Republican News

Republican News

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today reported out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee legislation honoring former Alaska Gov. Jay Hammond. The bill now goes to the Senate floor for consideration by the full Senate.

The Jay S. Hammond Wilderness Act, S. 873, introduced by Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, would name the 2.6 million acres of federally designated wilderness in the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve the “Jay S. Hammond Wilderness” in honor of Alaska’s fourth governor.

“I’m pleased we were able to move this bill through the committee,” Murkowski said. “It may seem like a small thing to many people, but it’s a fitting honor for a legendary Alaskan who did much to shape the state we love and call home. During his time as governor, Hammond worked to balance responsible development of our natural resources with conservation of special places for future generations. Alaska would not be the state it is today without his dedication to public service.”

Hammond, Alaska’s fourth governor, served from 1974 to 1982. He oversaw construction of the 800-mile trans-Alaska oil pipeline, helped establish the Alaska Permanent Fund savings account and its dividend program, won approval for a constitutional amendment in 1981 limiting spending by the Alaska Legislature, and created the 1.6-million acre Wood-Tikchik State Park, the largest state park in the country.

The wilderness area targeted in the bill represents 60 percent of Lake Clark’s 4 million acres.

Lake Clark was a special place for Hammond, who built a cabin on the north side of the lake in the 1970s and resided there until his death in 2005. Hammond’s widow, Bella, continues to reside at the family’s lakeside homestead.

Hammond was born in upstate New York 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.