KDLG: NPS dedicates Lake Clark wilderness area to Gov. Jay S. Hammond

Three generations of the Hammond family were present at Thursday’s ceremony dedicating the Jay S. Hammond Wilderness Area. The NPS presented former First Lady of Alaska Bella Hammond with a map bearing the area's new title. Governor Hammond passed away in 2005.

"It is rare to name a wilderness area after any one individual," said park superintendent Susanne Fleek-Green. "It really exemplifies the stature of Governor Hammond and what he’s meant to Alaska’s public servants and the conservation ethics and the tie between the lands and the people."

The dedication has been in the works for over a decade; first recommended by Senator Ted Stevens, Senator Lisa Murkowski sponsored a bill that officially named the area after Hammond this spring. The wilderness area streatches from Lake Clark to the western side of Cook Inlet and includes the headwaters of Bristol Bay's salmon run.

"This area is particularly special because Governor Hammond and Bella Hammond could see it from the windows of their homestead on the shores of Lake Clark," Fleek-Green said. "They clearly understood the importance of subsistence foods and fish to rural communities, and they understood that through public lands and the protection of public lands we could continue to sustain those resources for generations to come."

According to Fleek-Green, this dedication promotes the wilderness area's continued protection.

By:  Isabelle Ross