Sens. Murkowski, Sullivan Legislation Honors Former Alaska Gov. Jay Hammond

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both R-Alaska, today introduced legislation to honor former Alaska Gov. Jay Hammond.

The Jay S. Hammond Wilderness Bill would name 2.6 million acres of wilderness in the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve after the former governor. The wilderness area represents 60 percent of the Lake Clark’s 4 million acres.

“Jay Hammond was one of Alaska’s truly great statesmen and a real individual. During his time as governor, Hammond balanced the need to develop Alaska’s natural energy resources with environmental concerns and looked for opportunities to work across party lines to produce real results for the people of Alaska,” Sen. Murkowski said. “It is fitting that the wilderness around Lake Clark, an area Hammond called home for more than 50 years and loved so dearly, should be named for him. This legislation is a fitting tribute to his life and legacy.

“Gov. Jay Hammond, a decorated World War II Marine Corps fighter pilot, was one of Alaska’s great public servants, and Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is one of Alaska’s great places,” Sen. Sullivan said. “I’m proud to help ensure that Gov. Hammond’s legacy lives on for future generations in the place that he loved and called home.”

Hammond, who died in 2005, was Alaska’s fourth governor, serving from 1974 to 1982. As governor he oversaw construction of the 800-mile trans-Alaska oil pipeline and helped establish the Alaska Permanent Fund savings account and its dividend program. He approved the purchase of the Alaska Railroad from the federal government and won approval for a constitutional amendment in 1981 limiting spending by the Alaska Legislature. Hammond was also a strong supporter of Alaska’s fisheries and worked hard to balance conservation and economic development of the state’s vast natural resources.

Hammond was born in New York City and served as a pilot in the famed Marine’s Black Sheep fighter squadron during World War II. In 1946, he flew an old plane to Alaska, where he worked as a trapper, guide and wildlife biologist before entering politics.

After Alaska joined the Union in 1959, Hammond won a seat in the Alaska State House of Representatives, where he served three terms before switching to the state Senate, where he served from 1967 to 1973. He also served as the mayor of the Bristol Bay Borough from 1972 to 1974.

The full text of The Jay S. Hammond Wilderness Act is available on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources website.