Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer has unveiled a new Links Program in which Alaska is partnering with other northern region groups to encourage sustainable tourism. Developed by a group of arctic tourism businesses in a process facilitated by the World Wildlife Fund Arctic Programme, the guidelines encourage local hire and purchasing of goods and services, respect for local cultures and minimal environmental impact. Businesses that agree to adhere to the voluntary standards of conduct will be entitled to display the program logo along with references to the program on their advertising materials. The Alaska Wilderness Recreation and Tourism Association will maintain a central Web site featuring businesses subscribing to the standards.
Anchorage Hilltop Ski Area’s new day lodge was dedicated Feb. 24. Funding for the new $1.3 million facility came from a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant to the 2001 Special Olympics World Winter Games. Hilltop Ski Area served as the host facility and media center for the snowboarding competition and ski jump exhibition. Hickel Construction was the prime contractor for the new day lodge. Following the Games, the new multi-purpose facility will serve as a headquarters for the ski school, house retail space and storage of rental equipment, and provide a base location for Hilltop’s summer programs and camps.
The National Asphalt Pavement Association has awarded Wilder Construction Co. of Anchorage a 2000 Quality in Construction Award for excellence in construction of an asphalt pavement. The company was presented the award in a special ceremony during the association’s 46th annual convention in Orlando, Fla. Wilder Construction won the award for its work on the Eielson Air Force Base runway reconstruction project. The runway serves as an alternative runway for space shuttles and is critical for U.S. Air Forces Pacific defense of the United States.
The Houston Contracting Co. facility in Deadhorse has earned an Arctic Green Star Award for demonstrating environmental stewardship through a number of standardized initiatives. The Alaska Support Industry Alliance presented the award at its Feb. 23 breakfast forum held at the Petroleum Club. Houston Contracting accomplished a number of steps to earn the award including the implementation of at least six measurable programs and procedures to reduce waste, energy use and pollution.
The BP-operated Endicott field on the North Slope has achieved Star status for health and safety excellence under the U.S. Occupational, Health and Safety Administration Voluntary Protection Program. Endicott is one of only three oil production facilities in the nation and the second BP-operated facility in Alaska to receive the federal agency’s highest rating. The BP-operated Central Power Station at Prudhoe Bay was elevated to Star status in November.
Alyeska Resort and the Alyeska Prince Hotel recently received three industry awards for service. AAA Alaska has awarded the Alyeska Prince Hotel and the resort’s Seven Glaciers restaurant AAA Four Diamond awards for the second consecutive year. This is the fourth year for the hotel’s Four Diamond rating and the third year for Seven Glaciers. The hotel also was designated a Connoisseur’s Choice award winner for 2001 by "Resorts & Great Hotels, The Connoisseur’s Guide to the Best Hotels."
Epicenter Press has published "Iditarod Fact Book - A Complete Guide to the Last Great Race." Little-known facts about the race and its mushers, the dogs and equipment, and villages along the Iditarod Trail are accompanied by official photos and sketches. Edited by Sue Mattson, the softbound book contains 160 pages, includes three maps and costs $12.95. For information, call 800-950-6663.
The National Science Foundation is awarding $9 million to the University of Alaska for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. The NSF funds support a three-year plan to make lasting improvements in UA science and engineering research infrastructure, and to help UA scientists and engineers compete for federal research dollars in the future. The NSF annual contribution of $3 million each year will be matched by $1.5 million annually in state and other nonfederal dollars, for a total of $13.5 million over the three-year period.