Floods damaged Kenai campgrounds and rivers

Posted: Monday, April 07, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) State parks officials in the lower Kenai Peninsula are hoping to come up with enough money to fully repair the damage done by two torrential floods last fall.

The floods tore up campgrounds around the mouths of three popular salmon-fishing rivers, the Anchor, Ninilchik and Deep Creek.

Emergency repairs to access roads have been made by the state Department of Transportation, said Chris Degernes, superintendent of state parks on the Kenai Peninsula. But access to federal emergency funds remains a subject of negotiation, she said.

Total damage estimates are $850,000, with more than half the work left to do, Degernes said. She said she is seeking permission to do some of the work ahead of Memorial Day on the assumption that costs will be reimbursed.

The biggest job remains at the beach campground at the mouth of Deep Creek, much of which was torn away in the floods. Since fall, the river mouth has developed a new elbow and gravel continues to be deposited. Hydrologists have recommended against any permanent work there until erosion patterns settle down, Degernes said.

It's changing almost weekly,'' she told the Anchorage Daily News.

The beach campground lost about 40 campsites and now features a 20-foot-high undercut drop-off into the river, which will be fenced off for the time being, Degernes said.

The DOT has taken care of repairs at park areas along the Sterling Highway on either side of Deep Creek and on the access road at Clam Gulch. Angler access may be changed on the lower Ninilchik River due to large riprap piles created to stop erosion along the banks, Degernes said.

At Anchor Point, the Anchor River cut through banks, eroding part of the Steelhead Campground.

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