Clam Gulch man collects donations for road repair

Posted: Friday, August 02, 2002

KENAI (AP) -- A Kenai Peninsula man has started collecting money to fix a road used by fishermen off the Sterling Highway.

Per Osmar of Clam Gulch is collecting money to fix the Clam Gulch Beach Road, a 2,200-foot road between the beach and the Sterling Highway.

With little state money available to fix the road, state park officials have given Osmar their blessing. The narrow, one-lane road is part of the Clam Gulch State Recreational Area branching off the highway near Mile 117.

''It's kind of neat that the guy that originally built the road is taking the initiative to improve it for commercial fishers and recreational users,'' said Kenai Area Park Superintendent Chris Degernes.

Osmar told the Peninsula Clarion that the road is in considerable disrepair, with potholes up to a foot deep. There also is a steep shoulder on one side of the road, with a creek running alongside.

''It's one of the most dangerous pieces of land in Alaska, I believe,'' he said. ''That creek's more than two feet deep. If a guy fell in there with a car in the summertime, I'm sure he'd drown.''

Cars, all-terrain vehicles, four-wheel-drive trucks and commercial fishing rigs share the road with pedestrians, with only periodic pullouts to allow passing. Degernes said with 60,000 to 70,000 people using the road annually, it would be easy for someone to get hurt there.

Degernes said state money is too scarce for any immediate fix. So Osmar is making the rounds in Clam Gulch to raise money to ''Band-Aid'' the road until then.

''After being shoved from bureaucrat to bureaucrat, I started talking to people,'' Osmar said. ''I've gotten hold of Gus Wiley, a contractor who will charge about $900 for the work.

''Most people I've talked to have said, 'I'll give $15 or $10.' That's not big amounts, but it's enough to make us think we can do it.''

Degernes gave him permission to work on the road and told him that the Kenai Area Parks could reimburse his cause $250.

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