The Sterling Highway crosses the Kenai River near the Russian River Campground on March 15, 2020, near Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

The Sterling Highway crosses the Kenai River near the Russian River Campground on March 15, 2020, near Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Russian River Campground closed for construction

The campground is expected to reopen on June 2

The Russian River Campground and some surrounding areas were closed to “all public use” on Monday to accommodate ongoing construction efforts. The area is expected to reopen June 2.

According to a news release from the U.S. Forest Service, the campground, including “all trails, roads, parking lots, campground loops, and all other facilities” will be closed while “major construction” on the Russian River Campground Road is underway.

The construction is part of an ongoing project that has seen the campground closed and opened at different times in the last couple of years. It was first closed in August 2022 and most recently opened in November. The release says that a one-mile section of Russian River Campground Road is being reconstructed, with the addition of new “retaining walls” above and below the road.

The road shoulder will be expanded, and a new road surface and safety railing will be installed. The release says these renovations will improve user access and minimize loss of nearby “critical salmon habitat.”

“The extensive construction work involving heavy machinery will present a clear, immediate, and continuous health and safety risk to visitors, necessitating this closure,” the release reads.

Russian Lakes Trail is closed from the Russian River Campground Road to the intersection of the Russian Lakes Trail Lower and Upper Parking Lot Trails.

Angler’s Trail is not closed but is only accessible by boat or by the Russian River Ferry from Sportsman’s Landing.

Barber Cabin is closed, but Aspen Flats and Upper Russian Lake Cabins remain open for reservation. The release says those locations will not be accessible from the Lower Russian Lakes Trailhead, and instead will be accessible from the trailhead at Snug Harbor Road.

The release says nearby camping alternatives can be found at recreation.gov or fs.usda.gov/chugach.

“We appreciate the public’s patience as we accomplish this much-needed work at one of Alaska’s most beloved recreational sites,” the release reads. “The Forest Service is committed to enhancing recreation opportunities on national forests by improving access and maintaining infrastructure.”

For more information about the Chugach National Forest or updated forest orders, visit fs.usda.gov/chugach.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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