Bing’s Landing will get a facelift and some infrastructure work this summer.
A popular launching place for tourists and Kenai Peninsula residents alike, Bing’s Landing is just outside Sterling and offers bank fishing as well. As the number of boats has increased, the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation has been examining ways to improve the boat ramp and pre-empt damage to the banks.
The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation got the ball rolling on the process because of concerns from the neighbors about traffic and visitors parking on side roads, said Jack Blackwell, superintendent for the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation for Soldotna and Prince William Sound.
“The purpose of the project is to provide more parking for folks who want to access the back line fishing area on the river,” Blackwell said. “It’s in an effort to reduce some of the conflict from folks who were previously parking along Rapids Avenue in the subdivision area.”
The planned work would add a parking lot and build a two-lane entrance road. It would also add pedestrian trails, an orientation kiosk, a permanent outhouse, light-penetrating walkways and stairs providing access to the river for fishing.
The light-penetrating walkways and stairs would help protect the habitat while not limiting access to the fishery, said Rys Miranda, the section chief for the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation’s Design and Construction office.
“Part of that goal is (enhanced) river access, which will come out of an elevated walkway,” Miranda said. “People can still access the river without trampling the vegetation.”
The fishery gets fairly busy during the height of the season, and there have been concerns about visitors trampling the vegetation on the riverbanks to access the river, Miranda said. Part of the work will include restoration and stabilization work on the landing’s bluff, he said.
“Our plan is to stabilize that area to prevent further erosion,” Miranda said. “(We will) revegetate it, stabilize it and to some degree flatten the slope a little bit.”
The project is estimated to cost anywhere from $1 million to $2.5 million, according to the Request for Proposal, issued Friday. The funding has already been appropriated from the state’s capital improvement budget and is supplemented by grants from the Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund and a federal spruce bark beetle mitigation fund, Miranda said.
Part of the stipulation of receiving funds from the spruce bark beetle mitigation fund is the removal of trees to reduce wildfire risk. In addition, the contractor will put in fencing to keep visitors from trampling the riparian habitat. However, the river will still be accessible through the stairways and light-penetrating walkways, Miranda said.
“We’re going to make some fencing for basically pedestrian control, and keep people off the riparian habitat,” Miranda said. “People have been accessing it before. We’re enhancing access.”
Bidding for the project opens at 2 p.m. on March 29. If a bid is successfully accepted, the rule of thumb is to have a contractor on the ground within three weeks, Miranda said. The goal is to have the project finished by August 1, he said. The timeline mostly depends on the contractor; the office of Design and Construction can tell the contractor when the project can begin and when it can not operate, such as during a migratory bird window, Miranda said.
However, there is always a resident engineer on the ground supervising the project and making adjustments to the plans if need be, he said.
There are also plans to improve the boat launch by adding more dock space to the current launch. The office of Design and Construction had hoped to bundle the launch improvements in with the bank and road improvements for efficiency, but that may not happen, Miranda said. The plans are going forward independently for now, he said.
Reach Elizabeth Earl at firstname.lastname@example.org.