Tourism in Katmai Country
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This project began, perhaps unwittingly, in the fall of 1988 when park and regional office staff interviewed Raymond I. Petersen, the founder of the various Katmai conces-sion camps. In order to put his comments into their proper context, regional staff recognized the need to provide supporting materials. What follows is the product of the search for those materials, combined with the comments of Mr. Petersen and other individuals who have helped develop Katmai's tourism industry into what it is today.

There are many who need to be thanked for their gracious assistance in the preparation of this study. In the NPS, I first wish to thank Rebecca Kaiser, chief of the concessions division in the Alaska Regional Office. Her many years of experience in the field proved invaluable, and her recognition of the historical value of the concessions documents played a major role in providing the archival basis for this project. Her predecessor, Joseph Alston, took time to provide helpful information about the concessions field during the first several years after the creation of the regional office.

Also deserving thanks are the staff at Katmai National Park and Preserve. The present superintendent, Alan Eliason, has provided enthusiasm and encouragement for the project, and his predecessors, Ray Bane and David Morris, provided many insights regarding the problems of managing the park's concessions. David Nemeth, the park's concessions officer, was very helpful, and Janis Meldrum, the former resource management specialist, proved a gracious hostess during my stay there and a constant source of encouragement. Each of these individuals kindly consented to review and comment on early drafts of this study.

The various concessioners were also helpful. Mr. Petersen kindly acceded to several interview requests; he also provided photographs and memorabilia regarding the early days at the Katmai camps. His son, Raymond F. Petersen of Katmailand, was likewise gracious with his time. Others connected with Katmai tourism operations have included Perry Mollan, Bo Bennett, and Dennis Maloney. I particularly appreciated the back-ground information provided by Ray Loesche, longtime owner of Rainbow King Lodge; Michael and Dennis Branham, of Adventures Unlimited; Joe Klutsch, of Katmai Guide Service; and Ralph Stemp, who helped operate the Katmai camps in the early 1980s.

I also wish to thank those who have helped see the project through to its completion. William Hanable helped conduct the interview and organize the research which provided me a crucial head start; Kate Lidfors, the former regional historian, steered the project through to its draft stage; Sande Faulkner, who took over in her stead, has overseen the project through to its completion; and Linda Cook, for her photography. Many thanks to all those with whom I privileged to work. Finally, I'd like to pass along thanks to Edwin Bearss and Barry Mackintosh, in the agency's Washington office, for providing an editorial review.

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Last Updated: 13-Oct-2004