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PUBLISHED: 4:43 PM on Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Marine Park System expands to include 14 islands
JUNEAU - Gov. Sarah Palin signed a bill on June 12 from the Juneau legislative delegation to expand the Marine Park System to include 14 islands near Juneau.

The backdrop included a few of those islands as Palin signed the bill at a waterside classroom at the University of Alaska Southeast.


  Gov. Sarah Palin, left, signs a bill expanding the Marine Park Systems to include 14 islands near Juneau.
"Alaska's 32 marine parks are unique in that they specifically prohibit the Department of Natural Resources from limiting hunting, fishing & trapping. The land was selected by the state with the intent for recreational use, which this bill will ensure," said Palin.

SB 57 sponsor, Juneau Senator Kim Elton, said the bill expands the Marine Park System ten-fold, from 850 to 8500 acres.

"We stand on the shoulders of those who have been working on this for a long, long time," said Elton.

The effort began 30 years ago, with the Juneau State Parks Advisory Board. Several long time members were present at the bill signing, including Gary Miller, who worked as a catalyst through the Juneau delegation to get the bill passed.

"It was just a matter of coordination," said Miller. "Republicans and Democrats worked together to make it happen."

Southeast Parks Supervisor Mike Eberhardt said the next step is to involve the public in a plan for campsites, public use cabins and possibly lodges on the islands.

The Anderson building where the bill signing took place currently houses the UAS Science Department and the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. It is the recipient of a new $10.7 million legislative appropriation for renovation and expansion, including a pedestrian bridge from the main campus across Glacier Highway.

Design and construction is slated through 2010. UAF SFOS will move to a Lena Point facility.

UAS Chancellor John Pugh took the opportunity to thank the governor and legislature for the appropriation. "This is a real move forward from both a sciences and safety standard," he said.

Palin thanked the Juneau delegation for their promotion and support of the UAS campus.


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