RULE BY SCIENTISTS & EXPERTS
PART 1 of 2
By Niki Raapana
May 29, 2010
[Note: Kenny Lake, Alaska, pop 410, 195 sq miles, is unincorporated, there's no town or borough government, and no property taxes. Alaska has boroughs, not counties.]
I asked Gay Wellman's elist to reassure me it was an erroneous definition of the league that comes up number one in an online search for Kenny Lake Community League.
"Kenny Lake Community League Business Information - Kenny Lake Community League is a private company categorized under Community Development Groups and located in Copper Center, AK. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $13,000 and employs a staff of approximately 1. The listed Company Contact is Gay Wellman, President"
From the state I found the answer:
Non-Profit - Kenny Lake Community League
HC 60 Box 231, Kenny Lake
Copper Center, AK 99573
"The Kenny Lake Community League organizes activities, is an advocate for local concerns, and administers state grants."
I asked Gay's elist if the mission for the Kenny Lake Community League was expanding to including Community Economic Development.
The only verifiable community development association for Kenny Lake is in Copper Center, the Copper Valley Development Association, Inc.
"Our mission is to facilitate partnerships to improve the quality of life in Alaska's Copper Valley through economic development while protecting our natural and cultural resources. We serve the Copper Valley as an Alaska Regional Development Organization and Resource Conservation and Development Council. Copper Valley Development Association, Inc. is a non-profit (501(c)3) organization that serves the region as an Alaska Regional Development Organization (ARDOR) and Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC&D). CVDA is funding primarily through the ARDOR program, with federal support from RC&D Program with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Funds are also leveraged through various donations and fundraising projects."
Copper Valley Development Association "serves" the entire Copper Valley, including Kenny Lake. The Kenny Lake group does not ever have to become an officially recognized community development organization in order for the league to apply for Community Rural Development grants. Arlene Rosenkrans, federal appointed RC&D Coordinator, is on the CVDA staff.
Most recent grant to Kenny Lake Community League was in Oct 2009, $26,300 to fix the buildings through the Community Facilities Program:
“Rural Development provided much of the funding needed to make these buildings useful,” said Arlene Rosenkrans, a Kenny Lake resident and the area’s USDA RC&D Coordinator."
What purpose does the RC&D program have in Kenny Lake?
"The purpose of the Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) program is to accelerate the conservation, development and utilization of natural resources, improve the general level of economic activity, and to enhance the environment and standard of living in designated RC&D areas. It improves the capability of State, tribal and local units of government and local nonprofit organizations in rural areas to plan, develop and carry out programs for resource conservation and development. The program also establishes or improves coordination systems in rural areas. Current program objectives focus on improvement of quality of life achieved through natural resources conservation and community development which leads to sustainable communities, prudent use (development), and the management and conservation of natural resources. RC&D areas are locally sponsored areas designated by the Secretary of Agriculture for RC&D technical and financial assistance program funds."
haven't seen one indication in my three years helping Tim build his
business at Camp Redington that indicates anyone out here has a mandate
to "improve the general level of economic activity" in Kenny
Lake. And one of the biggest challenges facing all seasonal businesses
out here is letting visitors know there are businesses here to serve
them, ahead of time. I've built three local business websites, campredington.com,
kennylakechalet.com, and kennylake.com, which fortunately Lisa Boone
willingly bought and pays to keep online. So it's not as if I'm some
stranger to the community who hasn't struggled along with everyone else.
But it's clear to me that we are in a
designated living ghost community.
Current Community Development projects affecting Kenny Lake are not discussed at public meetings in Kenny Lake, not at the community hall, not in other public gathering spots. The only other league meeting I've attended was on the same night the Copper River Mapping group was holding a "public comment" event up at Tazlina. It never came up at all during our community meeting. When I asked League President Gay Wellman if she had any information on it, she said it didn't have anything to do with our league, but assured me her husband was there.
Kenny Lake, like all the other 18 rural communities in the "valley" comes under the sustainable development authority of the Copper Valley Regional Plan
A small group of like believers has been quietly working on several projects that will help them gain more detailed maps of the area and identify all the local residents at the same time. (I'm surprised they haven't teamed up with the 2010 Census yet.)
A polished planning group from McCarthy have been busy writing visions across Alaska, and my experience tells me there are only a few key players in each place who are aware of the plans because they've already sworn a blood oath to promote sustainable development. By the time the plans do reach the public, public reactions are facilitated by Master Facilitators. Everyone always achieves consensus on sustainable development plans. Always.
Agnew Beck introduced the stories project back in 2001
"Copper River Stories, Project Date: 2001-2003 (pro bono), Project Manager: Thea Agnew Bemben, Clients: Friends of Kennicott, Copper River Watershed, Wrangell Mountains Center Location: Communities along the Copper River from McCarthy to Cordova, "Copper River Stories is a regional collaborative effort by community organizations with the common goal of engaging local people in telling the stories of this remarkable region."
Agnew Beck wrote the Branding and Marketing Plan for Copper Valley
"Regional Strategies for Tourism Branding Identity, Project Date: 2006" Agnew Beck Consulting, LLC, provides community planning and development services to help communities respond to the challenges and opportunities of growth and change in Alaska. We have worked all over the state, from remote rural villages to urban neighborhoods. Agnew Beck is a twelve-person team dedicated to efficient and effective project management. Our motto “Resources for Community” reflects our commitment to connect people with resources from comprehensive planning to project funding so communities can define a vision for their future, and take action to make that vision a reality."
Their first Regional Strategy was to change the name of the area to Copper River Country and expand the region to include 23 million acres. We are known alternately as the Copper River Basin, the Copper River Valley, the Copper Valley, Copper River Country, and even Copper River County. Most residents in my sphere refer to it as the Basin. Now we are a designated region called Alaska's Copper River Country, or county, depending on how sloppy they get.
From the CVDA's homepage:
"The Copper River Valley is a vast place, in order to help you find your way around we've organized the area into regions, To find a Chamber of Commerce member business by region, begin here. Welcome to Alaska's Copper River Country. The Copper Valley Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to supporting business in the Copper River Basin. Benefits of membership"
WISE, naturally smarter than the rest of the businesses in Kenny Lake, not only uses the new Branding term for the Basin, they also form partnerships in its name to help further their goals.
"WISE has partnered with Princess Tours to bring you the Copper River Country Nature Tour. Treat yourself to a wilderness experience exploring the Boreal Forest. Learn about the natural and cultural history of the Copper River Valley via personalized small-group tours. The goal of the tour is to share the natural world of the area; to cultivate understanding and sensitivity to our environment; and to nurture connections with place both personally and emotionally. The proceeds from this tour are used to fund on-going youth programs and help grow the organization." (Some tours are held on Wellman's property)
The Copper River Watershed Project is a partner in the revised vision of Agnew Beck's Copper River Stories Map. It's now referred to as "Copper River Country Stories Map ~ Sharing the voices of Copper River Country to promote stewardship of our resources~"
I was appalled to learn their tourist map will not include local business services. But it doesn't. Their brilliant idea of promoting tourist related development is to tell the tourists there's nothing here worth putting on a map. Not even the pull out on the Richardson Hwy at Willow Lake tells the visitor where they are standing right that second, or that there are 5 places coming up that serve beverages and offer services, including gas, food and lodging. The Wrangell Park visitor leaves the Wrangell Park Center with the impression there's nothing to stop for until they drive 45 miles down to Chitina or 95 miles to Valdez. The Park Ranger who made the map defended his omission of our location from his map when I asked him about it this past fall. He said, "The map isn't about Kenny Lake, it's about the mountains!" I decided to not ask him my other question, which was "Why is the Visitor Center to the Park located 25 miles past the entrance to the Park, not in Kenny Lake but up in Copper Center?" (I will expand my research to UN Heritage sites at some point, have to.)
Unlike fun maps which are still popular with tourists worldwide because they're useful and entertaining, the new map is a teaching tool for sustainable resource development.
"Copper River Country Stories Map - Sharing the Voices of Copper River Country to promote stewardship of our resources."
Their innovative stories map is based on National Geographic Geomaps
CRWP are funded by international NGO EcoTrust. They are the ones pushing hard for a Regional Environmental Citizen Advisory Council here too. CRWP has the most experience in community development visionings and sustainable development workshops.
"March 1996 - Sustainable development workshop held in Cordova. Steering committee forms to build consensus. Members made up of local businesses, native organizations, fishermen, scientists, and local, state and federal government representatives."
It makes total sense why the Kenny Lake Community League new Board's agenda included the creation of seven "Standing Committees." It's the first step to building consensus.
The Wellmans' Stewardship agenda in Kenny Lake WISE : "Enlightened citizens make wise decisions"
School of the Earth: "Claim your place on the path to the future"
Both Gay and her husband exist only to enlighten us. They represent the new global religion that makes scientists into priests, and we are their flock. Advanced souls travel higher paths than lowly commoners who need a complete scientific and spiritual re education.
The WISE program for science and environmental education was written into the Kenny Lake Community Plan in 2007. I haven't met one person who knows about this "vision."
The Wellmans have 2 schools here. WISE and School of the Earth. WISE and SOTE are both public training centers in global sustainable development principles. They are both located at the same address, both spouses are on both boards, and apparently they both own and live on the same property where both their non profit schools are located. But, according to WISE President Janelle Ecklund in an email response last spring, "WISE has nothing to do with School of the Earth."
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"Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment (WISE) is a grassroots organization, receiving it's non-profit 501(c)(3) status in April of 2002 and it's final determination letter in 2006. The founders started meeting in 1998 with a dream to build an organization that would provide science and environmental education to all age groups."
The Wellmans assure us we have to find solutions to their problems with us. For part two click below.
Click here for part -----> 2,