In or Out: Alaska Turns To Maintenance Outsourcing
June 29, 2017 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
In Valdez, Alaska, some of the people responsible for getting state parks ready for the summer season do not actually work for the state, but instead for an adventure sports company called Levitation 49.
Last year, the nonprofit landed a federal grant to manage several recreation sites, including reopening a trail that had become overgrown and buying equipment — chain saws, weed whackers — needed for maintenance.
"We are sort of becoming a mini parks department," says Lee Hart, executive director of Levitation 49, the nonprofit operating sites at Worthington Glacier State Recreation Site, Blueberry Lake State Recreation Site, Shoup Bay Trail and the three public use cabins in Shoup Bay State Marine Park. "Our board felt it would be a travesty to have those assets closed."
Because of state budget cuts, in July of last year all state park sites in Valdez and Sitka were put into passive management, meaning the state doesn't actively perform maintenance. Now, some places in Delta Junction might be next.
"I would say in the budget cuts we do, we take the tack of, 'Hey, we're going to put this in passive management,' " says Matt Wedeking, acting director of Alaska State Parks. "That is when we basically lock the bathrooms, pull the dumpsters, we just drive around and make sure the place hasn't burned down once a month, but we don't manage it anymore. The public is free to use it."
This Quick Read was submitted by Dan Hounsell, editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions, firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more about the growing use of drones in facility maintenance, visit https://www.facilitiesnet.com/117022FMD.