Public land — especially the land incorporated into parks, preserves and refuges — is big in Alaska. Just in our own backyard, Kachemak Bay State Park encompasses nearly 400,000 acres of land and waters on both sides of the bay. To put it in perspective, that is almost three times the size of Zion National Park and over eight times the size of Acadia National Park. Clearly, we have a lot of room for collaboration between the agencies tasked with managing this land, and the citizen groups that love and support it.
On behalf of the Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park, I recently attended the national conference of the Association of Partners for Public Lands, thanks to a generous contribution from the Willow Fund, a donor advised fund at the Homer Foundation. The theme of the conference was “The Art of Partnerships,” a fitting description to the uniqueness of each relationship that a non-profit has with its government agency partners.
We are lucky in Homer to have local agency personnel that are receptive and cooperative in working on shared goals and concerns with our public lands such as the State Park. These relationships can always be strengthened, however, and the skills of small grass-roots organizations can always be improved. I hope to use the information and contacts obtained at the conference in facilitating even greater collaboration between government agencies managing our public lands, and the nonprofit community that works to enhance, preserve and protect these areas.
Thank you, again, to the Willow Fund for helping to bring this information back to Homer.
Dorothy Melambianakis, board member
Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park