Item: Chugach state park avalanche information center feasibility study
Title: Chugach state park avalanche information center feasibility study
Proceedings: 2010 International Snow Science Workshop
Authors: Jon Gellings * Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, Alaska; United States Forest Service, Girdwood, Alaska Eeva Latosuo Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, Alaska Blaine Smith Alaska Avalanche School, Anchorage, Alaska; Alaska State Parks, Anchora
Abstract: This feasibility study aimed at determining what it would take to provide avalanche information advisories with the state agency of Alaska State Parks. This study included determining visitor use, public support, and what infrastructure would be needed to start and continue operations. Out of 272 people who took a survey through this study, an overwhelming majority thought that there is a need for an avalanche information advisory program, and would use the service if it was provided. The four areas of highest use according to the survey include the Rabbit Creek Valley and Powerline Pass area (Flattop Peak), South Fork Eagle River area (S.F.E.R.), and Arctic Valley area (Rendezvous Peak area). The majority (72%) of people would be willing to pay between $1-50 per year. Respondents felt that the program should be funded by both the state and a non-profit group. If a qualified Specialist currently working for the park was to start avalanche forecasting for the area, 1 ridge top weather station would be needed for wind measurements, and an additional budget of $2000 would be needed to fund it for the first year to pay for high-speed internet and a new computer. The program would start with 1 full-time employee writing advisories 2-3 days a week. This program is currently feasible as a Type 3 Avalanche Center with room to expand in the future, and would be a great resource for public safety information.
Keywords: avalanche, information center, surveys, public safety