Alaska to Break Ground on New Campground
The state of Alaska is breaking ground on Friday (Aug. 16) for construction of a South Denali campground and day-use area at the base of Curry Ridge in Denali State Park.
The ceremony kicks off the construction of a 1.5-mile access road, a 22-space parking lot/trailhead, more than six miles of interpretive trails, a 15-site walk-in tent campground, a 32-site RV campground with electrical hookups, a ranger station and maintenance facility, and the extension of the electrical grid along the Parks Highway to Mile 134, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
The road, campground and electrical extension are scheduled to be completed by late summer or fall of 2014. Funding sources for this work included legislative appropriations and private-sector donations.
The state has been working to develop a visitor center complex on the south side of the Alaska Range with project partners including the National Park Service, Matanuska-Susitna Borough and Princess Cruises. Development of the proposed visitor center is still in the planning, design and funding stages.
The ceremony will be held at Mile 135 of the Parks Highway and it will include participation from local, state, federal and private-sector officials.
“This is an exciting step forward,” said Alaska State Parks Director Ben Ellis. “After years and years of talking, we are taking the first steps to open new recreational opportunities and public access to our state park lands south of Denali.”
A major boon to the project was the private land donation of 104 acres by United Companies Inc. LLC (UCI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Sea Lion Corp., the village corporation for Hooper Bay. The donation was finalized in April 2013. The donated land is valued at $1 million and it provides access for the future development of a South Denali Visitor Center. UCI’s donation will be highlighted during the groundbreaking ceremony.