Opinion

Commentary: Alaska's parks lucky to have new national director

Mount McKinley in Denali National Park, Alaska, is the highest peak in the nation at a high of over 20,000 feet.
Mount McKinley in Denali National Park, Alaska, is the highest peak in the nation at a high of over 20,000 feet. Chris Carlson / Orange County Register / MCT

The National Park Service is one of Alaska's largest landlords, overseeing 54 million acres or about one-seventh of the state. So it's good news that the man in line to run the agency for President Obama is someone who knows Alaska well. Jon Jarvis spent much of the 1990s running Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. It's the country's largest national park, six times bigger than Yellowstone.

Jarvis would be the first park service director who ever lived in Bush Alaska.

"It would be great to have a park director in DC that understands Alaska, has probably experienced subsistence (hunting and fishing) and knows what's at stake when people talk about the promise of ANILCA" (the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act), says Jim Stratton, Alaska regional director of the National Parks Conservation Association.

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