Former Alaska Senate President Ben Stevens died Thursday evening while hiking on the Kenai Peninsula.
According to a Friday dispatch from the Alaska State Troopers, Stevens, 63, died while hiking along the Lost Lake Trail near Seward. Troopers responded to a report of a hiker having a “medical emergency” at around 6 p.m. on Thursday, the dispatch said. Troopers obtained coordinates and Lifemed was asked to respond while troopers and U.S. Forest Service officers responded to the trailhead.
Per the dispatch, Lifemed reached the scene at around 6:41 p.m. and lifesaving measures were unsuccessful. CPR was in progress at the time, the dispatch said. According to troopers, Stevens’ body was transported to Anchorage via Lifemed.
The Lost Lake Trail, a segment of the Iditarod National Historic Trail, is an out-and-back trail near Seward in the Chugach National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service says that the Lost Lake Trail is 7.3 miles one way with about 1,920 feet of elevation gain. The one-way trip time is between three to four hours.
Multiple Alaska leaders mourned Stevens’ death on social media Friday, including Gov. Mike Dunleavy, former Gov. Bill Walker and U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Stevens was most recently working as the vice president of external affairs and transportation for ConocoPhillips. He is the son of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.
“Ben Stevens was a good friend of mine,” Dunleavy said on Twitter. “I will always cherish the time he was my Chief of Staff; his knowledge and political acumen were significant assets in my administration. Rose and I offer our prayers to Ben’s wife, Elizabeth, and the kids during this difficult time.”
In a Friday afternoon press release, the Alaska Senate extended its condolences to Steven’s family.
“The Alaska Senate family is shocked and saddened at the sudden loss of good friend and colleague, Senator Ben Stevens,” Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, said in the statement. “Our sincerest condolences go out to Elizabeth, his family and the thousands of Alaskans mourning the loss of Ben today.”
Micciche called Stevens a “dedicated public servant” who was “generous with his time and funds with the most vulnerable.”
“As the son of the longest serving Republican in U.S. Senate history, politics and a fierce commitment to serving Alaska was in Ben’s blood,” Micciche said in the statement.
Former Alaska governor and current gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker on social media called Stevens’ death “surreal.”
“I’ve spent time with Ben Stevens twice this week and had a good visit with him and Elizabeth at an event Monday night, so the news of his passing is surreal,” Walker said on Twitter. “Donna and I extend our deepest sympathies to Elizabeth, their four children, and the entire Stevens family.”
Murkowski described Stevens as a friend who she said will be “genuinely missed.”
“Ben was a friend of mine, a great dad and husband, and one who made Alaska a better place for us all,” Murkowski said on Twitter. “His sudden passing leaves a hole in our Alaskan fabric. Ben Stevens will … be genuinely missed.”
U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola also released a statement extending condolences to Steven’s family.
“My love and prayers go out to the entire Stevens family,” Peltola said. “Ben and I had a great working relationship and I considered him a good friend. We just had lunch last week which makes his sudden passing even more difficult. Alaska has lost a great leader who worked tirelessly for our entire state.”
ConocoPhillips President Erec Isaacson said in a statement released Friday that Stevens was a “valued leader” at the company and “leaves a significant legacy” in Alaska.
“The entire ConocoPhillips family is deeply saddened by the sudden passing on Thursday evening of our friend and colleague, Ben Stevens. Our sympathies are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time.”
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at email@example.com.