February 3, 2011 |

Carlson to start March 1 as tour director

Tanya Carlson will return to Alaska as the Haines Borough’s tourism director.

Carlson, a product developer for Holiday Vacations in Wisconsin, is a 2001 graduate of the University of Alaska-Southeast, where she studied marine biology and communications. She previously worked as a naturalist for Holland America.

"I am pleased to announce that Tanya Carlson has officially accepted the Tourism Director position at step 3 of the wage chart, which corresponds to $19.71 per hour," borough manager Mark Earnest wrote in his report for last week’s assembly meeting. "She is expected to be on the job on or about March 1."

He has said Carlson would need to give a 30-day notice to her current employer.

Carlson was offered the job following a December meet-and-greet at the Haines Borough Public Library. She spent the last few weeks on a Panama Canal cruise before accepting the offer.

Carlson grew up in Colorado and moved to Alaska for college. As a Holland America naturalist, she gave presentations on the flora, fauna and geology of Alaska and planned shore excursions. She also got to know several industry leaders in Haines.

Former tourism director Lori Stepansky resigned effective Oct. 1, and Carlson learned of the open position at an Alaska travel convention. Carlson is eager to head back to the state.

"I love the weather, the rain, all of it," she said. "Perfect temperature, perfect climate, the mountains, the water - You name it, I don’t think there’s a thing I dislike about Alaska."

Carlson said she would like to attract more cruise ships to Haines.

"Outside of the cruise industry, I just think we need to play to Haines’ strong suit, which is outdoors," she said. "There are wonderful trails that need to be highlighted. I’m a road biker, and I’m familiar with a lot of the different races and rides across the states."

Carlson said one of her ideas is a multi-day ride between Skagway and Haines.