Support your park: Alaska State Parks gear goes on sale Friday
The next sweatshirt you buy could help support Alaska State Parks.
Earlier this year, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 101, which allows the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to collect money from fees or merchandise. That means for the first time the state parks system can profit off park-themed merchandise.
Staff printed off more than 2,500 t-shirts and sweatshirts in six different logos and a variety of colors that go on sale Friday, Sept. 30.
Ben Ellis, director for the DNR Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, said Alaska joins a small handful of other states in the nation that are able to raise money through clothing profits. He said some states bring in as much as $4 million.
The Alaska State Parks system is the largest in the country with 3.3 million acres. Right now it receives its $3 million budget from the Legislature. Ellis said with uncertain financial times, that money could be cut at any time. That’s why it’s important to find other revenue sources to support the parks.
“Whether it’s through park merchandise, through our fees, through permitting process, we need to offset the amount of general fund we receive through the Legislature with the user pay, user play philosophy,” Ellis said.
Most of the designs highlight the Chugach State Park, but Ellis said there are plans to expand the clothing line to include other state parks around Alaska. All money generated goes back into the general operating fund.
Merchandise goes on sale at the Make it Alaskan Festival at the Sullivan Arena, which kicks off on Friday. Staff are also working to set up an online store too.
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