Current Park News
Last Update, Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Closure of Cooper Landing Boat Launch
(Soldotna, AK) – The Cooper Landing State Recreation Site boat launch facility, near mile 48 of the Sterling Highway, will be temporarily closed from May 10 – June 10, 2013. This closure is necessary to allow completion of repairs to the boat launch. During this closure there will be no access to the facilities at the state recreation site, however, the launch area on the north side of the bridge is available for use during this time.
For more information, please contact the Kenai/Prince William Sound Area state park office at 907-262-5581.
Chena River State Recreation Area trails open to snowmobiles through May 12
(Fairbanks, AK) – Thanks to the delayed onset of breakup this year, Alaska State Parks is reopening several Chena River State Recreation Area trails that recently closed to motorized use.
“You’d never know it was May 3 by looking out the window in Fairbanks. The snow is two feet deep, with more in the forecast,” said Northern Area Park Superintendent Brooks Ludwig.
Beginning on Thursday, May 2 and ending on Sunday, May 12, the Compeau, Stiles Creek, and Angel Creek Hillside trails in Chena River State Recreation Area are open to motorized trail use. Three winter-only trails – the South Fork, Colorado Creek, and Angel Creek Valley trails – will close May 13 and reopen on Oct. 15.
To protect the public’s investment in trail upkeep and to ensure their availability for summer motorized use, the Compeau, Stiles Creek and Angel Creek Hillside trails will be closed to all uses except hiking on May 13. The temporary closure will allow the trails to thaw and dry out. The trails are expected to re-open on Thursday, June 6.
Wear your life jacket to work May 17th
May 17th is national “Wear your Life Jacket to Work Day” this day is an effort to raise awareness regarding the importance of wearing a life jacket while boating. Please have fun wearing life jackets May 17th at work, and share your fun on our Facebook page or email Kelli Toth your photo to share nationally. This is why we bring awareness to the importance of wearing a life jacket:
ALASKA RECREATIONAL BOATING STATISTICS
Northern Area State Parks seeking campground hosts
(Fairbanks, AK) – Northern Area State Parks is currently seeking hosts for the Granite Tors, Rosehip, Lower Chatanika, and Upper Chatanika campgrounds.
Campground hosts live in their own RV, motor home, or trailer at a special campsite located inside an Alaska State Park campground. Their stay at a campground and use of state park facilities is free. Each host or host couple will be trained by park ranger staff and receive a volunteer uniform. A subsistence payment of $450 a month is available for hosts who are willing to volunteer for more than four weeks.
The primary responsibilities of campground hosts are to provide park visitors with information, direction, and services, and to serve as the on-site representatives of the Alaska Division of Parks. Hosts are also responsible for janitorial maintenance in the parks, including cleaning outhouses, picnic sites, and parking sites. Secondary duties can include light maintenance of facilities and resource interpretation.
Applications are available at the state parks office at 3700 Airport Way or online at www.alaskastateparks.org. For more information, contact the Northern Area State Park office at 451-2695.
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.
Chugach State Park seeks volunteers for pilot interpretive program
(Anchorage, AK) – Are you interested in enhancing Chugach State Park visitors’ experience by sharing your knowledge of the park and answering common park-related questions?
Chugach State Park is seeking volunteers for a volunteer interpretive program based at the Glen Alps trailhead starting this summer. The deadline to apply as a volunteer interpreter is Sunday, March 31. The pilot program will begin in May and run through September.
The application form, as well as a detailed description of the program goals, volunteer duties and qualifications, and training schedule, can be viewed and downloaded at http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/vip/othervolopportunities.htm
Please call Superintendent Tom Harrison at 907-345-5014 or email him at email@example.com if you have any questions.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
East Hatcher Pass Management Area Opens to Snowmobiles
(Palmer, AK) – As of Saturday, Jan. 19, the east side of Hatcher Pass will be open to snowmobiles from the Goldmint Trailhead Parking Lot at Mile 14.5 to the Hatcher Pass Summit at Mile 19 of the Hatcher Pass Road.
As a reminder, the boundaries for snowmobile use in the Hatcher Pass Management Area will change on Jan. 20. These changes primarily involve the Government Peak, Mile 16, Gold Mint, Reed Lakes/Little Susitna, Archangel, and Marmot Mountain areas. Where practical, signage will be placed along the revised boundaries.
Recreationists are encouraged to become familiar with the new boundaries, which are illustrated in the map found at this link: http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/hatcherpass/hatcherpassboundaries.htm. The new map will be posted at major trailheads at Hatcher Pass, and is available at the Mat-Su Area State Parks Headquarters, 7278 East Bogard Road, Wasilla, or at the DNR Public Information Center at the Atwood Building, 550 West 7th Ave, in Anchorage. To ask about the revised boundaries, contact Wayne Biessel by email at email@example.com, or by phone at 745-8950. For information regarding the Government Peak area, contact the Mat-Su Borough at 745-9578.
Please remember that snowmobiles must be registered with the Division of Motor Vehicles to legally operate on public land.
Denali State Park Opens to Snowmobiles
(Palmer, AK) - Recent snowfalls have allowed the opening of the entire area of Denali State Park to the use of snowmobiles, effective Friday, Jan. 18. 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 remember, all snowmobiles must be registered with the Division of Motor Vehicles to legally operate on public land.
Nancy Lake State Recreation Area reopens to snowmachines
(Willow, AK) – The Mat-Su Area Office, Alaska State Parks, announces that the recent snowfall has allowed the reopening of the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area to the use of snowmachines on Friday, February 1, 2013.
This reopening does not include the area north of the Nancy Lake Parkway, which is restricted to non-motorized use only.
For more information, please call (907) 745-3975.
Public encouraged to nominate poems celebrating Alaska’s state parks
(Anchorage, AK) – Alaska State Parks, the Alaska Center for the Book, and a steering committee of Alaskan writers and poets are collaborating on a statewide project to celebrate the natural beauty of Alaska’s state parks with poetry.
The goal of the Poems in Place Project is to install poems on permanent signs in state parks throughout Alaska in the coming years. The first in this series – the poem “What Whales and Infants Know,” by Kim Cornwall – was installed in 2011 at Beluga Point in Chugach State Park, with support from Homer writer Wendy Erd, Alaska State Parks, and the Alaska State Council on the Arts.
“Poetry that celebrates Alaska’s natural environment – whether it’s an alpine valley or a tidal cove – can have a positive, powerful impact on visitors and Alaska residents, as we’ve seen following the poetry installation at Beluga Point,” said Claire LeClair, deputy director of Alaska State Parks.
The Poems in Place project is currently accepting poetry submissions for two state parks: Totem Bight State Historical Park in Ketchikan and the Chena River State Recreation Area north of Fairbanks. Alaskans are invited to submit up to three poems each. These poems can be written in response to the solicitation. The public may also nominate poems previously written by an Alaskan poet, living or deceased. For submission rules, go to http://www.alaskacenterforthebook.org/id112.html.
The Poems in Place project is supported by 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.
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.
Coast Guard Cutter Storis added to National Register of Historic Places
(Anchorage, AK) – State Historic Preservation Officer Judy Bitter welcomes the announcement that the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Storis, a ship that served many years in Alaska waters, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
“For more than 50 years, the Storis was involved in icebreaking, search and rescue, law enforcement, and medical and disaster relief services in the North Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Alaska, and Bering Sea—some of the roughest seas in the world,“ Bittner said.
The Storis was added to the National Register – the nation’s catalog of more than 85,000 historic properties worthy of preservation – on Dec. 31, 2012. The Office of History and Archaeology endorsed listing the vessel.
Built in Ohio and commissioned in 1942, the Storis guarded waters around Greenland and provided convoy escort services for protection against German U-boats during World War II. After its transfer to Juneau in 1948, the vessel provided medical and judicial services to western Alaska villages and assisted with the transport of people and supplies for construction of the Distant Early Warning radar stations (DEW Line). In 1957, the Storis and two smaller Coast Guard cutters made a 67-day transit of the Northwest Passage, charting waters and collecting oceanographic information. With this trip, the Storis became the first American ship to circumnavigate the North American continent.
The Storis spent the ensuing 49 years based in Kodiak. In 1992, it made a historic goodwill port call at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, making it the first foreign military vessel to visit since 1854, when the British and French attempted to seize the port during the Crimean War. The Storis had cameo appearances in the television series Deadliest Catch and the 2008 film The Guardian.
In 2007, the Storis was decommissioned and put in floating storage in California. A non-profit Juneau-based group, Storis Museum, is working to bring the ship back to Alaska for preservation and use as a historic museum ship and training and educational vessel. (Information on the Storis Museum group is at www.storismuseum.org.)
For information regarding listing an Alaska property in the National Register, please contact the Office of History and Archaeology, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, located at 550 West 7th Ave., Suite 1310, Anchorage, Alaska 99501-3565, or call 907-269-8721.
Chena State Recreation Area Makes Best Winter Trips 2013 List
By Jessica Ridgway
The Chena River State Recreation Area, located 26 miles east of Fairbanks, has made National Geographic's list of best winter trips to take in 2013.
This top-ten list, "Best Winter Trips 2013," praises the Chena River State Recreation Area for its 397 square miles of forest and open alpine tundra available for a number of winter activities; its close proximity to Chena Hot Springs Resort; and its multiple ways to view the aurora borealis, whether by "Snow Coach" or in the heated "Aurorium" log cabin.
The National Geographic article also recognizes the final stretch of the Yukon Quest, the thousand-mile international sled dog race, runs through the area alongside the old Chena Hot Springs Winter Trail on February 16.
The list was compiled by National Geographic's editors. To view the entire list please click here.
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.
Nancy Lake Parkway closes to road traffic
(Willow, AK) - Effective today, the Nancy Lake Parkway starting at Mile 2.2 has closed to road traffic due to unsafe winter road conditions. The parkway, located within the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area, is not maintained for winter use by road vehicles beyond the gate leading to the South Rolly campground. In the winter, the parkway is used as a multi-use trail for skiing, dog mushing and foot traffic, and snowmachining, once the recreation area is opened to snowmachine use. For more information, please call 907-745-3975.
2013 State Parks day use and boat launch decals available for purchase
(Anchorage, AK) – The 2013 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.
Park decals are valid for a calendar year, from January 1 through December 31. In addition, the 2013 decals will be honored for the remainder of 2012, providing up to 14 months of recreational opportunities within the Alaska State Park system.
Day use decals are $40. Two day-use decals may be purchased for $60 when purchasing the decals for the same household with the same address. Boat launch decals are $75, but two decals may be purchased for $115 when purchased for the same household. Third and subsequent decals are $40 for day use and $75 for boat launch. A set of day use and boat launch decals may be purchased as a “combo set” for $100. All decals must be permanently affixed per the instructions on the decal and cannot be transferred to another person.
Alaska State Parks also issues a free camping pass to Alaska residents who are U.S. military veterans with a service-connected disability. These 2013-2014 camping passes are now available at the Anchorage and Fairbanks Public Information Centers. To receive a pass, veterans must present a Veteran’s Universal Access card with “service connected disability” printed under their photograph, or a current year letter stating the veteran’s disability rating.
For more information, contact the Anchorage Public Information Center at 269-8400 or the Fairbanks Public Information Center at 451-2706, Monday through Friday, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Archangel Road Closes to Vehicles
(Palmer, AK) – The Mat-Su Area Office of Alaska State Parks announces that effective Sunday evening, Oct. 14, the Archangel Road at Mile 14.5 on the Hatcher Pass Road will be closed while the Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT) works on upgrading the road surface before freeze-up. The road will remain closed for the rest of the winter season.
For more information contact DOT at 907-745-3117.
Hatcher Pass Road Closure
The Mat-Su Area Office of Alaska State Parks announces that effective Tuesday, September 18, 2012, the road over Hatcher Pass will be closed for public safety reasons.
The east side of Hatcher Pass (Palmer side) remains open for recreational purposes. This is the typical closure over the Hatcher Pass summit road that occurs during the winter months.
For more information contact the Mat-Su Area Office at 745-3975.
Alaska State Parks awards grants for Snowmobile Trail Grant Program
(Anchorage, AK) – The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation has awarded five grants through the 2012 Snowmobile Trail Grant program. In addition, the division funded the two grooming pools that help maintain trails in the Mat-Su, the Kenai Peninsula, Southeast Alaska, and the Interior. Funding for grooming has been awarded at approximately the same level as last year.
The Snowmobile Trail Grant Program offers competitive and reimbursable matching grants that can be awarded to develop and maintain 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.
“We are pleased to see some money going to a trail safety project in rural Alaska this year.” said Darcy Harris, Alaska Trails Program Coordinator. “We want to encourage more people from the villages to apply for project funding.”
Grant applications were reviewed and evaluated by the Snowmobile Trails Advisory Council (SnowTRAC), a statewide citizen advisory committee appointed by the division director. All of the grants recommended by the council were approved by Director Ben Ellis.
Funding for the grants comes from snowmobile registration fees paid to the State by snowmobile owners. Continuation of this grant program is dependent upon an annual appropriation by the Alaska Legislature of snowmobile registration fees. This year, the program also received a donation of $100,000 from the Outdoor Recreational Trails Advisory Board (ORTAB). This is money from the federal Recreational Trails Grant Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The projects receiving grants are:
Lake Louise Trail Signs, submitted by the Lake Louise Snowmachine Club, Inc. The grantee will purchase directional and mileage signs, trail system information kiosks to direct trail users to trail heads and have pertinent trail information posted for multiple-use winter trails, primarily used by snowmobiles. The Lake Louise Snowmachine Club and the Glennallen Boy Scouts will provide all labor, transportation and tools for this project. Lake Louise Snowmachine Club, Inc. was awarded $5,300.
Iron Dog Snowmobile Safety EXPO, submitted by Iron Dog, Inc. The grantee will host a free public festival to promote snowmobile education and safety through presentations, seminars, industry vendors, public safety organizations, and the distribution of educational materials. Festival will be held indoors at the Curtis M. Menard Sports Complex on Feb. 9, 2013 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Iron Dog Inc. was awarded $11,600.
Huslia Winter Trail Safety Project, submitted by Huslia Tribal Council. The grantee will mark and identify trails leading from Huslia to other villages in the Yukon-Koyukuk area using tripods with reflective tape. Safety is a top priority when it comes to winter travel, according to the application, and with proper trail marking their search and rescue operations will be more successful, and less frequent. Huslia Tribal Council was awarded $15,000.
Alaska Safe Rider, submitted by the North American Outdoor Institute. This project will provide interactive safety education training for recreational snowmobile riders in a minimum of six communities in Alaska. Utilizing curriculum developed in past projects and strongly supported by snowmobile professionals, combined with new concepts that incorporate pop culture and innovative activities, the goal of this training project is to attract snowmobile riders of all ages and abilities to increase the skill of riders and establish a culture of safe snowmobiling in Alaska. North American Outdoor Institute was awarded $15,000.
Caribou Lake Trail/ Lacey Lane Trail, submitted by Snowmads, Inc. The grantee will appropriately reroute and mark a snowmobile trail around some dangerous and wet riding areas. According to the application, the new route is the major access to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and connects with the Ptarmigan Head Trail which will join the Caribou Hills South to the Caribou Hills North grooming area. Snowmads, Inc was awarded $4,400.
For additional information regarding SnowTRAC or the Snowmobile Trails Grant Program, contact email@example.com, the State Trails Program Coordinator, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org , or standard mail at 550 W. 7th Avenue, Suite 1380, Anchorage, AK 99501, or by phone at 907-269-8699.
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.
Construction begins on Glen Alps satellite parking areae
(Anchorage, AK) – Construction of a new satellite parking area designed to accommodate an additional 55 parking spaces has begun near the popular Glen Alps trailhead in Chugach State Park.
The new parking lot, expected to open in late May 2013, will connect to existing trails, two new concrete vault toilets and a hillside orientation kiosk. In November, construction crews will suspend work for the winter season.
The project contractor, Ancor Inc., has begun implementing the project's stormwater pollution prevention plan and soon will begin work on the new parking lot. Vegetation removed from the construction zone will be preserved for future placement on the finished slopes of the new parking lot.
Alaska State Parks is simultaneously upgrading the scenic overlook to the north of the existing Glen Alps parking lot. The aging wooden deck will be replaced with a concrete pathway and viewing area, with a new interpretive element that will identify several surrounding mountain peaks and other geographic features.
During the construction period, the existing Glen Alps parking lot will remain open but capacity will be reduced. Temporary closures may be needed to accommodate heavy equipment. Please consult the Glen Alps webcam at http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/chugach/webcam.cfm for real-time parking conditions before driving up Toilsome Hill Drive to the trailhead.
While construction is underway at Glen Alps, day-use fees ($5 per vehicle) will not be collected at the nearby Upper Huffman parking lot. The Upper Huffman lot has been expanded and provides quick multi-use access to the Gasline Trail and other hillside trails, as well as great views. The fee will be re-instated at Upper Huffman during the winter season.
Construction starting soon at Fort Abercrombie
(Kodiak, AK) –Construction will begin soon at Fort Ambercrombie State Historic Park and will continue into the fall. The project includes a new car camping area near Monashka Bay and removal of the existing car camping area near Miller Point. Also, a new parking area will be built to the east of the old car camping area at Miller Point.
During the construction period, some tent camp sites will be available near the RV overflow lot. Miller Point Road will be closed above the RV overflow lot during much of the construction period. Access to Miller Point will be available by the trail from the RV overflow parking lot.
Information flyers about this project are available at the Alaska State Parks Kodiak Area Office at 1400 Abercrombie Drive.
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
Recreational Improvements Underway at Bird Creek Campground
(Anchorage, AK) – The Bird Creek Campground's ongoing rehabilitation project is expected to be completed by June 2013 and the campground is expected to reopen at that time, according to Chugach State Park officials.
The campground, located near Milepost 101 of the Seward Highway and approximately 20 miles south of Anchorage, has been closed for the last two summers due to the presence of extensive stands of dead and dying spruce trees which pose a public hazard due to their increasing susceptibility to unexpectedly snap and fall without warning.
Most of the hazard trees have been removed but the campground will remain closed for construction. The campground rehabilitation project includes moving the entrance approximately one-quarter mile to the south of its present location just past the Seward Highway Bird Creek bridge crossing, and additional parking for access to the paved Indian to Girdwood trail. The project is being paid for through both state and federal funds.
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.