Despite the abundance of wild places in Alaska, many Alaskan youth have never had the opportunity to explore Alaska’s vast expanse of public lands. The Chugach Children’s Forest – a partnership between Alaska Geographic and the Chugach National Forest – addresses this disparity by bringing underrepresented youth into their wild backyard, organizing outdoor adventures and introducing youth to outdoor recreation, stewardship, and career paths.
On Sunday, May 24th Chugach Children’s Forest and Wounded Warrior Project families spent the day aboard the Kenai Star for the Wilderness Explorers Day Cruise. Thanks to a generous donation from Major Marine Tours, the families had the opportunity to witness the magnificent scenery of Prince William Sound including the towering glaciers of Blackstone Bay.
Retired USFWS Biologist Roger Kaye was a guest speaker on the Wilderness Explorers Boat Cruise (pictured here with his granddaughter)
Alaska Geographic and the Chugach National Forest coordinated this event to bring new audiences out to their local public lands so they could experience first-hand the health benefits and restorative effects of spending time in Alaska’s wild outdoors. Speakers from the Chugach National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, The Wilderness Society, the Alaska Marine Conservation Council and other groups spoke about the importance of public lands and spending time outside. Alaska Geographic was on board to provide attendees with maps and guides to hikes and day trips in the Chugach and other local public lands.
Thanks to amazingly generous donations from Major Marine Tours, Alaska Geographic was able to offer the trip for free or at low cost to Chugach Children’s Forest youth and their families. We also provided free or low cost tickets to military families and families involved with the Wounded Warriors Project through Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER). This trip was also made possible by Premier Alaska Tours (who provided participants with motorcoach transportation from Anchorage to Whittier) and the National Park Trust, who supported this event as part of Kids to Parks Day.