Former Alaskan Senate President Dies While Hiking

by Tia Bailey
(Photo via Getty Images/Stock Photo)

Former Alaskan Senate President Ben Stevens has died. Stevens was hiking in Alaska last week when he suffered a fatal emergency.

The former Senate president died at the age of 63 after experiencing a “fatal medical emergency” while hiking near Seward, Alaska. Alaskan State Troopers were alerted last Thursday evening of a person who was hiking and needed CPR. The man was later identified as the former Senator, according to PEOPLE.

“Ben’s unexpected passing will be felt across all of Alaska. He was a friend of mine and a valued leader of our state,” Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola, who served in the state House during Stevens’ tenure in state government, tweeted. “I’m glad to have just had lunch with Ben on Wednesday. I will cherish that time with him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during these tough times. They lost him too early.”

Stevens served in the Alaskan state Senate from 2001-2007. He eventually got up to Senate President. Even after he left the Senate, he continued to do work in politics. He was a member of the Republican National Committee (RNC).

He was investigated by the FBI for being suspected for taking bribes from oil companies. Although he was never convicted, his late father, Ted Stevens, was found guilty.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game Cancels Snow Crab Season

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game recently made a decision that has some fishermen angry. The state cancelled the snow crab season. 1 billion of the crabs mysteriously disappeared.

Ben Daly, a researcher with ADF&G, shared some more info in an interview with CBS News. He listed disease and climate change as two possibilities as to why the crabs have disappeared.

“Environmental conditions are changing rapidly,” Daly said. “We’ve seen warm conditions in the Bering Sea the last couple of years, and we’re seeing a response in a cold-adapted species, so it’s pretty obvious this is connected. It is a canary in a coal mine for other species that need cold water.”

Because of this, many people are trying to figure out where they went and why.

Gabriel Prout runs a fishing business out of Kodiak Island. This area heavily relies on snow crabs.

“Did they run up north to get that colder water?” Prout asked. “Did they completely cross the border; did they walk off the continental shelf on the edge there, over the Bering Sea?”

Alaskan fishermen have not taken to this news happily.

“The state’s decision to close the fishery is really leaving us with the options of bankruptcy or somehow miraculously finding a way to make this work,” Prout said in an interview with KTUU.

The state’s crab fishing industry is worth over $200 million, and the inability to fish for them affects many people. However, there is not much to fish for when the crabs have disappeared.