DNR approves final Kasilof development plan

DNR approves final Kasilof development plan

The north side of the Kasilof River will get a parking lot, a vehicle turnaround and dune fencing among other improvements by next summer.

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Mining, Land and Water released its final plans for the development on the north side of the Kasilof River’s mouth Friday. The plans, which have been more than a year in the making, would add more parking and public access to the river’s north side, an increasingly popular personal use dipnet and birdwatching site.

The final plan includes a paved parking lot with 132 total spaces — 66 spots of 12 feet by 20 feet, 33 spaces of 12 by 43 feet and 33 spaces of 12 by 54 feet. Unlike previous plans, which included a dirt parking lot, the Division of Mining, Land and Water will pave the lot because of long-term maintenance concerns, said Christy Colles, one of the natural resource managers working on the project.

“It also made it more accessible for handicap — it makes it ADA compliant to get down to the mouth,” Colles said. “We’re going to have lines. Our plan is to stripe it … to try to maximize as many cars as we can get in there.”

The construction will include approximately 3,150 feet of permanent dune fencing with pedestrian access points, a pedestrian pathway along the parking lot, a bird viewing platform extending almost to the beach and space for portable toilets and dumpsters. The road will also include a new two-way vehicle beach access point as well as a vehicle turnaround further down the road and parking spaces for law enforcement.

When the plans were first offered, they included multiple parking areas accommodating up to 315 vehicles. When the department first issued the plans, there were no public hearings scheduled. During the public comment period, many residents objected to the plan and called for a public hearing to discuss the development, which the department agreed to. The managers returned to the public with four scaled-back concepts, which ranged from very little development to a plan that entailed two parking lots, vehicle turnarounds and road signs.

At a March meeting held in Kasilof, many Kenai Peninsula residents weighed in on the problems they saw with access to the beach. A major concern was parking along the road and visitors trampling the dunes during the personal use dipnet season. The added parking and dune fencing was meant to address those issues.

Others expressed concerns about disturbance to the migratory birds in the area. The managers took all the comments into consideration, Colles said.

“A lot of people said that (viewing) platform wasn’t good, so we moved that over,” Colles said. “That seemed to sort of go with what the comments were asking us to do.”

Construction is slated to begin in the fall if all goes according to plan, Colles said. Funds for the project have already been appropriated, but the timing may depend on the designing staff’s schedules and how quickly the department can get a proposal out for the work. If they cannot do the construction in the fall, it may extend into the spring of 2017, Colles said.


Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

COVID-19 (Image courtesy CDC)
State reports 3 more COVID deaths, more than 900 cases

The newly reported deaths push Alaska’s total to 594 COVID fatalities since the beginning of the pandemic.

In this July 1908 photograph provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office, the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear sits at anchor while on Bering Sea Patrol off Alaska. The wreckage of the storied vessel, that served in two World Wars and patrolled frigid Arctic waters for decades, has been found, the Coast Guard said Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office via AP)
Coast Guard: Wreck found in Atlantic is storied cutter Bear

The ship performed patrols in waters off Alaska for decades.

The Federal Aviation Administration released an initiative to improve flight safety in Alaska for all aviation on Oct. 14, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
FAA releases Alaska aviation safety initiatives

The recommendations, covering five areas, range from improvements in hardware to data-gathering.

Kyle Kornelis speaks at a public meeting about the Runway 7-25 Rehabilitation Project on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna airport unveils revamped runway

Runway 7-25 was temporarily closed earlier this year while it underwent renovations.

Alaska Redistricting Board Director Peter Torkelson speaks at a redistricting open house on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska Redistricting Board Director Peter Torkelson speaks at a redistricting open house on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Redistricting proposals draw concerns from local residents

The state is seeking feedback on the best way to redraw the state’s legislative district boundaries in the wake of the 2020 census.

Signs advertising COVID-19 safety protocoals stand outside the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Oct. 6, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Ordinance seeks more funding for sports complex renovations

Approved for introduction by the Soldotna City Council during their Oct. 13 meeting, the legislation would put an extra $583,000 toward the project

Most Read