Park Condition Reports
Last Update: May 16, 2019
PARK OPENING DATES
TRAIL REPORTS & PARK CONDITIONS
Chugach State Park - March 29
Chena River State Recreation Area - April 19
Caines Head State Recreation Area - May 15
Denali State Park - May 16
Kachemak Bay State Park - May 15
Nancy Lake State Recreation Area - May 12
Latest News Releases
New Director's Orders Regarding Various State Park Fees
Arctic Valley Ski Area – Status Update March 2019
The Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation is currently reviewing comments and evaluating how to proceed regarding the proposed concession contract for Arctic Valley Ski Area. The public comment period closed on February 15, 2019. When new information is released, it will be posted on this website and everyone who submitted a comment will be notified by email. Thank you to everyone who commented.
The public notice, preliminary decision and proposed contract are available at the following links:
Earthquake damage closes Eagle River Campground and access road
April 24, 2019 (Anchorage, AK) – The Eagle River Campground is closed until further notice due to damage to its access road from the November 30, 2018 earthquake.
The earthquake left a large fissure in the road that provides the only access to the campground, located off Hiland Road in Eagle River. Frozen ground, combined with recent snows, make it impossible to know the full extent of the damage or accurately assess the dangers to the public from using the road.
The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation will assess the condition of the road as soon as the ground thaws, and is working through the contracting process to fix the road and open the campground as soon as possible.
CONTACT: Director Ricky Gease 907-269-8701, email@example.com
Two state campgrounds closed due to bark beetle-infested trees
April 9, 2019 (Palmer, AK) – Alaska State Parks has closed two campgrounds in Denali State Park and Nancy Lake State Recreation Area over concerns that spruce bark beetle-infested trees pose a risk to the health and safety of recreationists.
The Byers Lake Campground located in Denali State Park and the South Rolly Campground in the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area will remain closed while the agency coordinates efforts to mitigate the significant hazards posed by beetle-infested trees. The campgrounds will likely remain closed for much of this summer, and possibly into next year.
"These trees represent a significant safety issue for campers and visitors,” said Alaska State Parks Director Ricky Gease. “We have been experienced a number of rotten trees falling over in the campgrounds this season, and while the timing is unfortunate, we need to take action now to reduce this hazard and help make our parks safer."
Pending approval of federal funds for the work, the Department of Natural Resources will contract with private business to cut down and remove the affected trees to reduce hazards to more than 100 campsites at the two affected campgrounds, and minimize the effect on residents and visitors. The state’s Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation and Division of Forestry are working together to pursue funding for the work.
To reduce the risk of spreading the beetle infestation, tree felling, chipping and removal must be timed to take advantage of colder weather conditions. While crews will be moving as quickly as possible to remove all the hazard trees and reopen campgrounds in a timely fashion, the campgrounds will be closed until the work is complete.
The closure will affect the following areas and trails:
Denali State Park
• Byers Lake Campground
• Byers Lake Trail
• Cascade Trail
• (Note: Byers Lake public use cabins will remain open, but access will be restricted. Parking is available at the Alaska Veterans Memorial with a trail walk into the site. No motor vehicle access is allowed beyond the Veterans Memorial.)
Nancy Lake State Recreation Area
• South Rolly Lake Campground (Note: Parking allowed to access trailhead only. Public use cabins will still be available.
For more information on Alaska State Parks, visit our website: alaskastateparks.org, or find us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
CONTACT: Stuart Leidner, (907) 745-8935, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alaska State Parks to refocus Recreational Trails Program funds
April 8, 2019 (Anchorage, AK) – Alaska State Parks will address a significant backlog in deferred maintenance on trails inside state parks by directing an estimated $1.2 million in federal trails grants to the work this year.
The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is a federal program that provides reimbursable, matching funds to states so they can develop and repair recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses.
"In an effort to maximize our resources and streamline our processes, we are looking for more efficient ways to fulfill our mission to provide outdoor recreation opportunities to the people of Alaska, and to those that visit here," said State Parks Director Ricky Gease. "We need to start with our state park trails, which have been neglected for too long."
The grant program is managed by the Federal Highway Administration in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation (DPOR). The division has historically divided the grant funds by spending approximately half internally, and providing half to trail projects sponsored by other organizations in communities statewide.
Starting July 1, however, Alaska State Parks will use the entire federal allocation of RTP funds to support the long list of deferred maintenance of trails and trail infrastructure inside state park units. This money will continue to benefit the public and support trails for trail users of all kinds.
CONTACT: DPOR Director Ricky Gease, 907-269-8701, email@example.com
Chena River State Recreation Area trail access limited until dry
April 3, 2019 (Fairbanks, AK) – Several trails in the Chena River State Recreation Area will be closed to all uses except foot travel, to allow them time to dry out during this season’s early melt.
The Compeau, Stiles and Angel Creek Hillside trails will be closed on April 10, about 10 days earlier than normal due to an early seasonal melt. They are scheduled to reopen on May 23 or sooner, depending on weather and trail conditions.
In order to protect the state’s investment and sustain summer use of these popular trails, it is necessary to allow the trails to thaw and the water to disperse without disturbance.
Other trails that are seasonally closed in the recreation area include the East Fork, Colorado Creek, and Angel Creek Valley trails. These are winter-only trails and open to snowmachine use from October 15 to April 10.
Alaska State Parks is reluctant to restrict any uses unless there are no other viable management alternatives. In such cases, the benefits of protecting the usefulness of these trails outweigh the inconveniences of seasonal restrictions.
Park managers urge trail users to respect the integrity of the trails so all may continue to enjoy them. Violations may be reported to the State Parks office at 451-2695 during the day. During evenings and weekends, call Alaska State Troopers and they will contact the park enforcement team.
CONTACT: Brooks Ludwig, 451-2698, firstname.lastname@example.org
State Parks receives trail grooming grant for Independence Mine
March 11, 2019 (Palmer, AK) – The Mat Su/Copper River Basin area of Alaska State Parks has received a $15,000 grooming grant for cross-country skiing trails at Independence Mine State Historical Park.
Located in Hatcher Pass, the Independence Mine park registers about 10,000 user-days each winter. This grant from Friends of State Parks (FoSP), Mat-Su will help park managers achieve their goal of providing groomed trails, said Superintendent Stuart Leidner.
“We are grateful that Friends of State Parks, Mat-Su provided this grant this year, which will help us keep over 5 kilometers of cross-country ski trails groomed at the Independence Mine area for the remainder of the 2019 season,” Leidner said. “Such grooming is not always guaranteed, in the face of limited funds for park operations overall, and for trail grooming specifically,” he added.
The Independence Mine park is a beloved recreation destination for Alaska residents, providing excellent year-round access for outdoor enthusiasts. It is a popular winter destination and often has some of Southcentral Alaska’s earliest snow.
Friends of State Parks, Mat-Su was founded in 2000. As a registered 501(c)3, the group works to enhance and protect the natural, historical and recreational resources within state park units of the Mat-Su/Copper River basin. FoSP fundraising has grown to provide more than $150,000 in grants to support Mat-Su State Parks and recreational areas. More information is available at: www.fospmatus.org.
For more information on Alaska State Parks, visit: alaskastateparks.org or find us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
CONTACT: Stuart Leidner, (907) 745-8935, email@example.com
Alaska State Parks welcomes first "Park Ambassador"
February 11, 2019 (Anchorage, AK) – In an effort to grow family-friendly opportunities and encourage more visitors to Alaska State Parks, the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation is introducing its first State Parks Ambassador program and volunteer Park Ambassador, Erin Kirkland of "AKontheGo."
As Park Ambassador, Kirkland will partner with Alaska State Parks in planning and promoting kid-friendly events and activities, showcasing the State Park system’s resources for families and kids, and encouraging families to get outdoors.
"A partnership like this allows us to highlight all that our park areas hold for kids and families," said Matt Wedeking, operations manager of the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. "I'm excited to see where this new partnership leads."
Kirkland is a freelance journalist, publishing the well-known family travel and outdoor website AKontheGO.com. She is the author of the “Alaska On the Go” guidebook series, and an avid supporter of Alaska’s State Parks, especially for families.
“I’m thrilled to be working with State Park leadership to help more kids and parents discover what’s possible in Alaska’s State Park system,” she said.
Kirkland and Alaska State Parks are currently planning a “Kids to Parks” event for May 18, 2019 and a Family Adventure Day in August. Follow “AKontheGO” and Alaska State Parks on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated on these events and more.
For more information on Alaska State Parks, visit our website: alaskastateparks.org or find us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
CONTACT: Wendy Sailors, (907) 269-8738, firstname.lastname@example.org