The Kenai Peninsula’s popular Russian River Campground, as well as pedestrian and vehicular access, closed on Tuesday as construction crews repair and improve the road – work that is expected to continue until next summer.
The 83-site campground is located off the Sterling Highway in Cooper Landing and is a popular spot for fishing, hiking, and camping. A 1 mile stretch of campground road undergo reconstruction to increase slope stability and resistance to frost heave, according to Chugach National Forest officials.
The road closure means anyone wanting to access the hiking or angling trails along the Russian River will have to cross using the Russian River ferry or private boat instead of walking or driving. Access trails to the campground from the River Angler Trail will be closed.
Work is expected to be completed before sockeye salmon arrive in a June run that draws dozens of anglers and campers to the area, officials said.
The construction will improve road safety and stabilize shoreline issues, said Darin Watschke, public affairs manager for the Chugach National Forest.
“But it just takes time and they have to start it at a time of year that doesn’t suit them,” Watschke said.
The closure also cuts off access to all campgrounds, parking lots and the 21-mile Russian Lakes Trailhead, a popular route to the Russian River Falls that provides access to hunting. Barber, Aspen Flats and Upper Russian public use cabins will be accessible from the Upper Russian Lakes East Trailhead near Snug Harbor Road or by floatplane.
The closure is expected to last until June 1, before the salmon fishery opens for the season.