News Releases

Last Update: March 27, 2015 line2


Park Closing Dates


Chugach State Park - March 7

Chena River State Recreation Area - March 26

Denali State Park - March 26

Hatcher Pass East Mgmt. Area & Summit Lake SRS -
   March 27

Nancy Lake State Recreation Area - March 26

Hatcher Pass Recreational Conflict Report

Chugach Trail Maps


Nancy Lake State Recreation Area closed to snowmobile use

March 26, 2015 (Willow, AK) – Due to deteriorated snow conditions, including large areas of bare ground, Nancy Lake State Recreation Area will be closed to the use of snowmobiles effective Friday, March 27. This closure includes that portion of the East Side Butterfly Lake Swamp trail located within the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area and the East Red Shirt Lake trail.

CONTACT: Andrew McElvain, District Ranger, 907-495-6210,, or Claire Holland LeClair, Deputy Director, 907-269-8702,


Public encouraged to nominate poems celebrating Alaska's state parks

March 16, 2015 (Anchorage, AK) – For the third and final year of the statewide Poems in Place Project, Alaskans are invited to submit poems for installation on permanent signs in two state parks in coastal Southcentral Alaska.

The goal of the Poems in Place Project is to install poems that celebrate Alaska’s natural environment on permanent signs in state parks throughout Alaska. The project is led by Alaska State Parks, the Alaska Center for the Book and a steering committee of Alaska writers and poets, with support from the Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Usibelli Foundation, the Alaska Poetry League, and numerous generous individuals.

Individuals may submit up to three poems each for installation at Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park on Kodiak Island and Caines Head State Recreation Area near Seward. The poems can be written in response to the solicitation or previously written by an Alaskan poet. The deadline for submissions is March 31.

The project began in 2011 when the poem “What Whales and Infants Know” by the late Kim Cornwall was installed at Beluga Point in Chugach State Park. In 2013, poems by Alaskan writers Ernestine Hayes and Emily Wall were installed at Totem Bight State Historical Park near Ketchikan, and poems by Frank Soos and the late John Haines were installed at Chena River State Recreation Area near Fairbanks. In 2014, poems by Tom Sexton and Tim Troll were installed at Independence Mine State Historical Park and Aleknagik State Recreation Site, respectively.

For submission rules, go to A $150 honorarium will be paid to the winning poet for each poem selected for installation. For more information and to see photos, go to

Claire LeClair at 907-269-8702, or by e-mail at


Hatcher Pass – East side fully open to snowmachines

March 10, 2015 (Palmer, AK) – The winter storm over the weekend has allowed the full opening of Hatcher Pass – East side to snowmachine use, but all recreationists are advised to use extreme caution due to the unstable snowpack.

The opening includes all areas normally open to snowmobiles. Park staff has determined that sufficient snow cover now exists to protect underlying vegetation in the area.

Heavy snow and high winds have resulted in an unstable snowpack that has resulted in numerous avalanches being triggered by recreationists and at least two partial burials have occurred. Extreme caution is advised with all backcountry travel in Hatcher Pass. Snow condition reports are updated frequently at the Alaska State Park’s website.

Remember, all snowmachines must be registered with the Division of Motor Vehicles to legally operate on public land.

Wayne Biessel, Park Superintendent, 907-745-8935,


Alaska State Parks increases fees

(Anchorage, AK) – Fees for overnight camping and boat launching and the cost of annual passes for parking and boat launching at Alaska state park facilities will increase on Jan. 1, 2015.

An updated list of state park fees and passes is at Annual passes for the 2015 calendar year are available for purchase at and will be sold at current prices through Dec. 31, 2014.

The fee increases are authorized under state park regulations and are part of an ongoing effort to make the operation and maintenance of the state park system more self-sustaining. For example, the cost of an annual parking pass hasn’t changed since 2004, a period in which Alaska State Parks’ operational costs increased more than 20 percent.

While the $5 daily fee for parking at developed areas, such as trailheads, will not increase, the cost of an annual parking pass will increase from $40 to $50 and the cost of a second pass sold to the same family will increase from $20 to $25. The cost of an annual boat launch pass, which has been $75 since 1997, will increase to $100 and the cost of a second pass for the same family will increase from $40 to $50.

The daily fees for overnight camping and boat launching vary by location. The new fees range from $10 to $30, generally representing a $5 increase.

CONTACT:, Jamie Walker, 907-269-8703


Nancy Lake Parkway closed to street vehicles for winter season

(Willow, AK) – The gate at Mile 2.2 of the Nancy Lake Parkway, located in the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area, is now closed to street-registered vehicles due to 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. For now, the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area remains 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.

For more information, please call the Alaska State Parks Mat-Su Area Office at 907-745-3975.

CONTACT: Teri Zell, 907-745-8931,


Grants available for commemorating 150th anniversary of Alaska Purchase

(Anchorage, AK) - The Alaska Historical Commission has $125,000 available for matching grants to plan and prepare for the 150th anniversary of the Alaska Purchase in 2017. The grants are for projects that will contribute to understanding the history and significance of the event. Projects are encouraged for historic research and publication projects, restoration of significant historic properties, and heritage tourism development and information services. A grant request may not exceed $15,000 and must be matched 50/50 with cash or in-kind services. Projects are to be done between April 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016. Applications must be postmarked, e-mailed, or delivered by 4:30 p.m., Monday, February 23, 2015.

Additional information and the application are available at,
by calling 907-269-8714, sending an e-mail to or sending a written request to the Alaska Historical Commission, 550 West 7th Ave., Suite 1310, Anchorage, AK 99501-3565.

CONTACT: Joan (Jo) Antonson, 907-269-8714 or


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 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