The Walt Parker Sustainable Community
it was no surprise that Walt Parker was the recipient of the
First Annual Walt Parker Award on
June 26, 2011. Speakers Michael Carey, Steve Lindbeck, Mead
Treadwell and Sheila Selkregg shared stories of Walt and insights
into building great communities.
This is the first
of what will be an annual award recognizing exceptional contributions
to Anchorage's development as a sustainable community. Anchorage
is a tremendous city with the potential to be the most liveable
city in America. We owe much of that to the effort of individuals
who have the foresight, talent and, mostly, persistance to achieve
the change we need.
Walt Parker has spent
over half a century making Alaska a better place to live, and
decades in Anchorage as an elected official, transportation
expert, university professor, environmental advocate, urban
planner, dog musher, founder of parks and always a spokesman
for open and fair public process.
Alaska Center for the Environment
Alaska Conservation Alliance
Anchorage Citizens Coalition
Commuters of Anchorage
Friends of Bicentennial
Prince William Sound Regional
Citizens' Advisory Council
Trustees for Alaska
Alaska Moving Image Preservation
Anchorage Trails and Greenways Coalition
Who is Walt Parker?
He's a very busy
Walter B. Parker has been involved in planning in Alaska and
the Arctic since 1946, after service in the U.S. Navy during
World War II. He was born in Spokane, Washington on August 11,
1926, married Patricia Ertman in 1946 and enjoyed 55 years of
marriage to her before her death in 2001.
He has a B.A. in history and in anthropology from the University
of Alaska and an Honorary Doctorate in Science from that institution.
He also has a Certificate in Administrative Management from
Syracuse Universityís Maxwell School and has taken graduate
courses at the Sino-Soviet Institute at George Washington University.
He has worked intensively on all the major federal legislation
involving Alaska since statehood; namely, the Alaska Native
Claims Settlement Act of 1971, the Trans Alaska Pipeline Act
of 1973, the National Fisheries Act of 1976 (Magnusson Act),
the Alaska National Interest Lands and Conservation Act of 1980,
and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Mr. Parker is primarily known
for his background in transportation, fisheries, telecommunications,
land use planning and oil spill response.
He served in the Civil Aeronautics Administration and the Federal
Aviation Administration (1946-70), his principal positions being
Evaluation Officer for the Alaska Region (1964-66), Planning
Officer Alaska Region (1968-70) and Systems Requirements Officer
in Washington FAA Headquarters (1967-68). His major jobs were
working on polar and North Pacific air routes, air support to
Prudhoe Bay during the first years of oil development and working
on the National Air System. He was Transportation Planning Officer
and Environmental Coordinator for the Federal Field Committee
for Development Planning in Alaska (1970-71), where his principal
tasks were working on the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act,
aviation systems in Alaska, pipelines, marine ecosystems and
the sale of the Alaska Communications System to RCA.
He retired from the federal government in 1971 and joined
the University of Alaska as a Research Associate and Adjunct
Professor working on Law of the Sea, international fisheries
and transportation. He taught courses in political science,
urban planning and regional planning until 1980. During this
period he served on the Alaska Board of Fish and Game (1971-74).
Mr. Parker and his wife also founded Parker Associates, Inc.
in 1971, working on transportation and telecommunications issues
primarily. The corporation served as consultant to NASA on the
Applied Technology Satellite projects in Alaska, the South Pacific
and India, plus many projects in aviation.
He was also elected to the Greater Anchorage Borough Assembly
(1971-74), where his principal emphasis was on parks acquisition,
transportation and areawide sewers. During this period he actively
worked on recommendations on federal conservation units to the
Secretary of the Interior. In 1974, he was asked to join the
Alaska State Pipeline Office as Environmental Consultant to
the Governor, William Egan, and Director of the Technical Staff.
He oversaw construction of the Dalton Highway, which was the
haul road for the pipeline and the final stages of technical
review on stipulations for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.At this
time he was also a delegate to the Third Law of the Sea Conference,
a position which lasted until 1980.
In December 1974, the new Governor, Jay Hammond, asked him
to become Highway Commissioner for Alaska to form a state Department
of Transportation. He retained some duties on the pipeline,
primarily on regulation of oil tankers, serving as Chairman
of the Alaska Oil Tanker Task Force and delegate from Alaska
to the Pacific Oil and Ports Group. He also chaired the Alaska
Telecommunications Task Force which oversaw the transition from
micro-wave to satellite for the bulk of Alaskaís communications
system. In March 1976, Mr. Parker was asked to serve as State
Chairman of the Joint Federal/State Land Use Planning Commission
for Alaska, an organization created to carry out the creation
of federal conservation areas as ordered by the Congress in
the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and also to provide
oversight of the implementation of that Act. The Alaska National
Interest Lands and Conservation Act was passed by Congress in
1980 and signed by President Carter in December 1980.
In 1980, Mr. Parker resumed a principal role in Parker Associates,
Inc., which had been operated by Mrs. Parker while he was in
government. He, also, became the Distinguished Practitioner
in Residence at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. The corporation
performed major projects on rural aviation in Alaska and elsewhere,
designed the Learn/Alaska system for the University of Alaska
and the Alaska Department of Education, bringing distant education
courses throughout the state at every grade level; and planned
some 1600 miles of railroad and 900 miles of road for mining
interests in western Alaska.
In 1989, Governor Cowper appointed Mr. Parker as Chairman of
the Alaska Oil Spill Commission (1989-90) charged with examining
the causes of the wreck of the Exxon Valdez and the failure
of the spill response system. The Commissionís work was a primary
input to the Congress as it wrote the Oil Pollution Act of 1990
and to the Alaska and other state legislatures in writing state
acts dealing with oil spills. Subsequently, he became Chair
of the Alaska Hazardous Substance Spill Technology Review Council
(1990-95) which examined oil spills and other hazardous substance
problems in Alaska.
During this period he also served on the National Research
Councilís Marine Board Committee on Pilotage and Navigation.
In 1995, he was appointed by President Clinton as a Commissioner
of the Arctic Research Commission (1995-2001). This led to appointment
to the U.S. delegation to the Arctic Environmental Protection
Strategy Working Group on Emergency Preparation, Prevention
and Response in 1995, where he still serves. Later when the
Arctic Council was formed in 1996, he became a delegate to the
Senior Arctic Officials and the Sustainable Development Working
Group, where he still serves. He has chaired the Circumpolar
Infrastructure Task Force for the Council and the Northern Forum
He is presently active working with the Shipping Safety Partnership
investigating the wreck of the Selendang Ayu. He has been a
Senior Fellow at the Institute of the North since 2000. He was
on the Board of the Prince William Sound Science Center from
1996 until 2005 and on the Oil Spill Recovery Institute Board
for the same period. He has served on the Prince William Sound
Regional Citizenís Advisory Council since 2004. He has served
as U.S. Chair of the Bering Sea Forum since its formation in
2003 and on the board of Pacific Environment since 2005. He
is on the Advisory Committee for Oceana and also the Advisory
Committee for the Oceans Foundation.
He is also active in urban planning again in Anchorage through
the Anchorage Citizenís Coalition and the Anchorage Trails and
causes is largely a volunteer effort of the Board and other
members. It's a huge task and we are more effective when we
have been able to pay an Executive Director to organize the
work and to maintain continuity. We rely on contributions from
individuals as well larger funding organizations.