Legislature(2021 - 2022)BARNES 124

02/25/2022 01:00 PM House RESOURCES

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01:06:57 PM Start
01:07:31 PM HCR4
01:59:09 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 25, 2022                                                                                        
                           1:06 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Josiah Patkotak, Chair                                                                                           
Representative Grier Hopkins, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Zack Fields                                                                                                      
Representative Calvin Schrage                                                                                                   
Representative Sara Hannan                                                                                                      
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
Representative Mike Cronk                                                                                                       
Representative Ronald Gillham                                                                                                   
Representative Tom McKay                                                                                                        
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 4                                                                                               
Urging the Governor to establish the Office of Outdoor Equity.                                                                  
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HCR  4                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: URGING EST. OF OFFICE OF OUTDOOR EQUITY                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TARR                                                                                              
04/16/21       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/16/21       (H)       RES                                                                                                    
02/25/22       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GERAN TARR                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor, introduced HCR 4 by                                                                    
providing a PowerPoint presentation titled "HCR 4: Urging the                                                                   
Governor to Establish the Office of Outdoor Equity."                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE ANGELICA RUBIO                                                                                                   
New Mexico State Legislature                                                                                                    
Santa Fe, New Mexico                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HCR 4.                                                                           
LEE HART, Executive Director                                                                                                    
Alaska Outdoor Alliance                                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HCR 4.                                                                           
DIANA RHOADES, Director of Community Engagement                                                                                 
Anchorage Park Foundation                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HCR 4.                                                                           
RYAN O'SHAUGHNESSY, Executive Director                                                                                          
Trail Mix, Inc.                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HCR 4.                                                                           
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:06:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  JOSIAH  PATKOTAK  called   the  House  Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to order at  1:06 p.m.  Representatives Fields,                                                               
Hopkins, Hannan, Schrage,  and Patkotak were present  at the call                                                               
to order.                                                                                                                       
          HCR  4-URGING EST. OF OFFICE OF OUTDOOR EQUITY                                                                    
1:07:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR PATKOTAK  announced that the  only order of  business would                                                               
be  HOUSE CONCURRENT  RESOLUTION NO.  4, Urging  the Governor  to                                                               
establish the Office of Outdoor Equity.                                                                                         
1:07:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GERAN TARR,  Alaska State  Legislature, as  prime                                                               
sponsor, introduced HCR 4 by  providing a PowerPoint presentation                                                               
titled "HCR  4: Urging  the Governor to  Establish the  Office of                                                               
Outdoor  Equity.".   She explained  that  HCR 4  is a  concurrent                                                               
resolution  because  it  is  the   legislature  speaking  to  the                                                               
governor.   She displayed  the second  slide, "Alaskans  Love the                                                               
Outdoors!"    She  noted  that 81  percent  of  Alaska  residents                                                               
participate in  outdoor recreation each  year.  During  the COVID                                                               
pandemic in 2020, she continued,  Alaskans had the opportunity to                                                               
get  outside,  which was  critical  to  their mental  health  and                                                               
wellness.   According to the  Journal of  Rehabilitation Research                                                             
and  Development, she  related, spending  time outdoors  leads to                                                             
reduced  stress,  improved  concentration, and  promotes  overall                                                               
wellbeing.   However,  she pointed  out, access  historically has                                                               
not  been  universal,  which  is why  this  resolution  is  being                                                               
brought forth.   Representative  Tarr moved  to the  third slide,                                                               
"Why HCR  4?"   She said  every Alaskan should  be able  to hunt,                                                               
fish,  hike,  camp,  watch wildlife,  find  solitude,  and  enjoy                                                               
Alaska's special places.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE TARR spoke  to the fourth slide, "What  does HCR 4                                                               
call for?"   She explained that  HCR 4 calls for  the governor to                                                               
establish an  Office of Outdoor  Equity within the  Department of                                                               
Natural  Resources (DNR).   The  resolution  also requests  that,                                                               
through  this  office,  the governor  make  available  grants  to                                                               
organizations in  Alaska that  are working  to improve  access to                                                               
the  state's outdoor  resources, especially  in communities  that                                                               
have  historically  been  excluded from  outdoor  recreation  and                                                               
subsistence activities.   Rather  than this being  entirely state                                                               
funded, the  vision is that there  be public-private partnerships                                                               
because such  collaboration will  increase access.   According to                                                               
federal government  tracking, the outdoor recreation  industry is                                                               
a $2.2 billion  industry in Alaska, which suggests  that there is                                                               
opportunity for public-private partnerships.                                                                                    
1:11:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR  addressed  the fifth  slide,  "Exposure  to                                                               
outdoors  lasts  a  lifetime."   She  said  research  shows  that                                                               
children exposed  to the  outdoors are much  more likely  to take                                                               
that experience into  adulthood.  She turned to  the sixth slide,                                                               
"Are young people getting involved?"  and noted that the purchase                                                               
of hunting  equipment provides  funding to  conservation programs                                                               
through  surcharges.    If  there  are  fewer  participants,  she                                                               
continued, it  could potentially compromise the  future existence                                                               
of  those programs.    For  the age  group  of  25-34 years,  she                                                               
related, 2018 was a peak year  at 17 million hunters, whereas the                                                               
number  dropped to  11.5 million  hunters in  2016.   During this                                                               
same period a similar reduction occurred  in the age group of 18-                                                               
24 years.  Research  has found that this is often  due to lack of                                                               
access, not lack of interest, and this is what HCR 4 speaks to.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR  displayed  the  seventh  slide,  "What  are                                                               
barriers to getting  outside?"  According to  research, she said,                                                               
barriers include cost, transportation,  experience, lack of gear,                                                               
safety, and historical  exclusion.  For example,  she related, as                                                               
an outdoor guide in Alaska she  has led groups for women, many of                                                               
whom  did  not  have  outdoor  experience  growing  up  and  were                                                               
uncomfortable outdoors.   [An example] of an  access barrier, she                                                               
noted, is the increase in rental rates for state-owned cabins.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE TARR moved to the  eighth and nineth slides, "What                                                               
are other  states doing?"   She pointed  out that 18  states have                                                               
created offices  of outdoor  recreation or  task forces  and this                                                               
equity piece is  now being brought into it.   This year, at least                                                               
69  pieces of  legislation [in  30 states]  are being  considered                                                               
that would create  offices of outdoor recreation  or education or                                                               
equity  to help  meet the  need for  removing barriers  to access                                                               
through public-private partnerships.   She noted that  HCR 4 also                                                               
speaks to  indigenous place  names, which can  be woven  into the                                                               
work for educational opportunities.                                                                                             
1:17:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS agreed  this is  something Alaska  needs.                                                               
He noted  that HCR 4 looks  at racial and social  disparities and                                                               
asked why  support for disability  access to the outdoors  is not                                                               
included.   He further asked  whether other states  have included                                                               
disability access.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  replied that that  is an oversight  and said                                                               
it should be a part of the consideration.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS stated he may look at a "tweak" to that.                                                                 
1:18:22 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR PATKOTAK [opened invited testimony].                                                                                      
1:18:23 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ANGELICA  RUBIO,  New Mexico  State  Legislature,                                                               
testified in support of HCR 4.   She said she is thankful to be a                                                               
part  of  the conversation  around  New  Mexico's Outdoor  Equity                                                               
Fund, which  was established  in 2019  alongside the  creation of                                                               
the Division  of Outdoor Recreation.   She is a testament  to how                                                               
transformative the  outdoors can be physically  and mentally, she                                                               
related.   New Mexico ranks  relatively low on issues  like child                                                               
poverty and  quality of life  and many  of the state's  youth are                                                               
struggling. The  Outdoor Equity  Fund is a  tool to  help address                                                               
the systemic  issues that are  facing many of New  Mexico's young                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE RUBIO recounted that  during summer 2018 there was                                                               
discussion about diversifying New  Mexico's economy, with tourism                                                               
and  outdoor recreation  given prioritization.   Many  people saw                                                               
tourism  and  outdoor  recreation  as an  opportunity  to  become                                                               
economic drivers in Native rural  economies.  They wanted outdoor                                                               
recreation  to   be  rooted  in  the   philosophy  of  diversity,                                                               
inclusion,  and  equity  to  create  a  new  generation  of  land                                                               
stewards; an investment  in youth who should  have an opportunity                                                               
to experience  the state's beautiful outdoors.   These principles                                                               
lead  to  New  Mexico's  governor   supporting  and  signing  the                                                               
legislation  in   2019  that  created   a  Division   of  Outdoor                                                               
Recreation that  centered on equity.   These principles  also led                                                               
to  partnering with  several organizations  to  advocate for  the                                                               
creation of  the Outdoor  Equity Fund,  which New  Mexico's state                                                               
legislature approved  in 2019.   A recurring commitment  was made                                                               
to   provide  grants   to  towns,   cities,  tribal   and  Native                                                               
communities,  and   nonprofits  for  the  purpose   of  providing                                                               
opportunities for low-income young  people to spend time outside.                                                               
Private and corporate entities are  allowed to donate to the fund                                                               
to help expand its reach all over New Mexico.                                                                                   
1:23:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RUBIO stated  that the 2020 inaugural  year of the                                                               
Outdoor Equity Fund was successful  despite COVID-19.  A total of                                                               
$261,863 was awarded to 25  programs that got approximately 2,700                                                               
kids outside.   In 2021,  she continued, $890,337 was  awarded to                                                               
57 programs  throughout the  state that  got nearly  22,000 youth                                                               
outside.    Private  sponsors  were   a  part  of  that  process,                                                               
investing  alongside  the  State  of  New  Mexico  in  this  very                                                               
innovative grant.   Ninety organizations  applied to the  fund in                                                               
2021, with  a total funding  request of  $1.2 million.   The 2022                                                               
cycle  will be  opened with  $3 million  in funding,  three times                                                               
more than the previous year.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RUBIO related  that a program in  her community is                                                               
provided by  Family Youth, Inc.,  a group known for  working with                                                               
young people who  have been dealt hard times.   This program, the                                                               
Outdoor  Legacy  Project,  provides   resources  and  support  to                                                               
educate   youth   on    conservation,   climate,   and   cultural                                                               
connectedness to the  outdoors.  The project  empowers youth with                                                               
innovative, quality  outdoor experiences that promote  a sense of                                                               
ownership,  relationship, and  responsibility regarding  the land                                                               
and natural  resources.   There are many  stories about  how many                                                               
young people have  been completely transformed.   She offered her                                                               
belief that being outdoors is what  young people truly need.  She                                                               
congratulated  the  committee  on  urging  Alaska's  governor  to                                                               
create an Office of Outdoor Equity.                                                                                             
1:27:21 PM                                                                                                                    
LEE HART, Executive Director,  Alaska Outdoor Alliance, testified                                                               
in support of HCR  4.  She stated that one  of the top priorities                                                               
of  the outdoor  recreation industry  is equity  and inclusivity,                                                               
and the Alaska  Outdoor Alliance is dedicated  to ensuring Alaska                                                               
enjoys the  best outdoor  recreation academy in  the world.   The                                                               
alliance is also a founding  member of the State Outdoor Business                                                               
Alliance Network,  which now includes  people in 26  states doing                                                               
similar work.                                                                                                                   
MS. HART discussed why an Office  of Outdoor Equity matters.  She                                                               
conveyed that  Alaska's outdoor  recreation economy  is presently                                                               
ranked  sixth in  the US  in terms  of its  share of  the state's                                                               
economic outlook.   In 2020,  the US Bureau of  Economic Analysis                                                               
found  that  Alaska's  $2.3 billion  outdoor  recreation  economy                                                               
amounts to 3.2  percent of Alaska gross  domestic product; 17,800                                                               
jobs, which  is 5.4 percent of  jobs; and $981 million,  which is                                                               
3.4  percent  of  wages  and  capitalization.    Beyond  economic                                                               
output, outdoor  recreation is  a fun  and cost-effective  way to                                                               
improve mental  and physical health.   Numerous  academic studies                                                               
demonstrate  that  time  outside  in  nature  can  help  mitigate                                                               
depression and  stress, combat obesity, heart  disease, diabetes,                                                               
and other chronic  diseases, plus improve school  test scores and                                                               
foster better socialization skills, and healthier life habits.                                                                  
MS. HART  addressed why the  need to focus on  outdoor recreation                                                               
and equity.   She explained that despite so  many Alaskans living                                                               
near public lands, access to  the outdoors and outdoor activities                                                               
is often  beyond the reach  of many children in  Alaska's biggest                                                               
cities and  most remote  villages.  She  referenced Article  1 of                                                               
the Alaska  State Constitution regarding all  persons being equal                                                               
and  entitled to  equal  rights,  opportunities, and  protections                                                               
under  the law.   She  cited  the Mountain  View neighborhood  in                                                               
Representative  Tarr's  district as  an  example  of inequity  of                                                               
access.   While  only 10-12  miles  from the  Hilltop and  Arctic                                                               
Valley ski  areas, the  neighborhood's kids  are hard  pressed to                                                               
gain access to gear, transportation,  and money for lift tickets.                                                               
The nonprofit SheJumps tries to  fill these gaps but struggles to                                                               
make ends meet  to find gear, instructors,  and transportation to                                                               
get kids to the outdoor places just minutes from their homes.                                                                   
1:32:05 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. HART stated  that another inequity is access  to resources to                                                               
build outdoor  recreation infrastructure.   At  the start  of the                                                               
pandemic, she recounted, the Alaska  Outdoor Alliance conducted a                                                               
survey by talking to communities  across Alaska to get a snapshot                                                               
of the need  for outdoor recreation infrastructure.   There was a                                                               
widespread  misconception that  federal grant  funds administered                                                               
by  the state,  like the  Land and  Water Conservation  Fund, are                                                               
only available  for land  acquisition when  these funds  are also                                                               
available to provide  matching funds for projects.   She said she                                                               
wonders how many  great projects are languishing  because of this                                                               
misconception,  outdoor recreation  infrastructure projects  that                                                               
would benefit  the visitor industry, strengthen  local economies,                                                               
and strengthen the  health and wellbeing of Alaskans.   She added                                                               
that the  Alaska Outdoor  Alliance is  also looking  at workforce                                                               
development  and on-the-job  training programs  by organizations.                                                               
She  said Alaska  and Alaskans  would benefit  from strengthening                                                               
programs to  ensure curriculum creates  talent pipelines  to meet                                                               
the  hiring demands  of today's  public land  managers, fish  and                                                               
game scientists,  trail builders, landscape  designers, community                                                               
planners, and others.                                                                                                           
MS. HART pointed out that,  as heard from Representative Rubio of                                                               
New Mexico,  these offices  can be run  on a  relative shoestring                                                               
yet deliver impressive  results that can last  generations.  With                                                               
an Office of Outdoor Equity,  she continued, Alaska would have at                                                               
least one  person whose job is  to think, eat, and  breathe about                                                               
this every day, to break  silos between divisions and departments                                                               
that would help better leverage  resources, to forge the kinds of                                                               
public-private partnerships that can  grow these programs, and to                                                               
put  less of  a financial  burden on  the state.   She  urged the                                                               
committee to support HCR 4.                                                                                                     
1:35:52 PM                                                                                                                    
DIANA RHOADES,  Director of Community Engagement,  Anchorage Park                                                               
Foundation,  testified  in  support  of  HCR 4.    She  said  the                                                               
foundation's philanthropic mission is  to build healthy parks and                                                               
healthy  people by  supporting  parks,  trails, and  recreational                                                               
opportunities.   As  a fundraising  organization, she  continued,                                                               
the foundation looks for grants  to get new and diverse audiences                                                               
into  the outdoors  and  therefore an  Office  of Outdoor  Equity                                                               
would be fantastic.                                                                                                             
MS. RHOADES stated  that outdoor equity includes  just making the                                                               
state's  public  lands  more  accessible,  more  affordable,  and                                                               
safer.    Along  the  line of  equity,  the  foundation's  Trails                                                               
Initiative offers  the Health on  Trails program, as well  as the                                                               
Schools on  Trails program where  she works with Title  1 schools                                                               
to get  kids outside with  their teachers learning  their lessons                                                               
outdoors.   Research  shows  that when  kids  take their  lessons                                                               
outside, they have better opportunities for learning.                                                                           
MS. RHOADES said  the foundation has a Youth  Employment in Parks                                                               
program  that each  summer  provides  26 kids  with  10 weeks  of                                                               
training  in natural  resources management.   Funding  comes from                                                               
parents,  families,  individuals,  government grants,  and  other                                                               
grants. The  kids work on  projects throughout the week  and then                                                               
on Fridays they spend time in an outdoor recreation activity.                                                                   
For many  of these kids  this is their  first time on  an outdoor                                                               
recreation adventure.                                                                                                           
1:39:15 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  RHOADES said  the Anchorage  Park Foundation  has a  program                                                               
called  Inclusive  Play, which  works  to  make playgrounds  more                                                               
accessible.  An example, she  continued, is Anchorage's new Jewel                                                               
Lake Park for which the  foundation raised extra funds to install                                                               
unitary  surfacing  for  people   in  wheelchairs.    Playgrounds                                                               
installed on woodchips  are not at all accessible to  people in a                                                               
wheelchair,  so these  kids are  then  left outside  of play  and                                                               
unable to participate with their friends on the playground.                                                                     
MS.  RHOADES  further  related  that  the  foundation's  Dena'ina                                                               
Indigenous Place Names  Project is a partnership  with the Native                                                               
Village of Eklutna to bring  indigenous place names to the area's                                                               
parks  and trails.    The  first one  completed  is at  Chanshtnu                                                               
Muldoon Park;  the word chanshtnu  means grassy creek.   She said                                                               
the  Office of  Outdoor  Equity  could be  a  place for  Alaska's                                                               
Native villages, people, and cultures  across the state to go for                                                               
having their stories told in Alaska's public lands.                                                                             
MS.  RHOADES related  that during  the  time she  worked for  the                                                               
National Park  Service (NPS)  from 2015-2017,  the NPS  looked at                                                               
who goes to national parks and  found that 70 percent of visitors                                                               
were white and  often older.  The NPS realized  that it needed to                                                               
reach  out  to  new  and   diverse  audiences  and  to  the  next                                                               
generation.    Surveys found  that  people  weren't using  public                                                               
lands because  they didn't see  themselves represented,  and when                                                               
not represented  people don't  feel safe.   Public lands  are not                                                               
accessible if one doesn't see oneself in them.                                                                                  
1:44:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. RHOADES added  that the park she worked  at, Saguaro National                                                               
Park,  strove to  get Latinos,  the largest  community in  nearby                                                               
Tucson, hired  at NPS  so that people  would see  themselves when                                                               
they came to that park.   Specialized tours for Latinos and their                                                               
families were  also given,  she said.   Reaching new  and diverse                                                               
audiences ensures a more accessible  place for all and that there                                                               
is a next generation of park and  public land users.  In 2017 the                                                               
NPS also  recognized that free  passes into the parks  were being                                                               
given to  anybody who turned  65, and  it was realized  that free                                                               
passes could be  given to others.  Initially called  Every Kid in                                                               
a Park, 4   graders and their families could go to national parks                                                               
for  free.   In 2019  it  was expanded  to all  public lands  and                                                               
renamed Every Kid Outdoors.                                                                                                     
MS. RHOADES  closed her testimony  by stating that if  Alaska had                                                               
an Office of Outdoor Equity,  the Anchorage Park Foundation would                                                               
apply for grants.                                                                                                               
1:47:38 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN related  that the  Juneau School  District                                                               
gets kids  outside by  providing hunter  safety training  for all                                                               
sixth graders  and learning to ski  for all fourth graders.   She                                                               
asked whether  the Anchorage School  District has  integrated any                                                               
outdoor activity programs into its school system.                                                                               
MS. RHOADES replied  that through its Schools  on Trails program,                                                               
the foundation has  worked with the Anchorage  School District on                                                               
taking  kids outside,  and there  is also  the Anchorage  Outdoor                                                               
School.   While not a  hunting program, the  foundation's program                                                               
gets kids outside and learning  about integration into nature and                                                               
the sciences.                                                                                                                   
1:50:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS  offered his support  for HCR 4.   He noted                                                               
that  Alaska's  state  parks  have   been  pressured  to  sustain                                                               
themselves,  and the  price  of  just going  to  a trailhead  has                                                               
"priced out"  poor families in Anchorage.   At $5 per  visit, $60                                                               
for a  season, a poor  family cannot  spend that much  money when                                                               
the trade-off is  food.  For something as basic  as hiking, a way                                                               
must be found to allow poor  families to use Alaska's state parks                                                               
for free,  he opined.   Public use cabins now  cost as much  as a                                                               
hotel, but there must be a  way for those cabins to be accessible                                                               
to  families  of  all  means.     An  income-scaled  program,  he                                                               
suggested, is  something that an  Office of Outdoor  Equity could                                                               
1:51:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  asked  whether the  New  Mexico  [Outdoor                                                               
Equity  Fund]  is  focused  on youth  education  programs  or  on                                                               
diversity and equity issues.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RUBIO  responded that New Mexico's  Outdoor Equity                                                               
Fund  specifically targets  programs that  are focused  solely on                                                               
youth  and  programming that  will  take  young people  outdoors.                                                               
Priority is given  to programs across the state  for young people                                                               
who  are representative  of  communities  that don't  necessarily                                                               
have much money.                                                                                                                
1:54:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR PATKOTAK opened public testimony on HCR 4.                                                                                
1:55:16 PM                                                                                                                    
RYAN   O'SHAUGHNESSY,  Executive   Director,  Trail   Mix,  Inc.,                                                               
testified in  support of  HCR 4.   He noted that  Trail Mix  is a                                                               
nonprofit that  maintains and improves  the Juneau  trail system.                                                               
During  summer 2020,  he  continued, Trail  Mix  ran a  workforce                                                               
development program  called the COVID-19 Conservation  Corps with                                                               
funding from  the Coronavirus Aid, Relief,  and Economic Security                                                               
(CARES) Act.                                                                                                                    
MR.  O'SHAUGHNESSY  said creating  an  Office  of Outdoor  Equity                                                               
would facilitate further workforce  development programs and spur                                                               
community-level economic  revitalization.   He stated  that these                                                               
kinds  of programs  would  provide  unemployed and  underemployed                                                               
Alaskans with  a job and  training to help advance  their careers                                                               
while maintaining and improving  access to Alaska's public places                                                               
and  creating lasting  outdoor infrastructure  that supports  the                                                               
visitor economy.   Trail building in general is  entry level work                                                               
that  doesn't require  higher education,  only  a willingness  to                                                               
learn.   However,  it  allows people  to  gain technical  skills,                                                               
trades   experience,  and   an   introduction   to  fields   like                                                               
construction,  carpentry,   landscaping,  and   natural  resource                                                               
management.   It also builds  inter-personal skills  for success,                                                               
like group problem solving, communication, and teamwork.                                                                        
MR.  O'SHAUGHNESSY related  that  for  the COVID-19  Conservation                                                               
Corps, Trail  Mix spent significant  time and money  on training,                                                               
which provided  tangible skills and certifications  for employees                                                               
to accomplish  the work at  hand and to  take with them  to other                                                               
jobs.  A focus on training,  he explained, is one way to decrease                                                               
barriers for  entry for  people with  underrepresented identities                                                               
in  the field.   Workforce  development programs  for trails  and                                                               
natural resource  stewardship can  also expand beyond  the skills                                                               
needed in the field to  include community consultation, planning,                                                               
and design.   Those kinds of things need training  for workers to                                                               
be able to understand and  plan for the interplay between outdoor                                                               
recreation, tourism,  and cultural and subsistence  use, which is                                                               
essential  in Alaska.   These  kinds  of programs  can also  help                                                               
folks have  a skill set  for the pre-construction  skills related                                                               
to   trail  building   and  outdoor   recreation  infrastructure.                                                               
Planning,  permitting,  surveying,  and  grant  writing  are  all                                                               
essential to this kind of work.                                                                                                 
MR. O'SHAUGHNESSY urged  the committee to consider  the Office of                                                               
Outdoor Equity as  an opportunity to build  a reliable, homegrown                                                               
workforce  that would  expand outdoor  access  across the  state,                                                               
especially in  rural and under-resourced  communities.   "When we                                                               
invest in  trails, we  invest in Alaska  people and  economy," he                                                               
said in conclusion.                                                                                                             
1:58:29 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR PATKOTAK,  after ascertaining  that no  one else  wished to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on HCR 4.                                                                                      
CHAIR PATKOTAK announced that HCR 4 was held over.                                                                              
1:59:09 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 1:59 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HCR 4 Sponsor Statement 2.25.2022.pdf HRES 2/25/2022 1:00:00 PM
HCR 4 Supporting Documents 2.25.2022.pdf HRES 2/25/2022 1:00:00 PM
HCR 4 Testimony Provided by Alaska Outdoor Alliance 2.25.2022.pdf HRES 2/25/2022 1:00:00 PM
HCR 4 Testimony Provided by Maya Lapinksi 2.25.2022.pdf HRES 2/25/2022 1:00:00 PM
HCR 4 Presentation for HRES 2.25.2022 x.pdf HRES 2/25/2022 1:00:00 PM