Welcome to the State of Alaska Travel News Bulletin. The tourism office sends this out periodically to keep media up-to-date on Alaska tourism and travel news. Media are invited to call (800) 327-9372 or visit www.TravelAlaska.com/media for more information.
Alaska Travel News Bulletin
August 3, 2011

In this August Travel News Bulletin you will find:

Opening the gates to explore South Denali
2. Rail and ice combine for a new Spencer Glacier tour
3. Kotzebue’s mainstay hotel gets new digs
4. Perseverance Theatre is coming to Anchorage

1. Opening the gates to explore South Denali

The Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation is in the early stages of developing a visitor center at the southern end of Denali State Park, a project that has been in discussion since 1970. Expected to open in 2016, the South Denali Visitor Center and associated facilities, including a transportation center and campground, will be accessable via the George Parks Highway near Milepost 135 at the southern entrance of Denali National Park and Preserve. The year-round gathering place will allow visitors to see and experience wildlife, panoramic views of Mount McKinley and the Alaska Range, and learn about cultural history and resource management of the area through workshops, interactive displays and ranger talks. To learn more and track the status of this project, visit www.southdenali.alaska.gov.
Media contact:
Contact: David Griffin, Alaska State Parks
Phone: 907-269-8696
Twitter: @AlaskaStParks
Email: david.griffin@alaska.gov
URL: http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/

2. Rail and ice combine for a new Spencer Glacier tour

Ascending Path and the Alaska Railroad are teaming up to offer guided glacier hiking on Spencer Glacier. Located in the Chugach National Forest, Spencer Glacier is just south of Portage Valley and Turnagain Arm in Southcentral Alaska. Small groups of five or less ride the train from Anchorage, Girdwood or Portage to the Spencer Whistle Stop, then hike the three-mile route to the glacier before donning helmets and crampons and hitting the ice. The full-day adventure includes rail ticket, equipment and snacks and offers many opportunities for photography and to learn about the local wildlife, history and glaciology. For additional thrills, visitors can add ice climbing or a helicopter drop off at the glacier to their trip. The group returns to Anchorage or Girdwood via the Coastal Classic Train. Trips run daily until September 10, 2011. For more information, visit www.theascendingpath.com.

Media contacts:
Contact: Matt Szundy, Ascending Path
Phone: 907-748-9798
Email: matt@theascendingpath.com
URL: www.theascendingpath.com
Contact: Susie Kiger, Alaska Railroad Corp.
Phone: (907) 265-2487
Twitter: @akrr
E-mail: kigers@akrr.com
URL: www.alaskarailroad.com

3. Kotzebue’s mainstay hotel gets new digs
Next month, the Northwest Arctic city of Kotzebue will welcome a brand new hotel owned and operated by NANA, the regional Alaska Native Corporation for the area. The new Nullagvik Hotel replaces the original hotel of the same name that was a mainstay in Kotzebue since 1975. Located directly adjacent to the previous property, the new Nullagvik Hotel includes 78 guest rooms, a full-service restaurant, fitness center, a meeting room that can accommodate up to 100 people and an observation deck overlooking Kotzebue Sound. Kotzebue is located 26 miles north of the Arctic Circle, home to popular fishing rivers and the Kobuk 440 sled dog race. Around 80 percent of Kotzebue residents are of Inupiat descent, so much of the cultural history of Kotzebue can be discovered strolling through town, where fishing boats crowd the beach and salmon dries on racks outside homes. In 2010, the National Park Service opened the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center in Kotzebue, serving as an information center for the area’s indigenous culture, plants and animals and the four National Park Service-managed areas in Northwest Alaska. For more information, visit www.nullagvikhotel.com/index.php.
Media contact:
Contact: Shelley Byrd, NMS Lodging Division
Phone: 907-273-3716
Email: shelley.byrd@nmsusa.com
URL: http://nmsusa.com/

4. Perseverance Theatre is coming to Anchorage
After 31 years of producing shows for its home audience in Juneau, Perseverance Theatre is bringing its first season of plays to Anchorage. Founded in 1979, Perseverance Theatre serves 15,000 artists and audiences annually with classical, contemporary and world-premier productions (many written by Alaskans) as well as education and training programs for youth and adults. The line-up for the first season in Anchorage includes a new Alaska play, “The Blue Bear,” adapted from the award-winning book that follows the friendship of Alaska wilderness guide Lynn Schooler and Japanese photographer Michio Hoshino. The production, which can be seen at the Anchorage Center for the Performing Arts, includes a design showcasing Hoshino’s wilderness photography. “The Blue Bear” runs Feb 10-18, 2012. Tickets are available through Centertix.com, at anchorageconcerts.org or by calling Perseverance Theatre at 1-855-462-TIXS. For more information, visit www.perseverancetheatre.org.

Media contacts:
Contact: Art Rotch, Perseverance Theatre
Phone: 907-364-2421 X229
Twitter: @PersevTheatreAK
Email: art@perseverancetheatre.org
URL: www.perseverancetheatre.org
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Social Media Spotlight

Happy birthday to Tazo! The orphaned Alaska sea otter had a birthday party at the New York Acquarium where he devoured colorful ice cupcakes made from pureed fish and a "cake" sculpted to look like a sand castle. Tazo was rehabilitated at the Alaska SeaLife Center last year before moving to his permanent home in New York. See the YouTube video of his birthday party HERE
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