Outdoor Briefs

Posted: Friday, October 26, 2001

Park ranger honored

Park ranger Bill Berkhahn was honored as the Alaska Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for outstanding service on the Kenai River.

Berkhahn has been a park ranger in the Kenai River Special Management Area for 14 years, providing leadership in expanding boating safety programs for area schools, the community at large and on the Kenai River.

According to to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, Berkhahn's promotion of boating safety has resulted in fewer accidents and injuries as well as a higher rate of children wearing the required personal flotation devices while on the river.

The National Association of State Boating Law Administration honors an outstanding boating law enforcement officer in each state annually. This is the first time an Alaska park ranger has been recognized for this award.

Instructor joins Outdoor Leadership Program

The Outdoor Leadership Program at Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka welcomes J.C. Norling to its staff.

In building the program, which is sponsored by the Samuel Skaggs Foundation of Juneau, Norling will be designing the curriculum as well as a means to track information, assessing risk management, scouting the course area, upgrading equipment and training student leaders, as well as networking with the community.

Norling has a degree in outdoor recreation administration and experience in team building, teaching and residence life. He has worked with Outward Bound and holds certifications in ski instruction, emergency care, wilderness response, water safety and other outdoor programs.

As the Outdoor Leadership Program grows, plans include enhancing relationships with organizations such as the Wilderness Education Society, the American Canoe Association and Wilderness Medical Associates, as well as providing programs for students and the Sitka community.

Forest Service cabin to be closed

The Manitoba Cabin, on the Kenai Peninsula near Summit Lake, will not be available for public use after Dec. 31. The Forest Service special-use permit issued to the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage for the operation of the cabin will expire Dec. 31. The permit will not be renewed.

Forest Service Facility Engineers inspected the Manitoba Cabin in July. The inspection report revealed numerous safety and structural defects. Short-term rehabilitation costs are estimated at more than $24,000. Long-term rehabilitation costs are higher than replacement costs. The existing cabin is located on land that will be transferred in the near future to the State of Alaska.

The Forest Service hopes to build a new cabin in a slightly different location. The new cabin location is on land that will remain National Forest Service land. The new cabin is expected to be available for public use by 2004.

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