Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

03/06/2019 03:30 PM Senate RESOURCES

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03:30:06 PM Start
03:30:34 PM Presentation: Outdoor Recreation Industry: Open for More Business
04:48:42 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
"Outdoor Recreation Industry: Open for More
Business" by:
- Lee Hart, Founder, Confluence
- Nolan Klouda, Executive Director, University
of Alaska, Center for Economic Development
- Michele Stevens, Petersville Community
Non-Profit Corp.
- Thor Stacey, Alaska Professional Guides
- Mike Hopper, The Lodge at Black Rapids
- Chris Beck, Alaska Trails/Agnew Beck
- Rhonda Coston, Yakutat Borough Planner
- Dan Kirkwood, Visitor Products Cluster, Juneau
Economic Development Council
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 6, 2019                                                                                          
                           3:30 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Chris Birch, Chair                                                                                                      
Senator John Coghill, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Lora Reinbold                                                                                                           
Senator Click Bishop                                                                                                            
Senator Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                          
Senator Jesse Kiehl                                                                                                             
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                           
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION: OUTDOOR RECREATION INDUSTRY: OPEN FOR MORE                                                                        
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
LEE HART, Founder                                                                                                               
Confluence Alaska                                                                                                               
Valdez, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided an overview of Alaska's outdoor                                                                  
recreation industry.                                                                                                            
NOLAN KLOUDA, Executive Director                                                                                                
Center for Economic Development                                                                                                 
University of Alaska-Anchorage                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Explained the economic benefits from the                                                                  
state's outdoor recreation industry.                                                                                            
MICHELE STEVENS, President                                                                                                      
Petersville Community Non-Profit Corporation                                                                                    
Petersville, Alaska                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided an  overview of the SnowTRAC Program                                                             
for snowmobile trails in the state.                                                                                             
THOR STACEY, Director of Government Affairs                                                                                     
Alaska Professional Hunters Association                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Provided  an overview  of  Alaska's  guided                                                             
hunting industry.                                                                                                               
MIKE HOPPER, Owner                                                                                                              
The Lodge at Black Rapids                                                                                                       
Black Rapids, Alaska                                                                                                            
POSITION  STATEMENT: Explained  a development  plan for  a hiking                                                             
route from Black Creek to Denali Park.                                                                                          
RHONDA COSTON, Planner                                                                                                          
City and Borough of Yakutat                                                                                                     
Yakutat, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION   STATEMENT:  Explained   the   importance  of   outdoor                                                             
recreational development in the Yakutat area.                                                                                   
DAN KIRKWOOD, Co-Chair                                                                                                          
Visitor Products Working Group                                                                                                  
Juneau Economic Development Council                                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Addressed the visitor industry  in Southeast                                                             
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:30:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CHRIS BIRCH called the  Senate Resources Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to order  at 3:30 p.m. Present at the  call to order were                                                               
Senators Kiehl,  Coghill, Reinbold,  Kawasaki, Bishop,  and Chair                                                               
^PRESENTATION:  Outdoor   Recreation  Industry:  Open   for  More                                                               
    PRESENTATION: Outdoor Recreation Industry: Open for More                                                                
3:30:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BIRCH  announced that  the  committee  will hear  multiple                                                               
presentations  from  Alaska's  outdoor   industry.  He  said  the                                                               
presentations'  overarching  theme  is that  the  Alaska  outdoor                                                               
industry is an  important and growing contributor  to the state's                                                               
economy that is open for more business.                                                                                         
3:31:23 PM                                                                                                                    
LEE HART,  Founder, Confluence  Alaska, Valdez,  Alaska, provided                                                               
her  background information  in  the  adventure travel  marketing                                                               
industry.  She  said her  intent  is  to explain  how  Confluence                                                               
Alaska will focus on building  Alaska's future outdoor recreation                                                               
economy on  behalf of  more than  500 stakeholder  businesses and                                                               
organizations across  the state. The outdoor  recreation industry                                                               
is a powerful economic sector  that continues to gather statewide                                                               
She   addressed  milestones   for  Alaska's   outdoor  recreation                                                               
industry as follows:                                                                                                            
     • Fall 2018:                                                                                                               
          o The Federal Bureau of Economic Analysis released                                                                    
             data on the U.S. outdoor recreation economy:                                                                       
               square4 $416 billion,                                                                                            
               square4 2.2 percent of GDP,                                                                                      
               square4 Larger than pharmaceuticals,                                                                             
               square4 Outpacing growth in many sectors including the                                                           
                  overall economy.                                                                                              
          o University of Alaska report:                                                                                        
               square4 Alaska grown outdoor product manufactures                                                                
                  including success stories from uniquely Alaskan                                                               
                  user-inspired innovations.                                                                                    
     • January 2019:                                                                                                            
          o The    State    Association    of    Public    Health                                                               
               square4 Passed a resolution recognizing the value of                                                             
                  outdoor recreation to public health.                                                                          
     • Spring 2019:                                                                                                             
          o Report by eight states on the value of investing in                                                                 
She  said virtually  every community  and economic  masterplan in                                                               
Alaska  calls  for   greater  outdoor  recreation  infrastructure                                                               
development.  Trails  and  outdoor groups  provide  thousands  of                                                               
hours of voluntary labor to  build and maintain summer and winter                                                               
trails. In the  past four years voters in Anchorage  and the Mat-                                                               
Su Valley voted  overwhelmingly to tax themselves  to create more                                                               
outdoor and recreation infrastructure.  Alaskans have been asking                                                               
for more of the close to  home access to surrounding public lands                                                               
and waterways.                                                                                                                  
MS.  HART noted  that the  Klondike Gold  Rush, Glacier  Bay, and                                                               
Denali  national  parks  attract  the  majority  of  visitors  to                                                               
Alaska's national  parks. She asked committee  members to imagine                                                               
the jobs and  business opportunities that would  benefit the many                                                               
gateway communities  to the state's other  21-national parks, 16-                                                               
national wildlife  refuges, multiple national forests,  Bureau of                                                               
Land Management sites, and state parks.                                                                                         
She   said  the   increased   interest   in  outdoor   recreation                                                               
development has led  to Confluence Alaska being  invited to speak                                                               
at conferences  that includes: the Alaska  Planner's Association,                                                               
Juneau's Innovation Summit, the  Alaska Municipal League, and the                                                               
Alaska Travel Industry Association.                                                                                             
She  opined  that there  is  broad-based  bipartisan support  for                                                               
outdoor  recreation  at  the federal  level.  U.S.  Senator  Lisa                                                               
Murkowski  has   championed  greater  investment   in  recreation                                                               
development  and catching  up on  deferred maintenance  on public                                                               
lands.  The landmark  Natural Resources  Management Act  recently                                                               
passed 92 to 8 in the Senate and 363 to 62 in the House.                                                                        
3:33:58 PM                                                                                                                    
She stated  that her  colleagues during  the overview  will prove                                                               
the value of Alaska's outdoor recreation industry as follows:                                                                   
   • An invaluable user-financed program the benefits everyone                                                                  
     in the state.                                                                                                              
   • The state should do its part to keep federal support                                                                       
     flowing to  help restore wildlife and  sportfishing habitat,                                                               
     build new  trails for motorized and  nonmotorized users, and                                                               
     create  all manner  of outdoor  recreation projects  through                                                               
     the  newly  passed  and permanently  reauthorized  Land  and                                                               
     Water Conservation Fund.                                                                                                   
She summarized  that Confluence Alaska  has sent a letter  to the                                                               
governor,  Commissioner Anderson  for  the  Alaska Department  of                                                               
Commerce, Community,  and Economic Development;  and Commissioner                                                               
Feige for the  Alaska Department of Natural  Resources asking for                                                               
an examination in ways in  which the state might pursue potential                                                               
regulatory  relief  that  would   allow  Alaska  to  create  more                                                               
community  close to  home trails  as  well as  businesses on  the                                                               
state's public lands.                                                                                                           
3:37:25 PM                                                                                                                    
NOLAN   KLOUDA,   Executive   Director,   Center   for   Economic                                                               
Development, University  of Alaska-Anchorage,  Anchorage, Alaska,                                                               
announced that  the Center for Economic  Development is releasing                                                               
a report with  the Alaska Department of  Commerce, Community, and                                                               
Economic   Development  on   outdoor   recreation  and   economic                                                               
development  in Alaska.  The outdoor  recreation industry  on the                                                               
national level annually contributes  $400 billion to the national                                                               
MR. KLOUDA detailed  that the outdoor recreation  report from the                                                               
Center for Economic Development's reveals the following:                                                                        
   • 12 activities   accounted   for   the   majority   outdoor                                                                 
     recreation, including:                                                                                                     
        o Hunting,                                                                                                              
        o Fishing,                                                                                                              
        o Hiking,                                                                                                               
        o Motorized activities.                                                                                                 
   • Data tallying example:                                                                                                     
        o Kenai River fishing trip from Anchorage results in                                                                    
          gas, food, lodging, and charter boat purchases, the                                                                   
          Center tallied the results for residents and visitors                                                                 
        o $3.2 billion is spent on outdoor recreation trips.                                                                    
        o 38,000 jobs were created from the outdoor recreation                                                                  
          trips spending:                                                                                                       
             square4 Greater than 1 in 10 jobs in the state.                                                                    
        o Significant   industry   for   Alaska   in   terms   of                                                               
        o Note:                                                                                                                 
             square4 Gear purchased for recreation trips is not                                                                 
               counted because the Center does not have a good                                                                  
               data source.                                                                                                     
3:40:42 PM                                                                                                                    
He said how  the money is spent on outdoor  recreation and how it                                                               
contributes to  the state economy  is only one facet.  Quality of                                                               
life  is  another aspect  that  makes  a  place attractive  to  a                                                               
skilled  workforce. Increasingly  in economic  development around                                                               
the  country,  states,  regions, and  municipalities  compete  to                                                               
attract talent.                                                                                                                 
He noted  that Alaska's business  leaders tend to say  in surveys                                                               
that one  of the biggest challenges  that holds them back  is not                                                               
having  enough  workers. Alaska  has  a  small labor  force  that                                                               
requires amenities  to attract people. According  to a University                                                               
of Alaska-Fairbanks  study, 60 percent  of residents said  one of                                                               
the big reasons  they live in Alaska is  because of opportunities                                                               
for  outdoor recreation  and  that is  one of  the  big draws  to                                                               
living  in the  state. Outdoor  recreation is  an asset  that can                                                               
keep people in Alaska that contributes  to the economy as well as                                                               
attracting  people to  the state;  that is  the focus  of efforts                                                               
like  the  Choose  Juneau  by  the  Juneau  Economic  Development                                                               
Council  or the  Live,  Work, Play  initiative  by the  Anchorage                                                               
Economic Development Corporation to retain a workforce.                                                                         
MR. KLOUDA  pointed out that  the VF Corporation,  parent company                                                               
of Smartwool,  The North  Face and  other brands,  recently moved                                                               
its headquarters to  Colorado largely because the  type of people                                                               
who work  at their  company are  the kind of  people who  like to                                                               
play outside and being in Colorado  is a great way to attract the                                                               
right  kind of  a workforce,  the right  kind of  people to  work                                                               
there, so there are lessons in that.                                                                                            
3:42:30 PM                                                                                                                    
He said another aspect is the  way that outdoor recreation can be                                                               
a  stimulus  for  entrepreneurship. Alaska  has  several  leading                                                               
companies  in  the  state  that either  make  or  design  outdoor                                                               
recreation gear that is known  nationally, recognized brands like                                                               
907 Clothing Company or Heather's  Choice, a startup company that                                                               
makes  freeze-dried  foods. The  state  has  real assets  in  the                                                               
entrepreneurship sector  as far  as the marketability  of Alaska.                                                               
Companies  can boast  Made in  Alaska  or Tested  in Alaska.  The                                                               
state of Idaho had a Tested  in Idaho effort to elevate the Idaho                                                               
brand of outdoor  recreation, something that would  feel a little                                                               
truer in Alaska.                                                                                                                
SENATOR KIEHL asked  him to expand on his  statement that outdoor                                                               
recreation  contributes 38,000  jobs to  the state's  economy. He                                                               
asked  if the  number of  jobs would  include a  zipline business                                                               
that would  see a lot of  tourists during the summer  or a summer                                                               
dogsledding excursion.                                                                                                          
MR.  KLOUDA  replied  that  tour  and  recreation  companies  are                                                               
included  and tend  to be  a large  source of  outdoor recreation                                                               
jobs. Accommodations and food service are other big categories.                                                                 
3:45:06 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL asked  him how many of the  outdoor recreation jobs                                                               
are seasonal versus year-round.                                                                                                 
MR.  KLOUDA admitted  that  seasonal employment  is  a factor  in                                                               
outdoor  recreation  jobs.  Most  seasonal jobs  are  during  the                                                               
summer,  but  employment  is broadening  out  as  winter  tourism                                                               
becomes more popular.  The average in outdoor  recreation jobs is                                                               
$50,000, roughly equivalent to the state average.                                                                               
SENATOR  BISHOP addressed  the  Center  for Economic  Development                                                               
report  that  Alaska   ranks  first  in  the   U.S.  for  outdoor                                                               
recreation  participation.  He opined  that  the  state gets  bad                                                               
press for  low rankings  in other  categories. He  suggested that                                                               
the Center and  legislators need to be bragging  more that Alaska                                                               
is number  one for outdoor  participation and the story  needs to                                                               
be out there.                                                                                                                   
MR.  KLOUDA  concurred with  Senator  Bishop  and said  the  data                                                               
supports  that  outdoor  participation  is  part  of  the  Alaska                                                               
SENATOR  COGHILL   asked  him   if  the   state's  transportation                                                               
infrastructure  needed to  support  outdoor  recreation has  been                                                               
MR.  KLOUDA  replied that  the  report's  focus is  on  improving                                                               
trails and access points, but  transportation is not a focus area                                                               
in the report.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR  COGHILL opined  that someone  may be  addressing how  to                                                               
improve   aviation   and   ground  transportation   for   outdoor                                                               
3:47:55 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  HART replied  that  Senator Coghill's  question  is hard  to                                                               
answer, but the state's aviation  industry is part of the outdoor                                                               
recreation sector.                                                                                                              
SENATOR COGHILL  asked if emergency services  to properly support                                                               
outdoor recreation has been taken into consideration.                                                                           
MS.  HART   noted  that  individuals  in   Valdez  with  computer                                                               
backgrounds  are   working  on   using  the   state's  geographic                                                               
information  services (GIS)  to help  people better  navigate the                                                               
back country.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  COGHILL explained  that  legislators continually  ponder                                                               
the state's rescue services due to their high cost.                                                                             
MS.  HART  concurred  and  noted  other  states  are  looking  at                                                               
mechanisms for emergency services that  are user financed to help                                                               
offset expenses, something that  the industry might bring forward                                                               
to the Legislature.                                                                                                             
3:50:16 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL  explained  that  he is  bringing  up  emergency                                                               
services because  legislators want  to support  increased outdoor                                                               
recreation,  but  people will  be  reluctant  to  do that  if  an                                                               
emergency response  might be too  late. He  said there must  be a                                                               
communication-transportation-safety link.                                                                                       
SENATOR  REINBOLD   noted  her   past  involvement  in   a  trail                                                               
management  plan   process  in  trying   to  get  a   green  belt                                                               
designation  for  the Iditarod  Trail.  She  asked if  Confluence                                                               
Alaska could assist with the project.                                                                                           
MS. HART answered yes. She  reiterated that Confluence Alaska has                                                               
forwarded a letter  to state government officials  to examine the                                                               
state's  trail regulations  and the  interpretation of  the trail                                                               
regulations to  find if there is  a way to move  forward and make                                                               
the process easier.                                                                                                             
3:52:54 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD  remarked  about  the challenge  she  faced  in                                                               
building  trails   in  areas   near  schools,   campgrounds,  and                                                               
neighborhoods where a  priority is given bears  rather than trail                                                               
MS. HART replied that Confluence  Alaska sympathizes with Senator                                                               
Reinbold's frustration with trail development.                                                                                  
3:54:25 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHELE  STEVENS,  President,  Petersville  Community  Non-Profit                                                               
Corporation, Petersville,  Alaska, explained that  the Snowmobile                                                               
Trails Advisory  Council was established  under Title 41  in 1997                                                               
through  the  Offices  of  the  Division  of  Parks  and  Outdoor                                                               
Recreation with the  mission to fairly represent  all Alaskans by                                                               
advising  the  Division  of  Parks   and  Outdoor  Recreation  on                                                               
snowmobile  issues   including  funding,   safety,  registration,                                                               
education, access,  trail grooming, marking and  development, and                                                               
She detailed that  AS 28.39.020 authorizes the  Division of Motor                                                               
Vehicles  (DMV)  to  collect   snowmobile  and  off-road  vehicle                                                               
registration fees. The statute does  not state what the fees will                                                               
go   towards,   however   since   inception   the   promise   and                                                               
understanding was that  DMV would transfer all  fees generated to                                                               
the  Department  of  Natural Resources,  Division  of  Parks  and                                                               
Outdoor Recreation, thus creating a SnowTRAC program.                                                                           
She explained that the SnowTRAC  is funded through a self-imposed                                                               
user tax,  or snowmobile registration  fee. The program  is self-                                                               
sustaining due  to reoccurring  registration fees  collected from                                                               
DMV. SnowTRAC is  a revenue neutral program that  users asked for                                                               
and fund  out of their  own registration dollars.  Twelve percent                                                               
of the funds cover the  cost of state employees administering the                                                               
program and  administrative costs.  She emphasized  that SnowTRAC                                                               
is not asking for a handout or any funds from the state budget.                                                                 
MS.   STEVENS  said   at  the   time   SnowTRAC  was   initiated,                                                               
snowmobilers were advocating  for recreation, transportation, and                                                               
subsistence  use.  There  were very  few  marked  and  maintained                                                               
snowmobile  trails. The  consequences were  high accident  rates,                                                               
lost  people on  snowmobiles that  results in  search and  rescue                                                               
costs  to the  state,  winter conflicts  among  trail users,  and                                                               
conflicts with private property owners.                                                                                         
She  noted that  the  SnowTRAC  program has  been  a success  for                                                               
snowmobile trail  development. More  land is being  purchased and                                                               
cabins are  being built  because of  the ease  and safety  of the                                                               
trail  system.  Snowmobilers  spend   hundreds  of  thousands  of                                                               
dollars  in  Alaska's winter  economy  which  otherwise would  be                                                               
slow.  Winter  tourism   is  on  the  rise   because  of  groomed                                                               
snowmobile trails. An  average snowmobiler spends $20,000-$50,000                                                               
in a  season. A recent  study by  Earth Economics found  that for                                                               
every  dollar spent  on public  open space  in the  Mat-Su Valley                                                               
Borough resulted in a $5.31 return on investment.                                                                               
She opined that  groomed snowmobile trails have  kept the state's                                                               
cost for search  and rescue to a minimum because  riders are less                                                               
likely to  get lost on  trails. Trails help first  responders get                                                               
to  the  backcountry in  an  expedient  manner thus  helping  the                                                               
victim sooner.                                                                                                                  
She  summarized   that  snowmobile  trails  are   multi-use  that                                                               
benefits dogsledding,  hikers, fat-tire  bikers, and  skiers. The                                                               
SnowTRAC program  benefits all Alaskans  and anyone who  wants to                                                               
enjoy all that Alaska has to  offer in the winter. SnowTRAC saves                                                               
lives,  promotes  safety,  stimulates the  economy,  and  creates                                                               
jobs.  Without the  SnowTRAC program,  Alaska will  be devastated                                                               
and closed for business in the winter.                                                                                          
4:00:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BIRCH  noted that  he is  a frequent user  of the  Big Lake                                                               
snowmobile trails.  He opined that,  "It's the best bang  for the                                                               
buck the state  of Alaska gets on anything as  far as the dollars                                                               
spent with the  volunteer service and support  of the communities                                                               
around the state." He said there are  a lot of people that do not                                                               
understand  the  Iron  Dog  Race  lays  the  trail  out  for  the                                                               
MS. STEVENS noted that the Big  Lake Trails grooms the trails for                                                               
the Iron Dog, Iditarod, and numerous dog races.                                                                                 
SENATOR REINBOLD said snowmobile  trails are important, including                                                               
public safety benefits for first responder access.                                                                              
SENATOR BISHOP asked how many  miles of groomed trails Alaska has                                                               
and  how  many  groomed  trails  do  other  states  and  Canadian                                                               
provinces have.                                                                                                                 
MS.  STEVENS answered  that  Alaska  had 200  miles  in 1997  and                                                               
currently there is 2,000 miles of groomed trails.                                                                               
SENATOR BISHOP asked what other states have for groomed trails.                                                                 
MS. STEVENS answered that she does not know.                                                                                    
SENATOR BISHOP suggested that she  know how many miles of groomed                                                               
trails  there are  in  other states  and  provinces for  upcoming                                                               
public commentary in Senate Finance.                                                                                            
4:04:40 PM                                                                                                                    
THOR STACEY, Director of  Government Affairs, Alaska Professional                                                               
Hunters Association,  Anchorage, Alaska, said guiding  hunters in                                                               
Alaska is  probably the  original outdoor  recreational industry.                                                               
Guided hunting  is a mature  industry in  Alaska and some  of the                                                               
issues that  the industry  has are  analogous to  challenges that                                                               
some of the newer opportunities are  going to have in the future.                                                               
He specified  that hunting guides are  professionally licensed in                                                               
Alaska, noting  that he  has been a  registered and  active guide                                                               
for the past 20 years.                                                                                                          
4:06:55 PM                                                                                                                    
He explained what a hunting guide does as follows:                                                                              
   • Activities include:                                                                                                        
        o Cooking,                                                                                                              
        o Cleaning,                                                                                                             
        o Packing animals,                                                                                                      
        o Judging animals,                                                                                                      
        o Preserving meat,                                                                                                      
        o Preserving trophies.                                                                                                  
   • Provides a high-quality-interpretive experience typically                                                                  
     over a 7 to 10-day period in the Alaska wilderness.                                                                        
   • Hunting guides must:                                                                                                       
        o Be competent in CPR,                                                                                                  
        o Handle animals,                                                                                                       
        o Know the weather,                                                                                                     
        o Know the laws and regulations of how to conduct a                                                                     
          legal hunt.                                                                                                           
   • Clients tend to be non-resident hunters who don't know much                                                                
     about Alaska.                                                                                                              
MR.  STACEY   explained  that   the  guided   hunting  industry's                                                               
foundation is  the guided-required  species. A hunting  guide had                                                               
to be  retained by  non-residents to hunt  any animal  during the                                                               
territorial  days.  After   statehood  the  Legislature  required                                                               
hunting guides to hunt Dall  Sheep, brown bears or grizzly bears,                                                               
and mountain goats.                                                                                                             
He said  the reason for the  requirements to hire a  guide is the                                                               
difficulty  of the  terrain, safety  aspects, search  and rescue,                                                               
and  some of  the inherent  issues with  going after  the largest                                                               
land carnivore, the  brown bears and grizzly  bears. The resource                                                               
represents a significant value nationally and internationally.                                                                  
4:09:01 PM                                                                                                                    
He addressed economic impacts of guided hunting in Alaska:                                                                      
   • Total economic output for the guide industry in 2015 was                                                                   
     $87.2 million.                                                                                                             
   • New dollars from outside spending accounted for $52                                                                        
He addressed "meat sharing" from guided hunting as follows:                                                                     
   • Not just about economic opportunity.                                                                                       
   • Very small amount would qualify as animals being turned                                                                    
     into dollars.                                                                                                              
 • Guides share high quality, wild protein across the state.                                                                    
   • In one year, hunting guides shared 230,000 pounds of game                                                                  
He addressed supporting wildlife conservation as follows:                                                                       
   • The guided hunting industry supports the management of the                                                                 
     state-owned resource.                                                                                                      
   • Alaskans own the wildlife.                                                                                                 
   • Non-residents pay elevated fees for hunting licenses and                                                                   
     for hunting tags.                                                                                                          
   • Non-resident hunters account for 13 percent of the hunter                                                                  
     effort but contribute 72 percent of the money to the                                                                       
     Division of Wildlife for wildlife management.                                                                              
MR. STACEY detailed the guided hunting industry's microeconomics                                                                
as follows:                                                                                                                     
   • 300 contracting guides in the state.                                                                                       
   • In 2012:                                                                                                                   
        o 152 guided hunters were Alaska residents,                                                                             
        o 3,055 guided hunters were non-residents.                                                                              
   • 46 percent of the revenue occurred on state lands, the                                                                     
     remainder on federal lands.                                                                                                
 • 89 percent of guided hunting businesses are Alaskan owned.                                                                   
4:12:45 PM                                                                                                                    
He pointed out the guided hunting industry's future risks and                                                                   
opportunities as follows:                                                                                                       
   • Risks:                                                                                                                     
        o Loss of state management authority:                                                                                   
         square4 Diminishment in the wildlife resource.                                                                         
             square4 Guided hunting is a resource dependent business.                                                           
             square4 Wildlife conservation for the resource's health                                                            
               comes first.                                                                                                     
        o Loss of critical non-resident allocation:                                                                             
             square4 Reliance of non-resident allocation at the Board                                                           
               of Game level.                                                                                                   
             square4 Thirteen percent of the state's hunters are non-                                                           
               resident, but only three percent are guided                                                                      
               hunting clients.                                                                                                 
             square4 Small changes in resident allocation at the Board                                                          
               of Game has a significant impact on the guided                                                                   
               hunting industry:                                                                                                
                  • Many of the guide businesses guide between                                                                  
                    five to seven clients a year.                                                                               
He addressed opportunities as follows:                                                                                          
   • Support for concessions or a lease structure on state                                                                      
        o Industry can survive drawing hunt schemes.                                                                            
        o Adds value to the resource.                                                                                           
        o Provides predictable opportunity on an annual basis.                                                                  
        o Derive benefit from a limited amount of opportunity.                                                                  
        o Incentivizes stewardship:                                                                                             
             square4 The public, who owns the resource, is not going                                                            
               to want to see the industry's use continue                                                                       
               without stewardship.                                                                                             
   • Improve relationship with native corporation lands as                                                                      
        o Alaska Native Claims Settlement (ANCSA) corporations                                                                  
          hold many millions of acres, most not open to guides.                                                                 
        o Work with ANCSA corporations to provide opportunities                                                                 
          for the rural economy.                                                                                                
        o Improving relationship involves trust.                                                                                
4:15:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BIRCH asked if hunting guides share bear meat.                                                                            
MR. STACEY answered that statewide  bear meat sharing is limited,                                                               
except  for  Prince  of  Wales Island  in  Southeast  Alaska.  He                                                               
pointed  out that  bear meat  can  have trichinosis  and must  be                                                               
handled correctly.  He noted that  bears are omnivores,  so their                                                               
diet varies which impacts the meat's taste.                                                                                     
SENATOR  REINBOLD   asked  if  Mr.  Stacey   has  suggestions  on                                                               
controlling  bear populations  in urban  areas for  public safety                                                               
4:18:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. STACEY  suggested that the  solution is to develop  a working                                                               
group that  puts together  a management  plan that  addresses the                                                               
community's value on wildlife pertaining  to killing bears within                                                               
city limits.  He added that  trash and habituation  measures must                                                               
be addressed as  well. He said there are  excellent examples from                                                               
communities around the  state that have been  challenged by bears                                                               
but have  successfully dealt  with them  to benefit  of children,                                                               
private property owners, and ultimately the animal themselves.                                                                  
4:20:12 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  HOPPER, Owner,  The Lodge  at Black  Rapids, Black  Rapids,                                                               
Alaska,  detailed  that he  organized  an  exploratory hike  from                                                               
Black  Rapids, which  is  located on  the  Richardson Highway  in                                                               
Isabel Pass, to  Denali Park. He noted that he  watched guys race                                                               
from Black  Rapids to Denali  Park in the Wilderness  Classic and                                                               
figured walking the route was possible.                                                                                         
He explained  that he organized a  team in August 2018  to see if                                                               
it  is possible  to find  a doable  backpacking route  from Black                                                               
Rapids to  Denali Park. He  opined that  the proposed route  is a                                                               
hidden resource that is awe  inspiring with nothing comparable in                                                               
the  U.S. and  rivals anything  in  the world.  He admitted  that                                                               
obstacles need to be addressed  for safety purposes, specifically                                                               
river crossings and white out conditions from low clouds.                                                                       
MR. HOPPER  disclosed that after  his trip he immediately  got in                                                               
touch with  the Interior Delegation  and shared  photographic and                                                               
video  footage  from  the  experience.  He  said  the  delegation                                                               
suggested that  he meet with  legislators and that is  the reason                                                               
why he  is meeting with  committee members  to see what  it would                                                               
take to develop the route.                                                                                                      
4:26:09 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BISHOP  asked  if  Mr.  Hopper packed  a  raft  for  his                                                               
MR. HOPPER answered no. He opined  that bringing a raft would not                                                               
have helped.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BISHOP  stated that  what Mr.  Hopper did  was remarkable                                                               
and  said he  was envious.  He asked  that Mr.  Hopper note  what                                                               
Harry Karstens and  Walter Harper did, [first  climbers to ascend                                                               
Mt. Denali in 1913.]                                                                                                            
MR.  HOPPER replied  that he  has the  utmost admiration  for the                                                               
noted climbers, pointing out that  they did not have light-weight                                                               
SENATOR REINBOLD asked  to confirm that Mr. Hopper's  hike was on                                                               
the eastern Alaska Range.                                                                                                       
MR. HOPPER answered yes.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  REINBOLD  suggested that  Mr.  Hopper  meet with  Alaska                                                               
MR.  HOPPER replied  that he  is meeting  with Alaska  Trails the                                                               
following week.                                                                                                                 
CHAIR BIRCH asked if the Cantwell Glacier is near Black Rapids.                                                                 
MR. HOPPER answered yes.                                                                                                        
4:30:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  HART announced  that  she  will speak  on  behalf of  Alaska                                                               
Trails. She  said Chris  Beck, Secretary  for Alaska  Trails, was                                                               
unable to attend.  She explained that Mr. Beck  is the ringleader                                                               
for an  effort by  eight trail  entities, including  the Iditarod                                                               
National  Historic Area,  to look  at  close to  home trails  and                                                               
long-distance-through  trails for  their value  to residents  and                                                               
MS. HART  explained that  Alaska Trails  addressed the  impact of                                                               
keeping visitors one  day longer and its value to  the state from                                                               
trails. A conservative estimate is  that one day longer would add                                                               
up to  $137 million of benefit  to the Alaska economy  if half of                                                               
the visitors stayed one more day.                                                                                               
She  said  Confluence Alaska  is  compiling  a report  that  will                                                               
provide case studies demonstrating  the transformative power when                                                               
communities  and  countries  consciously   choose  to  invest  in                                                               
outdoor recreation.  Outdoor-recreation-based tourism revitalized                                                               
the former  timber town  of Bend, Oregon  and the  former uranium                                                               
mining town of Moab, Utah. New  focus is being placed on the coal                                                               
mining  state of  West Virginia.  At a  recent innovation  summit                                                               
tourism representatives from Iceland talked  about how a focus on                                                               
attracting  visitors  to  their unique  natural  offerings  saved                                                               
their country from the economic collapse of 2008.                                                                               
She said  the report due  out in  spring 2019 will  provide local                                                               
and state planners  with information on why  investing in outdoor                                                               
recreation  is  a  wise  choice.  Every  dollar  spent  in  trail                                                               
development generates anywhere from $5 to $13.                                                                                  
SENATOR REINBOLD  noted that resistance occurs  with any project.                                                               
She said there is a clear  economic increase from trails that are                                                               
close to home.                                                                                                                  
MS. HART  concurred with  Senator Reinbold,  noting that  she has                                                               
data to support her statement.                                                                                                  
4:34:28 PM                                                                                                                    
RHONDA  COSTON, Planner,  City and  Borough of  Yakutat, Yakutat,                                                               
Alaska, disclosed  that she has  been the planner in  Yakutat for                                                               
five  years  and  her  field  of  study  was  outdoor  recreation                                                               
management. She provided her  background information to committee                                                               
She  said  Yakutat  is  known  as a  sport  fishing  and  surfing                                                               
destination, but  other exciting outdoor  adventure opportunities                                                               
that are less unknown exist.                                                                                                    
MS.  COSTON noted  that Yakutat  is the  gateway to  national and                                                               
state  parks and  forests. She  opined that  developed recreation                                                               
and improved  visitor services will  improve the quality  of life                                                               
for  residents  and  encourage visitation  to  the  Yakutat  area                                                               
resulting in improved small business development opportunities.                                                                 
She  explained that  Yakutat's  goal is  to  extend its  existing                                                               
infrastructure in the  shoulder seasons by promoting  the area as                                                               
an  outdoor  recreation  destination.  She  stated  that  outdoor                                                               
recreation is  an emerging economic  driver that open a  world of                                                               
future opportunities  for Yakutat.  She emphasized  that, Yakutat                                                               
is open for more business.                                                                                                      
4:37:02 PM                                                                                                                    
DAN KIRKWOOD,  Co-Chair, Visitor  Products Working  Group, Juneau                                                               
Economic Development  Council, Juneau, Alaska, disclosed  that he                                                               
is also a guide and the  general manager of Pack Creek Bear Tours                                                               
that, a  business committed to safe  and informative interactions                                                               
with brown bears.                                                                                                               
He said  the Juneau  Economic Development  Council has  a working                                                               
group that  has been convened  since 2011, originally as  part of                                                               
the  U.S. Forest  Service's desire  to move  forward and  support                                                               
diverse  industries.  The  working   group  is  looking  to  find                                                               
opportunities  to enhance  visitor industry  growth, address  the                                                               
needs of the  industry, and to address conflicts  and issues. The                                                               
working  group has  become an  important source  of advocacy  for                                                               
visitor industry in  Southeast Alaska to speak  to the industry's                                                               
issues  and work  with the  U.S. Forest  Service as  well as  the                                                               
He disclosed  that one of  the things the working  group realized                                                               
is the  incredible brand Alaska has.  He opined that Alaska  is a                                                               
world class  brand that  is unmatched.  He said  a person  can go                                                               
anywhere in  the world and say  Alaska and people will  know what                                                               
the  meaning is,  and  that is  why visitors  are  coming to  the                                                               
He  said the  good news  for  the visitor  industry in  Southeast                                                               
Alaska  is that  1.3  million  people are  expected  to visit  on                                                               
cruise ships.  According to  Southeast Conference,  employment in                                                               
the visitor industry sector from  2014-2017 is up 12 percent with                                                               
earnings up  23 percent. During  the great recession  the visitor                                                               
industry  brought  over  $1  billion   in  economic  activity  to                                                               
Southeast Alaska alone.                                                                                                         
MR. KIRKWOOD  said the  visitor industry  in Southeast  Alaska is                                                               
not  just cruise  ships. Air  travel visitation  during 2014-2017                                                               
was up  15 percent,  a sector that  includes hunters,  the people                                                               
going to  fishing lodges,  and the  independent traveler  that is                                                               
spending more in hotels, restaurants, and communities.                                                                          
He  opined  that the  focus  must  be  on  making sure  that  the                                                               
visiting  experience  remains  great  for  both  the  locals  and                                                               
visitors alike.                                                                                                                 
He  asserted  that the  state  has  an unparalleled  resource  of                                                               
scenery, fish,  and wildlife that is  very much the basis  of the                                                               
visitor  industry. Alaska  is unlike  anything in  the world  and                                                               
that is certainly the state's competitive advantage.                                                                            
He  summarized to  continue the  visitor industry's  growth in  a                                                               
good  way  and   to  focus  on  keeping   the  experience  great,                                                               
accomplishments  must   be  measured  to   know  what   is  being                                                               
4:40:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL commended Mr. Kirkwood for  some of the work he and                                                               
his team  did to  reduce lead  times for  permits in  the Tongass                                                               
National Forest for recreational businesses.                                                                                    
CHAIR  BIRCH  shared  a  travel  story  and  concurred  with  Mr.                                                               
Kirkwood on the Alaska brand.                                                                                                   
4:42:09 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
4:43:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BIRCH called the committee back to order.                                                                                 
MS. HART summarized  that the outdoor recreation  industry is not                                                               
asking for  money, but  asking for opportunity  to be,  more open                                                               
for business. She reiterated that  the governor has been asked to                                                               
create a blue ribbon task force to  look at ways to open the door                                                               
even further for the outdoor  recreation industry by reducing the                                                               
burden for business  owners to help others explore  Alaska and to                                                               
make  it easier  for community-based  trail groups  who have  the                                                               
funding  and manpower  to create  close to  home trails  that are                                                               
community assets and visitor attractions.                                                                                       
4:45:06 PM                                                                                                                    
She provided a video presentation on the importance of the                                                                      
outdoor recreation industry in Alaska.                                                                                          
4:48:42 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Birch adjourned the Senate Resources Standing Committee                                                                   
meeting at 4:48 p.m.                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
(1) Confluence AK Handout 3.6.19.pdf SRES 3/6/2019 3:30:00 PM
(2) University of Alaska CED Handout.pdf SRES 3/6/2019 3:30:00 PM
(3) Petersville CNPC Handout 2.28.19.pdf SRES 3/6/2019 3:30:00 PM
(4) APHA Handout 3.6.19.pdf SRES 3/6/2019 3:30:00 PM
(5) EARTH Handout 3.6.19.pdf SRES 3/6/2019 3:30:00 PM
(6) Alaska Trails Handout 3.6.19.pdf SRES 3/6/2019 3:30:00 PM
Economic Impacts of Guided Hunting in Alaska Feb 2014.pdf SRES 3/6/2019 3:30:00 PM