Our Lodge and Program Managers are the people on the scene at Alaska Wildland Adventures. These are the folks who make sure each and every experience you have with us is special and unique. This team is friendly, hardworking, and committed to providing you with the best Alaska Wildland Adventures has to offer.
Kevin Blackwell, Kenai Backcountry Lodge Manager
Kevin is originally from Thomasville, North Carolina (also known as The Chair City). Now the Kenai Backcountry Lodge Manager, he has been guiding and managing for Alaska Wildland Adventures for many summers and has spent winters in Utah, Antarctica, Nepal and Thailand. Kevin says, “I still remember the first morning I arrived in Alaska. It was barely 3 a.m. but the sun was up and the mountains were glowing. As I walked around town, I remember stopping sleepy-eyed and thinking, ‘What peculiar statues.’ When they started moving, I realized I had stumbled onto a cow moose and calf. I still feel the magic of that first morning every time I come back home to AWA for the summer.”
Jim Warren, Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge Manager
Jim Warren is currently our Manager at Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge. He has guided AWA trips to Denali National Park since 2015. A visit to the Glacier Lodge with a group of alumni from Washington and Lee University in 2014 convinced him that it was one of the most beautiful places on earth. Now he has the joy of working there! Jim had a 36-year career as a professor of American literature and environmental studies, and he has written scholarly books about writers including John Muir, Barry Lopez and John Haines. He enjoys cross-country skiing, hiking, birding, and botanizing in Fairbanks, where he lives with his partner, Julianne.
Laura Bush, Alaska Adventures Program Manager
Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, Laura always knew she was destined to live in a big city. That all changed when she spent the summer before her freshmen year of college working in Yellowstone National Park. She would go on to spend many summers and winters in the Park, falling in love with backpacking, cross country skiing, and sharing the magic of wild places with others. That path eventually led her to Alaska Wildland Adventures where she has done everything from driving shuttles, guiding, and cleaning cabins, to caretaking our Riverside Lodge in the off-season. Most recently she is managing our Guided Journeys Department. She says, “I have so much gratitude for the chance to live and work in such an awe-inspiring place.” When she’s not working, you’ll find her looking for wildflowers, biking or skiing the trails, always in search of the best blueberry patch of the year.
Kelli Hatfield, Weather Permitting Operations Manager
Kelli was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and grew up hearing stories about Alaska from her father, who worked stints in The Last Frontier during her childhood. Although it took more than 30 years for her to visit for the first time, it was everything she had hoped for. The magic of Kenai Fjords National Park has captured her spirit of wanderlust for the last decade. A lover of all bodies of water, she has worked in Seward at Weather Permitting, the water taxi side of Alaska Wildland Adventures, as a Deckhand, Office Staff member and now the Operations Manager. When she gets a break from managing logistics, you can find her and her pup Max paddleboarding or sailing in Resurrection Bay. Winters are spent in one of many countries she calls “home” – from El Salvador to Singapore – but Seward will always have a piece of her heart.
Charlie Burnett, Lodge Guest Program Manager
Charlie is our Lodge Guest Program Manager. This is his first season in Alaska, and he’s very excited to be a part of the AWA community (and we’re happy to have him!) and to explore the Kenai Peninsula. Charlie grew up in Wisconsin and started guiding backcountry trips as a student at UW-Madison. After graduation, he spent four years directing a youth trips program in northern Michigan. Charlie spends his free time hiking, running, cross-country skiing and biking with his dog, Aldo, and he’s looking forward to trying his hand at salmon fishing this summer!