Confluence AK

Summit Schedule & Agenda


AGENDA 2021 Coming this Summer

The following is the agenda from 2020

This is not a lecture-style conference; sessions are structured for maximum audience participation. 

Click to read How to Confluence.

TUESDAY, Oct. 27 

9 - 11 AM

Welcome/State of the Industry

Honorable Senator Lisa Murkowski 

Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins

Land Manager’s Forum

The annual land manager's forum is your chance to hear directly from our state and federal agency directors about news, priorities and other headline news that effects outdoor recreation infrastructure, permitting, policies, regs and more. This year, we'll shine a spotlight on impacts and lessons learned from COVID-19 and what the Great American Outdoors Act means to Alaska. 

Don Striker, National Park Service, Acting Regional Director;

Brian Glaspell, Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System - AK

James King, US Forest Service, Regional Director of Recreation, Land & Minerals;

Chad Padgett, Bureau of Land Management, State Director;

Ricky Gease, Alaska State Parks Director.


1:30 - 3 PM

Tourism Roundtable

The main draw for tourists is Alaska's amazing landscapes and abundant fish and wildlife. Tourism, Alaska's second largest employer and export industry relies on outdoor recreation infrastructure to delight guests and provides jobs that fuel companies from multinational cruise lines to independent guides and outfitters. Join us in re-imagining the intersection of outdoors from various tourism perspectives.

Sarah Leonard, President and CEO, Alaska Travel Industry Association

Camille Ferguson, Sitka Tribe of Alaska/cultural tourism champion

Dan Blanchard, Small-Boat Operators Coalition/Uncruise Adventures

Mary Goddard, Regenerative Tourism Catalyst, Southeast Sustainable Partnership/Allen Marine 

Moderator: Dan Kirkwood, Co-Chair Juneau Economic Development Council, Visitor Products Cluster Working Group



9 - 10:30 AM

Outdoor Rx, presented by Recover Alaska

Beyond the fun and exhilaration, Alaska's great outdoors can be the low-cost/highly effective alternative to a lifetime of prescriptions. From active-duty serviceman to alcoholic and addict, to scared first-time climber, to The North Face Ambassador, Stacy Bare is more than just a veteran. A Bronze Star Iraqi War veteran, Stacy struggled with depression, addiction and even contemplated suicide when he returned home from war. Then a friend introduced him to rock climbing. Soon after, Bare created Veterans’ Expeditions and Adventure Not War, taking vets outside and even back to the places they experienced during war from the perspective of someone enjoying the outdoors. Damen Bell-Holter of Hydaburg is a former pro basketball player and avid cyclist who also identifies as Black and Indigenous. PTSD and suicide are tragedies that Damen recognizes all too well: Indigenous men have over two times the prevalence of lifetime PTSD compared to non-Hispanic white men. Suicide was the 3rd leading cause of death for Black males aged 15 to 24 as recently as 2014. Damen has dedicated his life to speaking up against racism and mentoring youth in his community. He'll join us fresh from his border-to-border bike trek drawing attention to the need to heal some of Alaska's most deeply-rooted traumas.

Stacy Bare, Adventures Not War

Damen Bell-Holter, Break the BiCycle

Facilitator: Jessica Limbird, Recover Alaska


1:30 - 3 PM

Pathways to a More Bike- & Walk-Friendly Alaska

Can you re-imagine an Alaska with safer roads and community trail connections to everyday destinations that improve health outcomes while advancing regional economic development? Are there simple policies that can improving the quality of life in low-income communities and individuals challenged by high rates of obesity and diabetes. Where will the money come from? This session is geared toward those ready to take meaningful steps to bringing Alaska's Statewide Active Transportation Plan to life.

Caron Whitaker, Vice President, Government Relations, League of American Cyclists

Julius Adolfsson, Statewide Bike & Pedestrian Coordination and Rural Transit Planner

Dawn Groth, RD, BSN, MSOEE, Alaska Department of Health & Social Services

Moderator: Doug Osborne, Health Educator, Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, President of the Sitka Cycling Club, Director of Walk/Bike Alaska Conference



9 a.m. State of the Industry

Lee Hart, Executive Director, Alaska Outdoor Alliance


9:15 National Outdoor Recreation Industry Legislative Priorities 

Marc Berejka, Director of Community & Government Affairs, REI Co-Op

State Policy Ideation Session 


9:30 Turnagain Pass Plowing Initiative 

Alaskans have headed outside in record numbers since the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the health crisis lingers into winter, more than 1000 winter recreation enthusiasts and businesses are asking whether CARES Act funds could be used to restore plowing on Turnagain Pass after funding cuts last spring created even more treacherous conditions for all who travel the Seward Highway to live, work and play. 

Nick D'Alessio, Alaska Guide Collective/Remarkable Adventures

9:45 SnowTRAC

Statewide snow machine registration fees fund the SnowTRAC grant program that provides funds for grooming trails, safety and education. Registration has been declining and rates haven't increased since the program began in 1997 so there's less money to support an ever-expanding inventory of groomed trails. What can be done to get this program back on track to ensure safe and equitable access to off-road winter routes for resident riders, visitors and remote cabin dwellers? Join us to better understand the issues and explore solutions. 

Michele Stevens, Petersville Non-Profit Community Corporation


10:00 Infrastructure 

What if Alaska had what is ever more popular worldwide – a great Long Trail?  Alaska Trails and partners are working to create this trail, crossing 500 miles of spectacular Alaska terrain between Fairbanks and Seward.  Governor Tony Knowles, a driving force behind the long trail vision, will describe this project and the benefits it will bring to Alaska residents, communities, and businesses.  Max Romey will introduce his short, spectacular Long Trail video. Chris Beck will lead the deep dive investment discussion, outlining attainable strategies to “unclog the federal funding pipelines” for this and other high-value outdoor recreation projects.  

Governor Tony Knowles, avid hiker and long trail advocate

Max Romey, multi-media storyteller, Max Romey Productions  

Chris Beck, Alaska Trails/Alaska Trails Initiative Coordinator

10:15 Equity 

New Mexico is the first state in the country to create an Outdoor Equity Fund

to foster stewardship for the state’s natural spaces and its cultural heritage particularly among low-income youth who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience the outdoors. The state has distributed what it calls equity grants to local governments, tribes and nonprofit organizations to get more young people outside.

New Mexico State Rep. Angelica Rubio, sponsor of Outdoor Equity Fund legislation

Alaska Rep. Geran Tarr, Co-Chair, House Natural Resources Committee 

10:25 Policy Deep Dive Discussions

11:50 Summaries, conclusions & next steps.

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