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Alaska DF&G Unveils the Alaska Coastal Wildlife Viewing Trail

June 9, 2006

Juneau, Alaska - The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) today unveiled the Alaska Coastal Wildlife Viewing Trail, enhancing and highlighting wildlife viewing opportunities along Southeast Alaska’s Marine Highway routes and coastal communities.

Highway-based wildlife viewing and birding trails combine Americans’ love of wildlife viewing and travel, while easing the complications of trip planning. This is Alaska’s first viewing trail, and America’s first marine-based trail; thirty-two other states have trail projects completed or underway.

“We are excited to be launching the Alaska Coastal Wildlife Viewing Trail today. We know that this project will not only increase the enjoyment and viewing opportunities for those traveling the Inside Passage, it provides promising economic opportunities for local communities,” said McKie Campbell, ADF&G Commissioner. “Presenting opportunities and information about wildlife viewing is an important part of the department’s mission to provide for a wide range of public uses and benefits.”

Wildlife viewing trails encourage travelers to stay in communities longer and return at different times of the year to enjoy seasonal wildlife spectacles. Wildlife viewing has proven to be a powerful revenue booster for local economies. Nationally, wildlife viewers spend $38 billion annually, according to a 2001 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey. That same survey showed wildlife viewing was responsible for $790 million in spending in Alaska and created 13,000 jobs.

The viewing trail project has been in the works for two years. Karla Hart, ADF&G Watchable Wildlife Program Coordinator, and Jamie Karnik, ADF&G Americorps VISTA volunteer, enlisted a league of partners in Southeast Alaska including local businesses, non-profits, government agencies and individuals, to develop a series of nine brochures highlighting community-based wildlife viewing opportunities along the Inside Passage. These are companions to the just released Alaska’s Inside Passage Wildlife Viewing Guide, produced by ADF&G staff in partnership with the US Forest Service, which highlights wildlife viewing opportunities along marine routes.

More information on the Alaska Coastal Wildlife Viewing Trail is available online at www.wildlifeviewing.alaska.gov at local visitor information centers, and on the Alaska Marine Highway ferries. The Alaska’s Inside Passage Wildlife Viewing Guide is sold at local bookstores.

Work is underway to extend the Alaska Coastal Wildlife Viewing Trail along Prince William Sound and Southwest Alaska ferry routes and on the highway-based Kenai Peninsula Wildlife Viewing Trail.
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