Park Condition Reports

Last Update: October 20, 2017

News Releases

Alaska Office of Boating Safety receives national recognition

September 18, 2017 (Anchorage, AK) – The Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation’s Office of Boating Safety was recently recognized with three awards at the 2017 conference of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).

Education Specialist Kelli Toth was named the 2017 National Boating Safety Educator of the Year. This award symbolizes the highest level of achievement among boating safety educators in the U.S. Among her many accomplishments since Toth joined the Office of Boating Safety in 2011, the total number of students attending Kids Don’t Float education program classes has swelled to over 75,761.

“In a profession where outstanding work is the standard, Kelli’s passion and dedication are above exemplary,” said Alaska State Parks Director Ethan Tyler.

The Office of Boating Safety also won the NASBLA Innovations Award, presented to a program or initiative that demonstrates the highest level of innovation leading to advances in boating safety. The annual award was established to bring greater visibility to exemplary state, corporate or public-private partnership programs and to encourage the sharing of these initiatives with other agencies and recreational boating safety stakeholders.

Boating Law Administrator Jeff Johnson was inducted into the National Boating Safety Council’s National Boating Safety Hall of Fame. Inductees are chosen from among those who have demonstrated vital leadership and support through many years of service to boating safety.

“Jeff was the State of Alaska’s first official Boating Law Administrator in 1998. Credit is due to Jeff for the establishment and the many successes of the Alaska Boating Safety Program to date,” Tyler said.

“These awards from NASBLA are the result of years of tireless work and amazing passion for protecting and educating Alaskans. This state is so very fortunate to have people like Jeff and Kelli with such commitment to boating safety in Alaska, and I am proud to be on their team,” Tyler said.

CONTACT: Jeff Johnson, 907-269-8705,

Byers Lake Campground Closed for Beetle Kill Tree Removal September 18-23

September 18, 2017 (Wasilla, AK) – Due to the rapidly spreading epidemic of dead and dying spruce trees, the Byers Lake Campground will be closed for two weeks in September to remove dead trees in campsites. During this time, camping will be allowed in the boat launch and day use areas of Byers Lake. The campground will re-open September 24 through approximately October 2, depending on the weather. Camping is also available at the K’esugi Ken Campground 12 miles south of Byers Lake. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes.

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

New board member sought for Outdoor Recreational Trails Advisory Board

September 5, 2017 (Anchorage, AK) – The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation is seeking applications for one board position on the Outdoor Recreational Trails Advisory Board, representing trail users who participate in or are interested in multi-modal trail activities or sports. Applicants should have knowledge, experience, and interest in outdoor recreation, multiple-use trail activities, and grant-funded programs.

The primary role of the board is to assist in evaluating grant proposals for the Recreational Trails Program and Land and Water Conservation Fund. Since 2000, these programs have invested approximately $30 million in trail projects throughout the state, creating critical and sustainable infrastructure while supporting private sector jobs throughout Alaska. Board members are often consulted on for advice on other outdoor-recreation matters.

Anyone interested in serving on the ORTAB should submit a letter of interest, brief resume, and completed questionnaire to State Trails Program Manager Darcy Harris at The questionnaire can be downloaded at The deadline to apply is October 1, 2017.

This is a commissioner-appointed position with a three-year term and the board meets a minimum of once per year in Anchorage. Additional information regarding the ORTAB and the Recreational Trails Program can be found at

CONTACT: Darcy Harris, 907-269-8699,

SnowTRAC annual meeting scheduled for September 6 

August 21, 2017 (Anchorage, AK) – The State of Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation invites members of the public to participate in the Snowmobile Trails Advisory Council (SnowTRAC) annual meeting and teleconference from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Sept. 6. The meeting will be held in Anchorage in Room 1270 of the Atwood Building, located at 550 W 7th Ave.

The agenda will include review of trail grooming requests, as well as discussion of various SnowTRAC issues. To participate by teleconference, call (866) 918-8374 and enter conference code 5569714090.

SnowTRAC consists of six members selected from across Alaska. The council advises the director of the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation on funding for eligible grant projects under the Snowmobile Trails Grant Program. This program is funded through legislatively authorized funds from snowmobile registration fees and are used to support snowmobile trail grooming and maintenance, and snowmobile safety and education projects.

If you are a person requiring special accommodations, auxiliary aid, or other special services to participate in the meeting, please contact State Trails Program Coordinator Darcy Harris at 269-8699 or at least one week prior to the event in order to make the necessary arrangements.

CONTACT: Darcy Harris, 907-269-8699,

Contracts awarded for private operation of Delta Area Parks

July 31, 2017 (Fairbanks, AK) – The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation has issued two competitive park use permits for the commercial operation of five park units in the Delta Junction Area. A total of five proposals were submitted.

The successful bidder for operating Big Delta State Historical Park was K&K Operations, and for operating facilities at Quartz Lake, Clearwater, Delta, and Donnelly Creek state recreation sites, Big Dipper Adventures LLC.

The State of Alaska provides 10 days for an individual to contest a contract award and the State has 10 days to respond. However, there is nothing preventing the vendor from immediately beginning work on the contract. To restore access to facilities at the recreation sites that closed a month ago, state park staff will help the contractors reopen the parks on Tuesday, August 1.

“The community involvement during this transition from state to private management has been exceptional. My hats off to all the wonderful volunteers that stepped up to clean restrooms. It proves how much Delta loves its state parks,” said Northern Area State Parks Superintendent Brooks Ludwig.

CONTACT: Brooks Ludwig, 451-2698,

Ethan Tyler to serve as new Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation director

July 6, 2017 (Anchorage, AK) – Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack announced today that Ethan Tyler will join the Department of Natural Resources as director of the Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation on July 17.

Tyler has 17 years of private sector and non-profit experience in Alaska, largely in tourism, outdoor recreation and economic development. He is moving to DNR from his current position as the Economic Development Manager for the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development where he supervises a variety of statewide programs including the Made in Alaska program.

“A key objective for the State of Alaska is sustaining and protecting our park system by making it less reliant on general funds for its operations,” Mack said. “Ethan’s skills and experience make him a natural fit to carry on this important work.”

“I look forward to joining the DNR team and working cooperatively with fellow Alaskans to manage the nation’s largest and best state park system, and increase opportunities for outdoor recreation in our state,” Tyler said.

Tyler began his Alaska career at the Alyeska Resort in 2000. He joined CIRI Alaska Tourism Corp. four years later as a sales manager, and went on to work in management positions at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and the Alaska Community Foundation. From 2009 to 2013, he owned a consulting business that provided communications, sales, marketing and other services to Alaska’s visitor industry.

Tyler has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colorado. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys ski instructing, backcountry skiing, as well as biking, hiking, surfing, and time spent with family.

CONTACT: Elizabeth Bluemink, 269-8434,

State seeks private contractors to operate Delta Area state parks

July 5, 2017 (Fairbanks, AK) – The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation is requesting proposals for private concession operation of five state park units in the Delta Junction area. These park units are no longer being actively maintained by state agency staff due to FY 2018 budget reductions but the goal is to keep them available to the public and maintained under commercial operation.

Four park units will be bundled together under one concession – the Quartz Lake State Recreation Area, the Clearwater State Recreation Site, the Donnelly Creek State Recreation Site, and the Delta State Recreation Site. The division is offering a separate concession for the operation of Big Delta State Historical Park. Authority to operate the park units would be provided under a park permit. The permits will have an initial two-year term, renewable for an additional five years by mutual agreement.

During the transition, Big Delta State Historical Park will remain open, staffed by the Delta Historical Society. Rika’s Roadhouse Café and Gift Shop will continue to operate as usual. People will still be able to access the four other park units but services such as bathrooms, garbage, water, and staff will be unavailable until a concessionaire is in place.

Application materials for the two park concessions are available at and on the State of Alaska Online Public Notice system, and paper copies also are available at the Alaska State Parks office in Fairbanks located at 3700 Airport Way.

Proposals must be received at the Fairbanks Office no later than 4 p.m. on July 21, 2017.

CONTACT: Brooks Ludwig, 907-451-2698,

Alaska Historical Commission to meet July 17 in Anchorage

June 16, 2017 (Anchorage, AK) – The Alaska Historical Commission will meet in Anchorage and via teleconference on Monday, July 17, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The meeting is open to the public and the teleconference center is at the BP Energy Center, 900 East Benson Blvd.

The commission will consider the Old Willow Community Center and Ch’u’itnu Traditional Cultural Landscape (Tyonek vicinity) nominations for the National Register of Historic Places. They also will consider requests from eligible local governments for historic preservation projects, and review nine proposals to name or change the names of geographic features. They will have an update on activity since their special meeting in April on the 4th Avenue Theatre. The preliminary agenda is posted at

Any person or group wishing to address the commission on the National Register nominations, local government project proposals, or geographic names applications are invited to participate in the public comment session starting at 10:30 a.m. To comment by phone, arrangements must be made in advance by calling 907-269-8714.

A printed copy of the meeting agenda can be requested by calling 907-269-8721, emailing, or writing to the Office of History and Archaeology, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, 550 West 7th Ave., Suite 1310, Anchorage, AK 99501-3565. The National Register documentation is available at

“The Alaska Historical Commission is the review board for the state’s historic preservation program and for naming geographic features in Alaska. More information about the commission is available at

This year’s preparations for a government shutdown are different than in 2015, when the legislature had passed a partially funded budget. This year, money has not been appropriated for any government services. As a government shutdown in Alaska is unprecedented, Department of Law is examining what money could be spent to continue vital state services if the legislature has not fulfilled its constitutional obligation to pass a budget.

CONTACT: Joan Antonson, 907-269-8714,