail grooming and for trail safety and signing projects after receiving input from the Snowmobile Trail Advisory Council (SnowTRAC), the statewide citizen advisory committee that reviews Snowmobile Trail Grant Program applications.
The SnowTRAC recommended funding for grooming projects in the Mat-Su Valley, the Kenai Peninsula, and Southeast Alaska, and the Northern Region at approximately 70 percent of what was spent last year.
“I agreed with the majority of SnowTRAC’s recommendations,” said Alaska State Parks Director Ben Ellis. “The one modification I am making is to allocate an additional$15,000 in safety grant funds not spent last year to safety and signing projects for snowmobile trails that are used primarily as transportation corridors, and which will benefit remote communities off of the road system.”
The Snowmobile Trail Grant Program offers competitive and reimbursable matching grants for developing and maintaining public snowmobile trails and related facilities and for safety, education, and trail signing projects. The Snowmobile Trail Grant Program’s Grooming Pool provides funding for trail grooming, signing, and maintenance. The program is funded with an annual appropriation by the Legislature, based on revenue from snowmobile registration fees.
Kids Don’t Float School Program reaches 100,000 participants
(Anchorage, Alaska)—Alaska’s award-winning safety program for school children, Kids Don’t Float, will reach a milestone on Sept. 9 when it will surpass the 100,000-attendee mark with a class at Chugiak Elementary School.
Writing workshops and poetry dedications in state parks Sept. 8, 15
Events scheduled at Chena River State Recreation Area and Totem Bight State Historical Park
The two poems to be installed at Totem Bight State Historical Park are “This Forest, This Beach, You,” by Emily Wall and “The Spoken Forest,” by Ernestine Hayes. Wall and Hayes, both of Juneau, will lead a creative writing workshop titled “Writing on the Wind: A Celebration of Place” at Totem Bight State Historical Park on Saturday, Sept. 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The workshop is free and open to all.
The two poems to be installed at the Chena River State Recreation Site are “The Blue Fish,” by Frank Soos, and “Poem of the Forgotten,” by the late John Haines, both of Fairbanks. Soos and former state poet laureate Peggy Shumaker will lead a creative writing workshop titled “Writing our Places” Saturday, September 14 from 1-3:30 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 15, from 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. The workshops are open to anyone age 14 or older and will be held at the Twin Bear Camp at Mile 30 of the Chena Hot Springs Road.
Alaska State Parks, the Alaska Center for the Book, the Alaska State Council on the Arts, and a steering committee of Alaskan writers and poets began the Poems in Place project in 2011 to celebrate the connection many Alaskans have with the natural beauty of Alaska’s state parks. Their first project was the 2011 installation of the poem “What Whales and Infants Know,” by the late Kim Cornwall, at Beluga Point in Chugach State Park.
In 2012, the Alaska Center for the Book launched a statewide contest for Alaskans to submit poems to install at Totem Bight State Historical Park and the Chena River State Recreation Area. “The Poems in Place steering committee selected four winning entries from a generous and diverse outpouring of poems received from Alaskans”, said Wendy Erd, the Poems in Place project coordinator.
The Poems in Place project will again be seeking poems by Alaskans in 2013-2014 for installation in the Southwestern and Mat-Su/ Copper River park regions. Information about the new round of poetry submissions will be posted later this year at http://www.alaskacenterforthebook.org/id112.html.
The Poems in Place project is supported by the Rasmuson Foundation, Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Usibelli Foundation, the Alaska Poetry League, Alaska Center for the Book, and numerous generous individuals.
Access restrictions lifted in Chena River State Recreation Area
(Fairbanks, AK) —Due to the increase in cooler, longer nights and success from fire containment activities, the wildfire threat to public safety in the Chena River State Recreation Area has been reduced. Effective Friday, August 16, the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation is lifting access restrictions throughout the park. All trails, public use cabins, and access roads on the south side of the highway between Mile 27 to Mile 39 will be open for public use at that time.
Due to the dry conditions, the public is urged to err on the side of caution when conducting backcountry activities. The public is asked to maintain situational awareness as fire activity could be unpredictable and rapid growth could occur under warmer, drier conditions.
For more information on the fire, visit http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3468/ or call 907-451-0597. For information about Chena River State Recreation Area, please call 907-451-2695. To report new fires, call 911.
Albert Loop Trail at Eagle River Nature Center Closed for Season
(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 at noon on Friday, August 9. The trail and surrounding area is used by black and brown bears and their cubs at this time of year, using the bridges and beaver dams as fishing platforms and using the adjacent brush and trees for cover. This recurring trail closure has occurred annually since 1997.
Public input sought for Little Susitna River boating publication
(Anchorage, AK) – Do you enjoy boating or fishing on the Little Su? If so, we need your help! Alaska State Parks and the Office of Boating Safety are creating a brochure for the Little Susitna River and we want your input.
Bristol Bay sailboat added to National Register of Historic Places
Libby's No. 23 (Bristol Bay double-ender - National Park Service photo)
(Anchorage, AK) – State Historic Preservation Officer Judy Bittner welcomes the announcement that Libby’s No. 23, a Bristol Bay double-ender sailboat at Port Alsworth, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Double-ender sailboats, used from the late 1800s until motorized boats were permitted in 1951, symbolize the legendary Bristol Bay commercial salmon fishery. Starting in 1914, Libby’s No. 23 was one of the 1,200 double-enders with two-man crews annually fishing at the mouths of the five large rivers that enter the waters of Bristol Bay, which were often perilous for these small boats. Libby’s No. 23 is one of just three museum quality double-ender fishing boats known to exist in the region. It was part of the Libby, McNeil & Libby, Graveyard Koggiung cannery fishing fleet. Each cannery had a unique paint scheme and Libby’s Graveyard boats were “Libby’s orange.”
In 1953 the cannery sold the boat and it was used to move freight on Lake Clark. Restoration of the boat to its appearance while used for fishing in Bristol Bay began in 1997 and was completed in 2005. The boat is now on display outside the visitor center at Lake Clark National Park and Preserve in Port Alsworth.
Dena’ina fish cache
Historic Dena’ina fish cache added to National Register
(Anchorage, AK) – State Historic Preservation Officer Judy Bittner welcomes the announcement that the Wassillie Trefon Dena’ina Fish Cache standing at Port Alsworth has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The cache, built around 1920, is a one of the last examples of a traditional, well-crafted log cache in the Bristol Bay region. The elevated 9 x 10 foot structure is a hand-hewn, square-notched log building constructed without nails or spikes. The posts were specially formed to prevent small animals from climbing into the cache. The gable roof is covered with sod. Access is by a notched log ladder to a platform then through a small plank hatch entry.
Wassillie Trefon’s peers acknowledged him as a master woodworker, as do the people in Nondalton today. He built log houses and caches for his family at Miller Creek, Tanalian Point, Old Nondalton and Nondalton.
The cache has been moved several times from its original location at Miller Creek and restored to look as it did originally. The cache now sits in a clearing outside the Lake Clark National Park and Preserver visitor center, adjacent to a Dena’ina fish drying rack.
The cache was added to the National Register, the nation’s catalog of more than 85,000 historic properties worthy of preservation, on June 5.
Matanuska Colony farmhouse added to National Register
(Anchorage, AK) – State Historic Preservation Officer Judy Bittner welcomes the announcement that the Campbell House, an original Matanuska Colony farmhouse built in 1935, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The farmhouse, located south of Palmer on Inner Springer Loop Road, is a rare example of an intact frame-built home from the colony period that still has historical and physical integrity. It joins more than 15 other Colony properties already listed on the Register, according to Bittner.
Campbell House – DNR photo
The house gets its name from George and Onabelle Campbell of Michigan, who drew Lot 54 in the lottery held for colonists to receive farm sites. The Campbells moved into the house in 1935 but left the project that first winter. In 1938, William and Lulubelle Bouwens and eight of their 11 children moved to the farm after a fire destroyed their house on Lot 53. They kept cows, chickens, pigs, geese, sheep and turkeys, and had a big vegetable garden. They sold produce and eggs – the log chicken coop still stands behind the house.
Reminder of Kenai River outboard motor regulations
(Soldotna, AK) – Alaska State Parks would like to remind boaters that 2008 regulations phasing out the use of older, two-stroke outboard motors in the Kenai River Special Management Area (KRSMA) have been fully implemented. Two-stroke motors that do not employ direct fuel injection technology can no longer operate at any time of year in the special management area, which extends from one mile downstream of the Warren Ames Bridge to the Cooper Landing area and includes both Skilak and Kenai Lakes. For more information, please contact the Kenai/Prince William Sound Area state park office at 907-262-5581.
2013 Recreational Trails Program Tentative Grant Awards
The following Recreational Trails Program projects have been tentatively approved by the Outdoor Recreational Trails Advisory Board and the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, and are subject to final approval from the Federal Highways Administration.
Trail Dozer Acquisition: Alaska State Parks- Northern Region was tentatively awarded $50,000 to buy a trail dozer that will help repair and maintain the 68 miles of trails in the Chena River State Recreation Area.
Isberg Recreation Trailhead: The Fairbanks North Star Borough was tentatively awarded $50,000 to build a trailhead parking lot. This new lot will provide off-street parking for trailhead access and will help reduce traffic congestion.
Maclaren Summit Trail Extension: DNR Mining, Land, and Water, Southcentral Region, was tentatively awarded $50,000 to extend an existing ATV trail located at milepost 37 of the Denali Highway. Sustainable design standards will be employed, thereby, fostering the preservation of the cultural resources, (as it is partially located in the Tangle Lakes Archaeological District, Special Use Area) the natural resources, and the habitat.
Pullen Creek Stream Walk: The Taiya Inlet Watershed Council was tentatively awarded $29,000.00 to implement the Pullen Creek Stream Walk Project. It will be a pedestrian interpretive trail along Pullen Creek, a spring-fed salmon stream in Skagway. The Stream Walk will expose pedestrians to lower Pullen Creek, connecting visitors and residents to nature, showcasing stream restoration, and interpreting natural and cultural history. The Conceptual Design for the Stream Walk was finished in October 2012. It was guided by a group of community members and funded in part by the Municipality of Skagway and in part by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
HoWL Trails Days: HoWL was tentatively awarded $50,000.00 to teach environmental stewardship to Alaskan youth by assisting the Kachemak Bay State Park Trails Department by: 1) assessing HoWL's 2012 renovations at Left Beach and continuing to maintain the site; 2) brushing the trail from Humpy Creek to Emerald Lake and installing signs on Portlock Plateau; 3) brushing the Glacier Lake Trail; 4) picking up litter and doing other campsite maintenance at Grewingk Glacier Lake; and 5) placing cairns above tree line on Grace Ridge. All work will be performed by volunteer youth and HoWL instructors.
Lookout Mountain Maintenance Building: The Kachemak Bay Nordic Ski Club was tentatively awarded $50,000.00 to build a 30'x30' building that will house ski-trail grooming equipment and provide a location for maintenance of this equipment. It will also be used for special events (such races, clinics, high school and middle school ski team training) as a shelter for skiers, instructors, and spectators.
Tsalteshi Trails Improvement Project II: The Tsalteshi Trails Association was tentatively awarded $50,000.00 to mulch, level, and add trail signs and maps to the recently constructed Owl and Squirrel trails in the Tsalteshi Trail System near Soldotna. Metal halide lights on the Moose, Eagle and Rabbit trails will be replaced with LED lighting. Additional grooming equipment and a trailer will be purchased to better maintain all trails for public use.
Cabin Hoppers Maxey Groom: The Caribou Hills Cabin Hoppers were tentatively awarded $30,378.00 to purchase a 2013 Maxey Groom for their Tucker snowmobile trail groomer. They will also purchase a 2000 gallon, double-walled fuel tank to replace the 3 older 500 gallon, single walled tanks currently in use.
Eska West ATV Trail: The Mat-Su Trails Council was tentatively awarded $50,000 to reconstruct the first section of the Eska West ATV Trail near Chickaloon.
Greenbelt Central Singletrack: The Mat-Su Borough was tentatively awarded $20, 939.00 to layout and construct two 30" wide single-track, non-motorized, multi-use trails, totaling 0.9 miles using modern sustainable best practices in the Matanuska Greenbelt on Matanuska-Susitna Borough Public Recreation land. The trails will enhance and expand the new Bearberry Bluff Trail constructed in 2012, provide connectivity to adjoining trails, and give trail users more options for dispersed recreation.
Wilson Park Pump Track: The City of Palmer was tentatively awarded $37,277.00 to build Wilson Park Pump Track/Trail. It will be a new recreational bike trail that fulfills multiple goals of the City’s 2012 Parks, Trails and Recreational Facilities Master Plan. The pump trail will be Phase 1 in the construction of Brittany Estates neighborhood park (Wilson Park), and will remain as a unique feature within the Park which will serve a higher density neighborhood of starter-homes.
YCC Talkeetna Lakes Park: The Upper Susitna Soil and Water Conservation District was tentatively awarded $36,354.32 to perform trail work in Talkeetna Lakes Park, on the multi-use X Lake Loop Trail. Two and a half miles of maintenance and over a half mile of reconstruction are needed for this public trail. Two new Nordic ski trails built in 2011 require approximately 3 miles of finishing work, and canoe portage trails require maintenance and a small amount of new trail construction.
Cross Park Trail-Nancy Lake: Alaska State Parks, Mat-Su, was tentatively awarded $49,500.00 to complete the reopened, multi-use, East Red Shirt Lake Trail Upgrades/Chicken Lake Cross-Park Section, which needs: brushing/logging, foot trail tread reroute; wet-ford armoring and drainage structure rehabilitation; installation of geo-block, and informational signs on 4.5 miles of trail and at trailhead areas.
Mile 16 Bike Trail: Alaska State Parks, Mat-Su, was tentatively awarded $50,000.00 to complete construction of the roughed-in 1.84 mile flow-style downhill bike trail near Hatcher Pass. Work will include a combination of hand and mechanized trail work to finish the tread work on a terra firma bike trail. They will also install drainage features, harden sections of poorly drained soils, construct aerial bike features, construct and install trail information kiosks, and construct bridges across Fishhook Creek.
Lucky Shot Bridge: The Willow Area Community Organization was tentatively awarded $50,000.00 to design and construct a pedestrian bridge along the Lucky Shot Trail within the Willow Creek State Recreation Area. Dimensions will be approximately 180’ x 5’ constructed with all weather wood decking and compliant with all permits and Alaska State Parks standards. Completion of this project will allow for an extended recreational trail system.
Government Peak Single Track: Alaska Trails was tentatively awarded $50,000.00 to execute the Government Peak Singletrack project. It is a planned network of trails located within the Northwest corner of the Government Peak Recreation Area off Edgerton Parks road near Hatcher Pass. The initial 3.5 miles of trail will be designed for all levels of mountain bikers, but also desirable to hikers, Nordic skiers, snowshoe users and winter bikers. Construction will be to International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) Sustainable Trail Standards.
Tool Trailer: Alaska Trails was tentatively awarded $18,833.00 to replace, and upgrade the equipment in, their two mobile tool trailers. Alaska Trails currently has two 5'x8' trailers that were originally funded through the Alaska Trails Initiative Program in 2007. Each trailer is able to outfit a trail crew of 25+. Over the years the two tool trailers have been used extensively to help construct over 30 miles of sustainable trails, but the tools are worn out and need replacing, and the trailers need to be upgraded to a bigger and more user-friendly model.
Safety and Education
Alaska Trails 2014 Trails Conference: Alaska Trails was tentatively awarded $32,250.00 to stage another statewide trail gathering in the spring of 2014. It will focus on all aspects of sustainable trail building, trail management, and trail advocacy. By teaching sustainable trail management techniques to Alaskans from across the state, the 2014 Trails Conference is intended to provide a solid benchmark for trail builders, managers and users.
To obtain more information about the Recreational Trails Grant Program, please visit the program’s website at http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/grants/trails.htm, or contact Darcy B. Harris, the Alaska State Trails Program Coordinator, at 907-269-8699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
New regulations implemented for Hatcher Pass Management Area
(Palmer, AK) -- New regulations regarding public use of the Hatcher Pass Management Area will go into effect on Jan. 20. These regulations implement the revisions to the Hatcher Pass Management Plan adopted in 2010, and they address safety and crowding issues in an increasingly popular winter recreation area. Both the revised plan and new regulations were adopted after extensive public input.
The new regulations revise the boundaries of areas open to snowmobiles, primarily in the Government Peak, Mile 16, Gold Mint, Reed Lakes/Little Susitna, Archangel, and Marmot Mountain areas. The new regulations also prevent the discharge of firearms within a quarter-mile of roads and require campers to camp in designated areas or at least quarter-mile from roads and trails.
The proposed new regulations are available at http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/hottopics/11-AAC96-014/index.cfm. Recreationists are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the new snowmobile boundaries, which are illustrated in the map found at http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/hatcherpass/hatcherpassboundaries.htm.
Where practical, signage will be placed along the revised boundaries. In addition, boundary maps will be posted at major trailheads at Hatcher Pass, and are available at the Mat-Su Area State Parks Headquarters, at 7278 East Bogard Road, in Wasilla, or at the DNR Public Information Center in the Atwood Building, located at 550 West 7th Ave, in Anchorage.
Current snowmobile opening information is posted on the Snow Reports link on the Alaska State Parks website at http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks.
“We want to remind winter enthusiasts that poor snow conditions this winter have prevented the east side of Hatcher Pass from being opened to snowmobile use,” said Park Superintendent Wayne Biessel.
“The east side remains closed to snowmobile use until the snowpack is sufficient to protect the underlying vegetation. However, this could change rapidly with another storm since we are approaching the adequate snow depth after recent snow events,”Biessel said.
To ask about the new regulations, contact Biessel at email@example.com or call him at 745-8950. For information regarding the Government Peak area, contact the Mat-Su Borough at 745-9578.
Updated information about the new regulations will be posted at: http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/hatcherpass/hatcherpassboundaries.htm
Alaskan teens take leadership role in boating safety education
(Anchorage, AK) – Teens are helping shape a safer boating culture in Alaska through their leadership in the Kids Don’t Float Peer Educator Program. For their efforts during the 2012 school year, 10 high schools received awards from the Alaska Office of Boating Safety.
The Kids Don’t Float Peer Educator Program provides potentially life-saving information to high school students who, in turn, pass on lessons to younger children. This fun, interactive approach focuses on prevention, survival in cold waters, the life-saving edge provided by life jackets, and other smart boating practices.
Naukati School on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska earned the Boating Safety Office’s Gold Award for 2012. The Naukati Peer Educators built a life jacket loaner board at the community dock, traveled to neighboring schools to teach the Kids Don’t Float curriculum, and served as boating safety ambassadors in Craig at the annual Kids Fishing Day event.
“This program created young leaders out of my students,” said Kim Hoover, teacher at Naukati School. “They were empowered by leading activities for other young people from across the island and beyond. Kids Don’t Float is a keeper; I hope it continues to grow throughout the state.”
The following high schools received the Silver Award:
The following schools received the Bronze Award:
“The goal is to encourage teens to lead, make a positive change in their community, and positively influence the boating culture,” said Kelli Toth, education specialist with the Office of Boating Safety. “By passing on the information, the teenagers reinforce it in their own minds, and they are successful at catching and holding the attention of the younger kids.”
For more information about the Kids Don’t Float Schools Program, go to http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/boating/kdfedupage.htm or contact Kelli Toth at 269-6042 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kachemak Bay State Park helicopter skiing decision postponed
(Soldotna, AK) – A decision on whether helicopter skiing should be allowed in Kachemak Bay State Park and Kachemak Bay State Wilderness Park has been postponed.
The Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation recently received multiple applications to operate commercial helicopter skiing ventures in the state park and state wilderness park and solicited public comment on whether this activity should be permitted. More than 3,000 comments were submitted during the 30-day period.
ldquo;The division received a broad range of comments on whether to permit commercial helicopter skiing in Kachemak Bay State Park and State Wilderness Park. The comments were thoughtful and show that people are very passionate about this special area,” said Ben Ellis, Director of the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. “This is an issue that will require careful and thorough evaluation to determine if it is compatible with the legislation that created the park. Beginning in 2013, the division is planning to start a revision of the 1995 park management plan and this issue will be evaluated and addressed as part of that process along with other activities that affect the park.”
For more information, please contact the Kenai/Prince William Sound Area state park office at 907-262-5581.
DNR develops boating safety checklist for boat rental vendors
(Anchorage, AK) – The vast majority of Alaska's boating fatalities are due to drowning that follows a sudden capsizing, swamping or fall overboard into cold water. Typically, the victim is not wearing a life jacket. To date, five of the 13 fatalities this year in Alaska involved rental boats and seven of the victims were non-residents.
In response, the Alaska Office of Boating Safety, housed within the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation (DPOR), has developed a Watercraft Rental Orientation checklist that includes key safety messages addressing the highest risks to boaters in Alaska. The checklist is available to any boat rental companies, organizations or individuals interested in conducting orientations prior to renting or loaning a boat.
"We hope that this initiative will help reduce fatalities and enhance enjoyment on Alaska's waterways," said Ben Ellis, DPOR director.
From now on, the division is asking all vendors approved to rent boats in state park units to provide a watercraft safety orientation to all watercraft renters and passengers and document the renters' understanding of the orientation. Some vendors in state park units already provide such orientations on a voluntary basis, but in 2013, the orientations will be required as a permit stipulation. The orientation can be identical to or more stringent than the checklist developed by the Office of Boating Safety.
The Watercraft Rental Orientation is available on the Office of Boating Safety website at http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/boating. For print copies, contact the Office of Boating Safety at 907-269-6042 or send an email to Education Specialist Kelli Toth at email@example.com.
New Alaska Boating Safely Handbook available
Anchorage, Alaska - The new addition of the Alaska Boater's Handbook is available online through the Alaska Office of Boating Safety Office or at the Department of Natural Resources Public Information centers in Anchorage and Fairbanks.
In a state where capsizing and falls overboard into cold water continues to account for the majority of boating deaths, the handbook provides practical and relevant information for Alaska's boaters on legal requirements, safe practices and how to prepare for, avoid, and survive a cold water immersion event. In addition to the two Public Information centers, copies of the handbook are available online at www.alaskaboatingsafety.org or by contacting the Alaska Office of Boating Safety at (907) 269-8706.
The Alaska Office of Boating Safety reminds boaters that by practicing the following safety points they can help ensure everyone has a safe and memorable adventure on the water.
• Wearing a life jacket is KEY to surviving a cold water immersion event. ALWAYS wear a life jacket when in an
open boat or on an open deck
• Carrying both communication and signaling devices on your person
• Completing a thorough pre-departure check before each trip
• Taking boating courses
• Avoiding alcohol when boating
Firewood no longer supplied at roadside public use cabins in Chena River State Recreation Area
(Fairbanks, AK) – Alaska State Parks will no longer be stocking firewood at the three road accessible public use cabins in Chena River State Recreation Area. The three cabins are: the Chena River Cabin at mile 32.2 Chena Hot Springs Road (CHSR); the Hunt Memorial Cabin at mile 42.3 CHSR; and the North Fork Cabin at 47.8 mile CHSR. Out of the 13 state park public use cabins available for rent in the division’s Northern Area, these were the only three stocked with firewood.
Alaska State Parks has not been able to keep up with the demand for firewood, partially due to cabin users having outdoor bonfires. Bonfires put a big dent in the woodpile and leave the next cabin renter without wood. Furthermore, eliminating firewood at the three cabins along Chena Hot Springs Road will provide consistency throughout the Northern Area.
The Alaska State Parks’ Public Use Cabin information sheet provides additional details on the use of firewood at the cabins. For example, the information sheet recommends that renters bring firewood for at least the first night and advises renters that each cabin is supplied with a bow saw and axe for their use. Only dead and down or fire-killed trees may be cut in Chena River State Recreation Area. Alaska State Parks would appreciate customers help keeping the woodshed stocked for the next renter and advises cabin renters to bring firewood as the area around the cabins are pretty well picked over.
Alaska State Parks begins planning for lower Kasilof River boat retrieval project
(Kasilof, AK) - The Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation (DPOR), has received project money to develop a public drift boat takeout on the lower Kasilof River to address increasing demand for such a facility on the popular drift-only fishing portion of the river. Currently, most boaters access the Kasilof at the Alaska State Parks public boat launch at mile 109.4 of the Sterling Highway; however, there is no publicly-owned exit point for boaters on the lower portion of the river.
In the first phase of this project, DPOR is distributing a short questionnaire to gain public input on where a retrieval site should be located, what criteria should be used to evaluate potential locations, and what type of facilities should be constructed. The questionnaire and additional project information is available at: http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/kasilof/kasilofboatretrieval.htm
New Guidelines for Integrated Business System / Alaska Heritage Resources Survey (IBS/AHRS) Access
Beginning July 1, 2011 the Office of History and Archaeology has new guidelines for Integrated Business System / Alaska Heritage Resources Survey (IBS/AHRS) access.
Please see: http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/oha/ahrs/ahrs.htm for details.
All users must complete all the applicable forms found at the above web site to continue accessing the IBS/AHRS.
An OHA Litigation Disclosure Form and an AHRS Data Request Form must be completed for each project; the user agreements are renewed annually.
In addition, non-agency personnel and contractors are required to:
Please note that contractors working for a federal, state, or local agencies are not considered agency users.
The IBS/AHRS Orientation Workshop is a half day training that is offered at OHA on the second Thursday of each month. For individuals outside Anchorage training is offered via the web as needed. The training provides IBS/AHRS users with the basic skills needed to effectively and responsibly use the digital and paper resources of the Office of History and Archaeology.
SnowTRAC Survey Posted
The Snowmobile Trails Advisory Council (SnowTRAC) needs your help to decide where your snowmobile registration dollars should go. Please take a moment to fill out the quick two page survey. Your responses will allow us to put grooming dollars where you, the riders, want them.