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State Parks Recreation Sites Get Upgrades

Fairbanks, AK - Improvement projects are happening at State Parks sites around the interior. The Upper Chatanika State Recreation site recently underwent renovations, and work on the Lower Chatanika site will start later this summer.

At the Upper Chatanika River State Recreational Site, rain and high river levels have been a concern for the last few years. Part of the road through the campsite ran next to the river, and when the river would rise, it created problematic conditions.

Brooks Ludwig, Northern Area Parks Superintendent, says the solution was creating a new road.

“The last couple summers, the high water each year has cut into the road and we’ve had to move the road over. Instead of fighting the river we decided to relocate the road and four campsites to eliminate the possibility of the road giving way," he said.

TJ’s Land Clearing cut trees for the new route before May 1st because of the bird window, a time during which the Parks Service does not cut trees in order to protect migratory birds. After the path was cleared, contractors came in on June 1st and built the new road and campsites.

The final steps of the project will be installing new tables and fire-pits.

The project cost about $149,000 and took just over three weeks to complete. Ludwig says it has been in the works for about three years, between getting funding, permits, and awarding construction contracts.

Ludwig says the Lower Chatanika site is also getting a makeover this summer, in the form of new amenities.

“We’re going to be replacing some bathrooms, we’re going to be building a picnic shelter at Olnes Pond. We will be putting in new amenities: tables, fire pits, bear-proof garbage cans. We’re going to put in new highway signs, we’re going to put interior signs. And just upgrade the sites," he said. "We’ll put the wells back in so that they’ll have water at those facilities as well."

The Upper Chatanika site is now open. The contract for the Lower Chatanika site it out for bid until July 15, and work there is scheduled to be finished by the end of September.