Camping waste raises stink in Moose Pass

Posted: Sunday, July 16, 2000

SOLDOTNA (AP) -- State authorities should do something about unregulated camping along Upper Trail Lake, as far as residents of Moose Pass are concerned.

''There's piles of trash, feces and toilet paper,'' said Jeff Mitchell, president of the Moose Pass Sportsman's Club. ''It used to be a really good place to pick cranberries, but it's not quite safe any more.''

A dozen Moose Pass residents aired their concerns at a public meeting Tuesday.

A half-dozen tents, campers and motor homes occupy the site on a typical summer night, said Dawn Campbell, Sportsman's Club secretary. On a holiday weekend, there may be 30 or more.

''There's no septic system and no outhouses,'' she said. ''What if this was your property?''

The 10 acres was once part of Chugach National Forest. The state selected it as part of its land entitlement after statehood, but the U.S. Forest Service reserved an easement on it to build a boat launch.

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources recommends it for addition to the Kenai River Special Management Area of Alaska State Parks. That would require an act of the Legislature. For now, DNR has given the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation primary management authority, said Sam Means, a natural resource manager with the Division of Mining, Land and Water.

''We don't have the personnel,'' said Bill Berkhahn, a ranger for State Parks in Sterling. ''There are four rangers to manage the Kenai River Special Management Area -- the boat ramps, the campgrounds plus the river itself.''

Jeff Bryden, one of two law enforcement officers for the 5.5-million-acre Chugach National Forest, said he has little authority on the state parcel other than to keep the Forest Service easement clear. Camping, loud music and cutting trees are the state's jurisdiction, he said.

''It's no longer national forest,'' he said.

At the request of the community or the state, the Forest Service might consider building a boat ramp and restrooms, he said. Even then, though, he would have authority only over federal facilities and not over camping on state land.

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