A spruce bark beetle is seen on the underside of a piece of bark taken from logs stacked near Central Peninsula Landfill on Thursday, July 1, 2021 near Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

A spruce bark beetle is seen on the underside of a piece of bark taken from logs stacked near Central Peninsula Landfill on Thursday, July 1, 2021 near Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Feds fund beetle kill mitigation efforts

The funds were part of $2 million in beetle kill mitigation funds obtained by Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Tens of thousands of federal dollars helped reduce hazards and improve access in the Kenai River Special Management Area and in Captain Cook State Recreation Park in October, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources announced last week. The funds were part of $2 million in beetle kill mitigation funds obtained by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the department said.

Alaska State Parks’ Kenai staff, the department said, worked to remove hazardous trees killed by Southcentral Alaska’s spruce bark beetle outbreak and to improve road conditions in the area. For example, land surrounding the road to Bing’s Landing in Sterling was widened and cleared to make the area less “choked.”

“The work also helps reduce the risk or severity of wildfires by reducing fuel loads,” Kenai area supervisor for Alaska State Parks Jack Blackwell is quoted as saying in a release from the department.

The federal funds — $40,000 in all — also allowed campground workers in Seward, Homer and Kasilof to extend seasonal trail work through the end of October. That work resulted in felled trees, burnt limbs and slash and stacks of locks that members of the public can obtain for firewood. Those interested should reach out to the Alaska State Parks’ Kenai office at 907-262-5581.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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