A sharing of lessons learned in 2020 about the importance of outdoor recreation from the perspective of Alaska State Parks Director Ricky Gease.
At the start of the COVID pandemic, visitation rates at many state park locations increased significantly as Alaskans sought refuge in the outdoors for physical, mental and spiritual health. Increased use provided interesting management challenges, from visitor and employee safety to dealing with crowded parking lots and hiking trails. 2020 showed how important access to outdoor recreation is for residents, businesses, and communities.
Moving forward, 2020 also saw the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), a landmark bill that provides important resources deal with a backlog of deferred maintenance on federal lands used for outdoor recreation and a significant increase at the state level in 1-to-1 match funding for the Land, Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
What does it all mean for Alaska? Come find out what the new opportunities and challenges are for the state’s outdoor recreation sector.
Ricky Gease is the Director of Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, Department of Natural Resources for the State of Alaska. He has a 30 plus year career in natural and cultural resource management, a Masters Degree in Biology from Stanford University, works in the DNR office of the Atwood Building in Anchorage during the week, and resides in Kenai with his wife Bunny Swan.