News Releases

Last Update: July 24, 2015 line2

PARK OPENING DATES

Park Opening Dates

TRAIL REPORTS & PARK CONDITIONS

Chugach State Park - March 7

Chena River State Recreation Area - April 9

Denali State Park - July 27

Hatcher Pass East Mgmt. Area & Summit Lake SRS -
July 24

Kachemak Bay State Park - July 22

Nancy Lake State Recreation Area - July 27

Hatcher Pass Recreational Conflict Report

Chugach Trail Maps


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

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

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

CONTACT:
Mike Eberhardt at 907-465-2481, mike.eberhardt@alaska.gov or Becky Latanich at 907-747-0132,
becky_latanich@nps.gov


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Campfire ban relaxed in most State Park areas

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immediately, the prohibition on open fires in the metal fire rings located in developed camp and picnic sites is no longer in effect in Chugach State Park, Wood Tikchik State Park and state parks located in the Northern and Kenai Areas.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

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

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

CONTACT:
Claire LeClair at 907-269-8702, claire.leclair@alaska.gov


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Trails and cabins to reopen in Chena River State Recreation Area

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

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

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

CONTACT:
Brooks Ludwig at 907-451-2698, brooks.ludwig@alaska.gov


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Artist Kurt Jacobson in residence at Ernest Gruening State Historical Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information and to request a copy of the artist residency application, please contact David Griffin, Alaska State Parks, 907-269-8696, or david.griffin@alaska.gov or visit www.alaskastateparks.org.

CONTACT:
Dave Griffin, Project Coordinator, 907-269-8696, or david.griffin@alaska.gov


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Burn closure lifted in most areas but still in effect in Southwest Alaska, Anchorage

June 30, 2015 (Fairbanks, AK) – Due to recent rainfall and increased relative humidity that has reduced wildfire danger, the Alaska Division of Forestry is canceling a burn closure for most parts of the state effective at noon today.

The closure, which has been in effect for nearly two weeks, is being lifted on state, private and municipal lands in the Kenai, Matanuska-Susitna and Denali boroughs, the Tanana Valley north of the Alaska Range and the Copper River Valley. The closure will remain in effect in Southwest Alaska and the Municipality of Anchorage until further notice.

The areas that remain closed include Game Management Units 9, 17, 18, 19 and 21, which cover most of the area south and west of McGrath, as well as communities on the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers west of Tanana. A map of Alaska’s game management units is available at:
www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/hunting/maps/gmumaps/jpg/ak_simple_950.jpg

While campfires and approved burn barrels will now be permitted, a burn suspension prohibiting open debris burning does remain in place in some areas the closure has been rescinded. Check with your local Division of Forestry office for burn suspensions.

The recent precipitation has dampened fire danger and wildfire activity has moderated in many areas but the fires currently burning around the state are not out. Conditions remain extremely dry in the deeper vegetative layers and it will take significant rain to extinguish fires. With that in mind, it is imperative that caution be used with regard to anything that could result in a wildfire this holiday weekend.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind as you head outdoors this weekend and for the rest of the summer:

  • Know where you will be recreating and what the rules are before you head out. There are still burn restrictions in effect on many federal lands.
  • If you do choose to have a campfire, keep it small and make sure it is in a spot where the fire cannot spread. If possible, use a gas camp stove rather than an open fire for cooking.
  • Never leave a fire of any kind unattended.
  • To properly extinguish a campfire, pour large amounts of water or soil on the fire and stir it with a stick or shovel until the entire fire area is cool to the touch.
  • Dispose of charcoal ashes in a metal, fireproof container; never dump them in the woods or in a burnable container.
  • Obtain a burn permit for any open debris burning and be sure to call the local forestry office or check online (forestry.alaska.gov/burn/) to ensure burning is allowed the day you plan to burn.
  • The use of fireworks is prohibited in many municipalities and boroughs. Be sure to check local regulations regarding the use of fireworks in your area.
  • Remember, you are responsible for any fire you may start and individuals may be held accountable for suppression costs involved with responses to human-caused fires.

Firefighters in Alaska already have their hands full with the high number of fires currently burning in the state and do not need new fires to contend with, especially when resources are spread as thin as they are right now.

Forecasters are predicting warmer, drier temperatures to return starting this weekend, which could result in the burn closure being put in place again in the future. We are not out of the woods yet when it comes to wildfire danger so don’t let your guard down.

Please do your part to make this a safe holiday weekend.

CONTACT:
Tim Mowry, Division of Forestry, 907-356-5512, tim.mowry@alaska.gov


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Angel Rocks Trail in Chena River State Recreation Area re-opens

June 29, 2015 (Fairbanks, AK) – Following moderate weather over the weekend, fire danger from the West Fork Fire has diminished allowing Alaska State Parks to reopen Angel Rocks Trail and the North Fork public use cabin.

Closures remain in place for all trails and cabins north of the Chena Hot Springs Road in Chena River State Recreation Area. Campgrounds and all trails on the south side of the Chena Hot Springs Road, including recreational access to the Chena River, are open. Please note that these closures pertain to state park lands and not local businesses or commercial activity on private lands. People driving the Chena Hot Springs Road will see activity from crews and equipment supporting the firefighting effort. Please be alert and drive slowly if you will be in this area.

CONTACT:
Brooks Ludwig at 907-451-2698, brooks.ludwig@alaska.gov


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Increased closures in Chena River State Recreation Area due to fire

June 26, 2015 (Fairbanks, AK) – A new fire near Mile 50 of the Chena Hot Springs Road has caused Alaska State Parks to expand the current trail and cabin closures in the Chena River State Recreation Area. The North Fork Public Use Cabin and the Angel Rocks Trail will be closed until the danger from fire diminishes. On Tuesday, Alaska State Parks restricted use on all trails and cabins north of the road. These closures are also still in effect.

CONTACT:
Brooks Ludwig at 907-451-2698, brooks.ludwig@alaska.gov


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Outdoor Recreational Trails Advisory Board recruiting for board position

June 26, 2015 (Anchorage, AK) – The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation is seeking candidates to fill one open board position on the Outdoor Recreational Trails Advisory Board (ORTAB) representing people experiencing disabilities. Applicants should have special knowledge, experience, or interest in outdoor recreation and accessibility needs for all trail users.

The primary role of the ORTAB is to assist the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation in evaluating grant proposals for the Recreational Trail Grant and Land and Water Conservation Fund programs. ORTAB members may also be asked for advice on other related subjects, which may include the review of proposals for State Park land acquisitions.

If you would like to be considered for appointment on the ORTAB, please submit a letter of interest, brief resume and completed questionnaire (available at http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/misc/ortaboard.htm) to the State Trails Program Coordinator, Darcy Harris at darcy.harris@alaska.gov, or by fax at 907-269-8907. The deadline to apply is August 1, 2015.

Board members serve a term of three years and the board meets once per year or as needed. Additional information regarding ORTAB and the Recreational Trail Grant program can be found at www.alaskastatetrails.org.

CONTACT:
Darcy Harris, 907-269-8699, darcy.harris@alaska.gov


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Proposed regulation changes on public use in Chugach State Park

June 25, 2015 (Anchorage, AK) – Alaska State Parks proposes changes to regulations relating to public use in Chugach State Park, including seasonal use of ATV’s, the use of llamas and alpacas, and seasonal use of fat tire bicycles. The division also proposes to change regulations to allow for the discharge of a weapon in Chilkat State Park.

The proposed regulation changes are open for public comment until July 31st, 2015.
For more information...


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Fire triggers trail and cabin closures in Chena River State Recreation Area

June 23, 2015 (Fairbanks, AK) – Due to the close proximity of the Anaconda Creek Fire and extreme weather conditions, Alaska State Parks has closed trails and backcountry public use cabins along the north side of Chena Hot Springs Road to public use.

The closed trails are the Compeau, Stiles Creek, Stiles Creek Extension, Chena Dome, and Angel Creek Hillside trails. The closed cabins are the Colorado, Stiles, Upper and Lower Angel Creek cabins.

Alaska State Parks is in the process of posting the closures at trailheads, closing gates, and cancelling cabin reservations. Campgrounds, road-accessible cabins, and all trails on the south side of the road including the Chena River remain open.

This temporary restriction will be lifted once area fire danger diminishes.

CONTACT:
Brooks Ludwig at 907-451-2698, brooks.ludwig@alaska.gov


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Campfires restricted in Northern Area State Parks

June 19, 2015 (Fairbanks, AK) – Effective immediately and continuing until further notice all open fires are prohibited within Northern Area State Parks. The term “open fires” refers to any flame source not immediately extinguishable or controllable and applies to any form of wood or charcoal-based fire, even in established fire rings, such as those found in state park campgrounds. Gas grills, backpacking or camp stoves using fuel or compressed canisters which can be regulated and shut off are still permitted for use.

This temporary restriction will be lifted once area fire danger diminishes.

CONTACT:
Claire LeClair at 907-269-8702, claire.leclair@alaska.gov


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Burn closure for Kenai Peninsula, Municipality of Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna Borough ALL BURNING IS PROHIBITED

June 17, 2015 (Anchorage, AK) – Past and prevailing weather conditions have caused extremely dry conditions for the Kenai Peninsula, Municipality of Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The Alaska Division of Forestry and the State Forester determined that it is necessary to prohibit the use of all open fires and activities which unduly increase the fire danger.

Effective immediately and continuing until further notice all cooking, warming, signaling fires or any type of fire (specifically covered under the burning permit regulations 11 AAC 95.400 – 11 AAC 95.490 and 11 AAC 95.900) are prohibited on state lands, including state park units, and private and municipal lands within Game Management Units 7, 13, 14, 15 and 16.

The term “open fires” refers to any flame source not immediately extinguishable or controllable and applies to any form of wood or charcoal-based fire, even in established fire rings. Gas grills, backpacking or camp stoves using fuel or compressed canisters which can be regulated and shut off are still permitted for use.

Wildland fire managers ask visitors and residents to follow the fire prohibitions and prevent additional fire starts. We all have a hand in a safe fire season.

Failure to obey this order shall constitute grounds for prosecution pursuant to AS 41.15.140

Map of Game Management Units can be found at:
http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/hunting/maps/gmumaps/jpg/ak_simple_950.jpg

CONTACT:
Tim Mowry, Information Officer at (907) 290-4038, tim.mowry@alaska.gov


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Campfire restriction in place for Western Kenai State Parks

June 17, 2015 (Soldotna, AK) – Due to high fire danger and dry conditions open campfires are allowed only in developed campsites in the western Kenai Peninsula State Parks. Campfires must be in the metal fire grates provided by State Parks in developed sites. Use of personal charcoal grills, cooking stoves, gas grills, and stoves in campgrounds and public use cabins is also allowed.

This temporary restriction will be lifted once area fire danger diminishes.

CONTACT:
Claire LeClair at 907-269-8702, claire.leclair@alaska.gov


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State Seeking Contractor to Operate Sitka Area State Parks

June 8, 2015 (Anchorage, AK) – The State of Alaska, Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation is offering an opportunity for a qualified entity to obtain an exclusive competitive permit for commercial activities to operate park facilities in the Sitka area. The park facilities are located in the following units: Baranof Castle Hill State Historical Site, Halibut Point State Recreation Site and Old Sitka State Historical Park.

A copy of the bid packet and permit application is available on line through the following link:

http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/misc/sitkadistrfp15.pdf

and at the following Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation offices:

- Director's Office: 550 W. 7th Ave. Suite 1380, Anchorage (Atwood Building)
- Southeast Area: 400 Willoughby Avenue, 5th Floor

Proposals must be received at the Southeast Area office no later than Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at 5:00 p.m.

CONTACT:
Claire Holland LeClair at 907-269-8702 / claire.leclair@alaska.gov
or Jamie Walker at 907-269-8703 / jamie.walker@alaska.gov


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Public Notice of Repair Application, Open to Public Comment

June 3, 2015 (Wasilla, AK) – The Director's Office of the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation has recently received an application to repair the Butterfly Lake Trail and the division would like to hear your input. Please see the links below for further information.

The official public notice can be found here:
Public Notice: Butterfly Lake Trail Repairs

The Application can be found here:
Butterfly Lake Group Trail Repair Application


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DNR addresses impacts from potential shutdown

June 1, 2015 (Anchorage, AK) – If a government shutdown occurs, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources anticipates significant impacts on activities that occur on state lands and water but will ensure necessary work continues to protect the life, health and safety of Alaskans.

Under the governor’s reduced Fiscal Year 2016 budget, DNR will continue wildland firefighting operations, the Alaska Volcano Observatory and the state’s dam safety program. DNR also will be able to operate Alaska state parks using non-general fund resources through the month of August. DNR programs that do not rely on general fund expenditures also will continue, including the Recorder’s Office, Mental Health Trust Land Office, Office of Project Management and Permitting, State Pipeline Coordinator’s Office, and Office of Boating Safety.

However, due to delayed issuance of permits and authorizations, even a temporary shutdown could have significant impacts to the public and the natural resource industries that provide almost all of the State’s revenue. Governor Walker is hopeful the Alaska Legislature will reach a compromise so this shutdown doesn’t occur, but out of an abundance of caution, he wants Alaskans to know the following services provided by DNR will be significantly curtailed or halted, effective July 2:

-Delayed Issuance of a variety of DNR permits and authorizations
-Closure of the DNR Public Information Center locations in Anchorage and Fairbanks, which handle customer
  service calls and visits
-Reduced agriculture services, including the seed and pathology labs, seed sales, and the following programs:
  horticulture, forage, soils, revegetation, marketing, invasive weeds, and technical on-farm assistance

For additional information regarding DNR’s shutdown plans, contact Communications Coordinator Elizabeth Bluemink at 907-269-8434 or elizabeth.bluemink@alaska.gov.


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Denali State Park closes to snowmachine use on May 1

April 28, 2015 (Palmer, AK) – Due to the current warming trend, the entire area of Denali State Park will close to snowmachine use at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 1. For more information, please contact the Alaska State Parks MatSu Area Office at 907-745-8950.

CONTACT:
Wayne Biessel, 907-745-8935, or by e-mail at wayne.biessel@alaska.gov


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Seasonal trail restrictions planned for Chena River State Recreation Area

April 15, 2015 (Fairbanks, AK) – Effective April 20, the Compeau, Stiles, and Angel Creek Hillside trails in Chena River State Recreation Area will be closed to all trail uses except walking. To protect the state’s investment and sustain summer motorized use of these popular trails, it is necessary to allow the trails to thaw and the water to disperse without disturbance. The trails will reopen on Thursday, May 21, in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Other trails that are seasonally closed in the recreation area are the South Fork, Colorado Creek, and Angel Creek Valley Trails. These are winter-only trails and open to snow machine use from October 15 to April 20.

Thanks to a recreational trail grant in 2014 these trails now have locking gates at the trailheads which will be locked and signed during trail closures.

Alaska State Parks is reluctant to restrict any uses unless there are no other viable management alternatives. In this case, the benefits of protecting the usefulness of these trails outweigh the inconveniences of seasonal restrictions. We urge trail users to respect the integrity of the trails so others may continue to enjoy them. Violations may be reported to the State Parks office at 451-2695 or during evenings and weekends, call Alaska State Troopers and they will contact the park enforcement team.

CONTACT:
Brooks Ludwig, 907-551-2698, or by e-mail at brooks.ludwig@alaska.gov


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State Seeking Contractor to Operate Finger Lake State Recreation Area

April 9, 2015 (Anchorage, AK) – The State of Alaska, Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation is offering an opportunity for a qualified entity to obtain an exclusive competitive permit for commercial activities to operate park facilities at Finger Lake State Recreation Site. Finger Lake State Recreation Site is located at Mile 0.7 Bogard Road in Wasilla. The site offers a quiet retreat with 24 campsites, 2 group campsites, 25 picnic sites, water, toilets, and a boat launch.

A copy of the bid packet and permit application is available on line through the following link:
http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/misc/fingerlakestsrfp15.pdf

and at the following Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation offices:

- 550 W. 7th Ave. Suite 1380, Anchorage (Atwood Building)
- MatSu/Copper Basin Area state parks office located at 7278 East Bogard Road, Wasilla, AK 99654 (next to the Finger Lake State Recreation Site)

Proposals must be received at the MatSu/Copper Basin Area office no later than Friday, April 24, 2014 at 5:00 p.m.

CONTACT:
Jamie Walker at 907-269-8703, or by e-mail at jamie.walker@alaska.gov


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State Seeking Contractor to Operate Lake Louise State Recreation Area

April 8, 2015 (Anchorage, AK) – The State of Alaska, Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation is offering an opportunity for a qualified entity to obtain an exclusive competitive permit for commercial activities to operate park facilities at Lake Louise State Recreation Area. Lake Louise State Recreation Area is located at Mile 16 on the Lake Louise Road, which heads north off the Glenn Highway at Mile 160, about 28 miles west of Glennallen. The park has two campgrounds (Lake Louise Campground and Army Point Campground), a picnic shelter and a boat launch.

A copy of the bid packet and permit application is available on line through the following link:
http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/misc/rfplakelouise.pdf

and at the following Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation offices:

- 550 W. 7th Ave. Suite 1380, Anchorage (Atwood Building)
- MatSu/Copper Basin Area state parks office located at 7278 East Bogard Road, Wasilla, AK 99654 (next to the Finger Lake State Recreation Site)

Proposals must be received at the MatSu/Copper Basin Area office no later than Tuesday, April 21, 2014 at 5:00 p.m.

CONTACT:
Claire LeClair at 907-269-8702, or by e-mail at claire.leclair@alaska.gov


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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, andrew.mcelvain@alaska.gov, or Claire Holland LeClair, Deputy Director, 907-269-8702, claire.leclair@alaska.gov


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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

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