Cooper Landing

Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Moose Pass plays Alaska Wildland Adventures at 7 p.m. Friday May 27 for the first game of the annual softball tournament held at the community center on Bean Creek Road.

The 8:30 p.m. game pits TelAlaska against Kenai Princess Lodge. Summit Lake Lodge, Mountain Madness, Wildman, Avalanche Acres, Alaska Rivers Co. and Cooper Landing Floating and Fishing Co. have teams in the tournament which continues through June 5. Tournament manager Dan Michels and field maintenance manager Duane Ohnemus worked on the softball field, which is in good shape. Cooper Landing Ambulance Service is in charge of nightly food service with the community club putting on the last dinner during the playoffs.

Everyone, but not their dogs, is invited. Dan said the new team, Mountain Madness, is a group of U. S. Forest Service personnel from the Moose Pass area.

Head librarian Brearley Wilson, appreciates the work done recently in and around the library during the spring cleanup. Arlene Knock, Sally Davis, Phyllis McCray, Janice Cooper, Terri Orr, Jo Cox, Gene Craig and Carla Britton were the workforce. Ron Gravenhorst designed the new landscaping features around the library and has the most sweat equity in the job.

Previous attempts to beautify the grounds have been flattened by snowmachines and other small vehicular traffic. Sally and Dave Davis helped haul some of the 50 sacks of bark chips used in the scheme, and Bill Fort and Tom Knock helped Ron with some of the labor.

The library quilt is finished, thanks in large part to Sally Davis. The quilt pattern is Seashore Stars and the colors are blues and yellows with plain squares of light marbled yellow with simulated trap unto quilted flowers, designed by Sally to emulate flowers in the focal fabric.

Quilt raffle tickets are on sale by library volunteers, at the library and during the softball tournament. Alma Fowler headed the quilt project and other quilters were Ladonna Herbert, Arlene Knock, Brearley Wilson and me.

The other day I was touring Cooper Landing with new staff at Alaska Wildland Adventures and talking about the community and how it grew. One of the lesser known aspects of settlement here is the federal government's more than 30-year groundwork toward a hydroelectric facility on the Kenai River.

Some of this history is discussed in the 1985-86 supplemental report: Sterling Highway Archaeology by the Department of Natural Resources.

"In 1932, Frank Towle received a patent to his 108-acre homestead, the first resident in the Cooper Landing area to obtain title from the federal government to a homestead or homesite parcel.

"Other settlers who had homesite or homestead applications pending were unable to obtain patents from the federal government. This was due in part to the 1921 Federal Power Authority restriction limiting entry to federal lands within a quarter mile of the Kenai River and Kenai Lake. During the 1920s, no action was taken to develop a hydroelectric project on the Kenai River.

"At the request of the Forest Service, the Federal Power Authority vacated on May 10. 1934 part of the restrictions on entry to land around Kenai Lake and along the Kenai River. This limited the withdrawals to land between the mean low-water stage and an elevation 6 feet above mean low water stage on the lake and river. Thereafter the Federal Power Authority began lifting restrictions to entry on a case by case basis if individual homestead or homesite permit holder could demonstrate that their improvements to the land would not be adversely impacted by a 6 foot rise in the water level on Kenai Lake or the Kenai River.

"In the following decade, six homesteaders and two homesite or 'trade and manufacturing' permittees in Cooper Landing received patents to their land." In a 1952 publication by the U.S. Department of the Interior, a hydroelectric facility on the Kenai River was still being considered.

"An earth-fill dam 100 feet high with a crest length of 1,800 feet, near Cooper's Landing at the outlet of Kenai Lake would back water over the delta being built into Kenai Lake at the southeast end by the braided mouth of Snow River."

Fortunately for Cooper Landing, the dam was built at the end of Cooper Lake and the outlet of Cooper Creek instead of in the middle of the community. Can you imagine what this area would look with a dam of that size?

Mona Painter can be reached by phone at 595-1248 or by email at

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