Ranger Berkhahn on his retirement, and the Wood Tikchik

Jul 31, 2015

KDLG News paid a visit to Ranger Bill Berkhahn at the Agulapak Cabin, where he was wrapping up his time in Wood Tikchik as a volunteer.

Bill and Patti Berkhahn each retired from careers with the state this year. Bill Berkhahn finished as the supervisory ranger at the Wood Tikchik State Park, a position he held since 2006. He retired after his position, one of two at the nation’s largest state park, was eliminated amidst state budget cuts. Pictured here, Bill and Patti spent several weeks of their “first summer off in 30 years” volunteering at Wood Tikchik’s cabin at the top of the Agulapak River.
Credit KDLG

This interview originally aired on the July 31 Bristol Bay and Beyond.

Credit KDLG

Amidst the state’s budget cuts over the past two years, one of the two ranger positions at the Wood Tikchik State Park was finally eliminated. The position removed was the senior spot held by Supervisory Park Ranger Bill Berkhahn, who chose to end his 27 year career with Parks earlier this summer as the staffing change took place. 

Berkhahn had held that job for nearly a decade. His wife Patti retired from a Fish and Game job this year too. The couple spent their first summer off in 30 years volunteering in Wood Tikchik, spending several weeks at the park cabin at the top of the Agulapak Cabin. 

While Berkhahn might still be sore at seeing his position cut, his career ended, and the park he cherishes left what many feel is now under protected, he was all smiles when I and former Togiak Refuge manager Paul Liedberg flew up to pay him a visit last week.

Credit KDLG

SIX MILLION: retired Togiak Refuge manager Paul Liedberg, left, and recently retired Wood Tikchik SP Supervisory Ranger Bill Berkhahn watch anglers at the top of the Agulapak River. The combined acreage in Southwest Alaska Liedberg and Berkhahn oversaw at the end of their careers totaled about 6 million acres. The Togiak Refuge and Wood Tikchik SP share a lengthy border as well as a mountain range and several rivers. Berkhahn was the head park ranger at Wood Tikchik dating to 2006 and retired this summer amidst state budget cuts eliminating one of the two positions at the park. He and his wife Patty became volunteers for the park after his retirement, spending several weeks at the cabin at the Agulapak River between Lakes Beverly and Nerka.