Alaska’s state parks have a new director.
Ethan Tyler will take over the role of director at the Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation effective July 17. As director, he will oversee operations of the state’s various park lands and facilities, including major parks on the Kenai Peninsula such as Kachemak Bay State Park and the Kenai River Special Management Area.
Tyler is currently the Economic Development Manager at the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, where he oversees a variety of programs, including the Made in Alaska program and the development of a five-year economic strategy for the state. He began working in Alaska in 2000 at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, joining Cook Inlet Region Incorporated’s Alaska Tourism Corp. in 2004 and working at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and the Alaska Community Center, according to a press release issued Thursday.
He said in the release that he looks forward to working with the parks department.
The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation has been without a director since January, when Gov. Bill Walker fired former director Ben Ellis. One of the initiatives Ellis began as director was to provide additional independent revenue for Alaska State Parks to transition away from depending on the state general fund, including selling merchandise to support park operations.
DNR Commissioner Andy Mack said in the release that Tyler’s economic expertise will lend to that effort.
“A key objective for the State of Alaska is sustaining and protecting our park system by making it less reliant on general funds for its operaitons,” Mack said. “Ethan’s skills and experience make him a natural fit to carry on this important work.”
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