The Southeast Alaska Avalanche Center was one of eight organization nationwide selected for an award by the Coalition for Recreational Trails this month. The Center was honored for excellence in the Communication and Education award category for avalanche education programs carried out using grant funding from federal recreational trail safety programs.
Receiving the award in Washington, DC, Center director Bill Glude commented, "We in Alaska have by far the highest avalanche death rate in the nation; yet we alone of all the states with mountains and avalanches have no federally funded avalanche forecast centers. All we have is our small nonprofit in Southeast Alaska, and another in Southcentral, doing preventive education."
Glude started the avalanche center in 1995 after one of his friends was killed in a slide in the hills above Juneau. In the fall of 1999, representatives fromrescue groups and state, federal and local agencies met to discuss the status of avalanche readiness in the region and decided that the Southeast Alaska Avalance Center should serve as the vehicle to provide avalanche education for the region. With their help, the avalanche center incorporated.