Being accepted as the 2017 Lake Clark NP resident artist is the best possible job I can imagine. I know how lucky I am, which makes me very grateful and highly motivated to give back. One way to give thanks is to share the experience with anyone who’d like to come along, so grab your extra toughs (tall rubber boots) and lets start the adventure!
The first job is logistics.“Remote” is a relative term. Modern travel makes it a rather endangered concept which is one of the big reasons giant parks like Lake Clark (4+ million acres) and Gates of the Arctic (8 million acres) were set aside in the first place. There are no roads or simple land based ways to get there, leaving air or water your choices for access, both of which are highly dependent on cooperative weather, never a given. Right off the bat, this limits visitation in Lake Clark to some 20,000 folks a year. Pretty remote compared to the over 4 million visitors that go to the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone in a year. Once you make it to the park travel will continue by foot, air or water with the many rivers and lakes serving as highways and landing strips. Again, all travel depends on the weather gods so contingency planning is imperative.
Once I get from Seattle to Anchorage, the NPS will take over organizing a bush plane to hop the 120 air miles from Anchorage to Port Alsworth and Park Headquarters on the shores of Lake Clark. I will have the distinct luxury of experienced park rangers looking after me from here out. That doesn’t leave me off the hook for being responsible for myself, but it clearly makes this a uniquely spectacular opportunity.
Part of my job includes learning as much as I can before I get to the park so that’s what’s what I'm up to now. The official NPS website provides tons of information, it’s a great place to start. I’ll be posting regularly about what I learn, so sign up for delivery to your mailbox if you’d like to follow along.