News Releases

Last Update: November 25, 2015 line2


Park Closing Dates


Chugach State Park - November 23

Chena River State Recreation Area - November 25

Denali State Park - November 25

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

Kachemak Bay State Park - August 28

Nancy Lake State Recreation Area - November 27

Hatcher Pass Recreational Conflict Report

Chugach Trail Maps


DOT&PF: Avalanches Close Hatcher Pass Road

November 24, 2015 (Wasilla, AK) - Recent snow events at Hatcher Pass have created very unstable snow conditions over the past several days and resulted in numerous avalanches throughout the Talkeetna Mountains in the Hatcher Pass area. This morning, a significant slide occurred near mile 15 that completely closed the road to traffic. The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities avalanche team is on scene and will be performing risk assessments before attempting to clear the road. The road is currently closed at the Gold Mint Parking area until further notice.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 249 airports, 11 ferries serving 35 communities, 5,619 miles of highway and 720 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.

Wayne Biessel (DNR - Parks), (907) 745-8935,
Shannon McCarthy (DOT&PF), (907) 269-0448,


Nancy Lake State Recreation Area and Denali State Park open to snowmachines

November 20, 2015 (Wasilla, AK) - The Mat-Su Area Office of Alaska State Parks announces that the recent snowfall has allowed the opening of the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area and Denali State Park to the use of snowmachines as of Friday, Nov. 20. Park staff has determined that sufficient snow cover now exists to protect underlying vegetation in the parks.

Caution is advised in all areas as lake ice is variable. Thin ice and open water exists in streams and river ice is unstable or flowing.

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

CONTACT: Wayne Biessel, (907) 745-8935,


Kenai River state park advisory board recruiting member

November 17, 2015 (Soldotna, AK) - Applications are currently being accepted for a vacant position on the Kenai River Special Management Area Citizens Advisory Board.

This state park advisory board provides state park managers with recommendations on the management of the Kenai River SMA. The person selected will serve through June 2017. The board typically meets once a month between September and May.

To apply for a position on this advisory board, go to Applications are being accepted through Nov. 30: Alaska State Parks Citizens Advisory Board Application

For more information, please contact the Kenai/Prince William Sound Area state park office at 907-262-5581.

CONTACT: Superintendent Jack Blackwell, 907-262-5581,


New Regulations on fat tire bicycles to take effect in Chugach State Park

November 12, 2015 (Anchorage, AK) - The Alaska Department of Natural Resources has adopted new regulations which allow the use of fat tire bicycles within Chugach State Park on trails currently open to bicycles and on certain other trails between November 15 and March 31. The new regulations also define fat tire bicycles as having a minimum tire width of 3.7 inches and tire pressure of 20 psi or less. The use of fat tire bicycles is now allowed on the following trails within Chugach State Park between November 15 and March 31:

  • Middle Fork Trail

  • Lost Cabin Trail

  • Eagle River Corridor (to Icicle Creek)

  • Eklutna Lake (frozen surface)

The following trails are open to bicycle use, including fat tire bicycles, year-round:

  • Eklutna Lakeside Trail

  • Indian to Girdwood, "Bird to Gird" pathway

  • Bird Creek Trail

  • Peters Creek Trail

  • Rabbit Lake Trail

  • Beaver Pond Trail

  • And the following Hillside Trails:

  • Gasline (From Prospect Heights Trailhead to Indian Trailhead)

  • Powerline Trail

  • Powerline Access Trail (Glen Alps to Powerline)

  • Wolverine Bowl Trail

  • Middle Fork Loop from intersection of Near Point to signed end of Homestead Road

  • South Fork Rim Trail

  • Silver Fern Trail

  • White Spruce Trail

  • Llama Trail

CONTACT: Superintendent Tom Harrison, 907-345-5014,


National Park Service, Sitka National Historical Park to complete agreement for assistance at Sitka area state parks

October 26, 2015 (Sitka, AK) - Sitka National Historical Park will complete its agreement with the Alaska Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation to maintain two Sitka area state parks on Friday, October 30. Since July 1, the National Park Service has provided grounds maintenance and litter removal at Baranof Castle State Historical Site and Old Sitka State Historical Park.

Due to budget reductions there is no state funding for operating any of the Sitka area state parks. Because of the historical link between the Sitka National Historical Park and both Castle Hill SHS and Old Sitka SHP, the NPS agreed to maintain these two popular areas for the use and enjoyment of residents and visitors through the end of October 2015.

According to State Park Superintendent Mike Eberhardt and National Park Superintendent Mary A. Miller, the arrangement was successful and they will be considering another agreement to maintain the two sites in the Spring of 2016 pending adequate budget and workforce.

CONTACT: Mike Eberhardt,, (907) 465-2481
AND: Mary A. Miller,, (907) 747-0111


Expert in historic preservation economics to speak in Anchorage Oct. 20

October 9, 2015 (Anchorage, AK) - Donovan Rypkema, a national expert in the economics of historic preservation, will give a free public speech at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 20 in downtown Anchorage as part of a two-day historic preservation conference.

Rypkema is the principal of Washington, D.C.-based PlaceEconomics, a consulting firm that specializes in revitalizing downtown and neighborhood commercial districts and planning for the reuse of historic structures. He also teaches a graduate course in preservation economics at the University of Pennsylvania, and in 2012, won the National Trust for Historic Preservation�s Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award, the organization�s highest honor.

The National Trust said about Rypkema:

�There are few people in the field of preservation who have more fun than Rypkema. His dry sense of humor and clever wit, combined with his intellectual yet straightforward approach to saving historic resources, help him forge connections with decision makers and effectively deliver the message of preservation�s economic benefits.�

While there is no charge to attend the speech, registration is required at The speech will be delivered at the Atwood Conference Center located at 550 West 7th Avenue on the first day of the Alaska Historic Preservation Conference, which is being held Oct. 20-22 at the conference center. The conference is a gathering of local government planning staff, historic preservation commissioners, elected officials, planning commissioners, and historic preservation practitioners. A conference agenda of the conference is available on this website.

CONTACT: Judy Bittner, 907-269-8714,


Recruits sought for Chugach State Park Citizens Advisory Board

September 21, 2015 (Anchorage, AK) - The Chugach State Park Citizens Advisory Board is seeking applications to fill upcoming vacancies on the 15-member board. The role of the advisory board is to advise the Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation on matters involving Chugach State Park, to promote protection of the park�s natural and cultural resources, and to facilitate communication between the public and the park managers. The board meets monthly and each member is expected to serve on two committees.

Board members serve for three years and terms are staggered so that seats open each year. Applicants will be considered for the term beginning in January 2016. The application deadline is Oct. 31. An application form may be obtained at

Board members represent a broad spectrum of public interests and the nomination process is designed to ensure that no single viewpoint dominates the board. In addition, the board�s bylaws call upon each member to represent all-encompassing public interests that are consistent with park purposes rather than advocate for a specific group.

Board meetings are held the second Monday of the month starting at 6 p.m. Committee meetings are scheduled by the committee chairs and vary in frequency depending on project needs and deadlines. Current committees include: Access, Budget, Nominations, Trails, Planning, Seward Highway Design and Wildlife.

CONTACT: Tom Harrison, 907-345-5014,


Recreational Trails Program funds 31 trail projects statewide in 2015

September 14, 2015 (Anchorage, AK) - The Recreational Trails Program has awarded matching funds for 31 trail projects in Alaska this year, with many projects underway or already completed. The projects are located in every region of the state and range from trail and facility repair projects to new construction. The total allocated for these projects is $1,145,682.

The trails program is managed by the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation and receives its funding for trails projects from the Federal Highway Trust Fund.

For a full list of projects, go to

CONTACT: Darcy Harris, (907) 269-8699,


Writing workshops, poetry dedications in 2 Southcentral state parks this month

September 4, 2015 (Anchorage, AK) - Signs bearing poems written by Alaskans will be installed and dedicated this month at Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park, the Seward waterfront, and Caines Head State Recreational Area as part of the Poems in Place Project. The public is invited to the dedications and free writing workshops held in conjunction with the dedications.

Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park
The poems �Tideline� by Leslie Leyland Fields and �The Compass Rose� by Fred Stager will be installed in the park at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12. Fields will lead an active �hike-ku� workshop titled �Kodiak and the Poetry of Place� from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Participants will meet at the Fort Abercrombie Ranger Station at 1400 Abercrombie Drive in Kodiak.

Caines Head State Recreation Area
On Saturday, Sept. 19 Aleria Jensen and Justine Pechuzal will lead an outdoor creative writing workshop, �Writing our Way into Landscape� from 9 a.m. to noon. Participants will meet at the Tonsina Creek Trailhead to write and hike their way to Tonsina Creek. The writing workshop is free and open to the public; participants should bring a notebook, pen, warm clothes and a poem about place. Also on Sept. 19, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. the dedication of Aleria Jensen�s poem �A Soldier�s Station� will start at the Seward Pavilion where local historian Doug Capra will give a short talk, and end at Lowell Point where the poem will be installed.

On Sunday, Sept. 20, the public is invited to the dedication of the poem �Pilgrims� by Justine Pechuzal. To participate in this event, meet at the North Beach, Caines Head State Recreation Area at 10 a.m. The poem will be installed on the trail that leads from North Beach to Fort McGilvray. This event is weather dependent and participants must provide their own transportation.

For more information about the poetry dedications and writing workshops, email

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 2013, poems by Ernestine Hayes and Emily Wall were placed in Totem Bight State Historical Park near Ketchikan, and poems by John Haines and Frank Soos were placed at the Chena River State Recreation Area near Fairbanks. In 2014, a poem by Tom Sexton was installed at Independence Mine State Historical Park and a poem by Tim Troll was installed at the Aleknagik State Recreation Site.

Claire LeClair at 907-269-8702, and Wendy Erd at 907-235-8891,