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Alaska State Parks Recognizes Important Partnership with Alaska Pacific University

(Anchorage, AK) - The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation will host a recognition event at Eklutna Lake to publicly thank Alaska Pacific University's David McGivern for his ten-year partnership with the division's Interpretation and Education Unit.

The event will be held at 1:00pm, Wednesday, October 14, 2009, at Eklutna Lake, a popular recreation area in Chugach State Park. The public is invited to attend.

The event will showcase seven interpretive panels at Eklutna Lake that students designed during the fall 2008 "Alaska Natural History Interpretation" course at APU. "The panels at Eklutna Lake were about 20 years old, faded, and damaged," says Bill Kiger, Planner III with the division's Design and Construction section. "They were not portraying the image we would like for state parks. David's class was able to inject creativity, color, and a fresh perspective into a deferred maintenance project we have been unable to fund. We are ecstatic with the result."

Kiger also says the partnership, which is a key component of the division's Ten-Year Strategic Plan, 2007-2017, is a great opportunity for students interested in interpretation and environmental education to intern with the division, which provides real-world experience and job opportunities for students and graduates.

David McGivern, Associate Professor of Outdoor Studies and Chairperson of the Outdoor Studies Department at APU, says "Bill Kiger and the interpretation staff at State Parks have generously encouraged students to find their own interpretive voice while still holding them to the standards of the profession. That blend of respect and expectation has kept our collaboration meaningful and fresh." The class has partnered with the division on other interpretation projects such as the Bird Creek Campground, Summit Lake State Recreation Site, and the interpretive trail at the Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site.

The recognition event will include a speech by Division Director James King, who in addition to speaking about the benefits of partnerships and stewardship, will highlight how projects like this help to support the division's mission to "provide outdoor recreation opportunities and conserve and interpret natural, cultural, and historic resources for the use, enjoyment, and welfare of the people."

Kiger hopes the division continues to strengthen their partnership with APU and with other schools and educational groups.

"The students in David's class have benefited our program in a number of ways and they never cease to surprise us with their 'out-of-the-box' ideas."

Eklutna Lake Valley provides opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, boating, and riding ATVs. The 50-site campground is booked nearly all summer and public use cabins are equally as popular. The approximately 30 miles of maintained trails in Eklutna Lake Valley are popular year round. Winter activities include cross-country skiing, dog mushing, and snowmobiling.

Eklutna Lake also provides water to the Eklutna Hydroelectric Power Plant and almost 80% of the Municipality of Anchorage's daily water supply.

Eklutna Lake is located off the Eklutna exit on the Glenn Highway (MP 26.5). The Eklutna Lake Road leads to the campground, day-use area, and boat launch.

For more information on this event, contact Kathlene Rowell at 269-8742.

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