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Dave Mihalic came to Alaska in the 1970s to work as Outdoor Recreation Planner for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Fairbanks. He went on to work for the National Park Service in Alaska, where he was a member of the Ranger Task Force/Alaska Task Force which got him involved with the planning of new conservation units under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) of 1980. He then became the first Superintendent at Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, where he faced challenges of opposition to the Park Service in the community of Eagle and difficult issues surrounding implementation of management regulations on mining, subsistence, and land use in the region. He went on to have a long productive career with the Park Service serving as ranger and superintendent at many parks in the Lower 48 and as senior advisor to the Secretary of the Interior. He also has been an adjunct professor at Indiana University in Missoula, Montana.