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Alaska State Parks Blog
The Latest/Greatest Public Use Cabin in the Northern Region
For those wishing a quick getaway, the new Compeau Cabin in Chena River State Recreation Area might be the perfect fit. Constructed two miles up the Compeau Trail, the cabin is easy to get to yet far enough to deliver that real Alaskan experience. The cabin, located on a short spur trail, is nestled in a Birch Forest with southern exposure.
The trailhead to the cabin is located at mile-29 Chena Hot Springs Road, 35 miles northeast of Fairbanks. This multi-use, state of the art trail is six feet wide with maximum grades of 10%. The trail is closed during spring break-up from April 20th through late May to all but foot traffic.
Trail Riding Opportunities
The trail beyond the Compeau Cabin follows a sustainable 16-mile alignment to the Colorado Creek Public Use Cabin. It also connects to the Mike Kelly Trail at mile 10, providing another 13 ½ miles of summer backcountry trail adventures. During the winter, outdoor enthusiasts have access to over 100 miles of trail from the cabin.
Funding for the cabin came from the Recreational Trails Grant Program, a federally funded program administered by the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. The 14’ x 16’ cabin package was provided by Logging and Milling Associates out of Delta Junction www.loggingandmilling.com. Alaska Conservation Corps members and staff provided the muscle. The project took just under three months from log delivery, September 11th, 2019, to first cabin rental, December 6th, 2019.
The cabin sleeps a maximum of 6 people and features two bunkbeds. Furniture includes a table, several benches, and kitchen countertop. There’s also a rack above the woodstove to dry clothes. Cabin renters will need sleeping bag, pad, food, cookware, dishes, utensils, cooking stove and fuel, matches, lighters, fire starter, 9-volt battery for smoke detector, first aid items, plastic trash bags, jug of water, saw or axe just in case, firewood, flashlight, and lantern.
Are you ready for that real Alaskan experience? The cabin rents for $45 per night plus a $8 booking fee. For additional information and reservations visit www.alaskastateparks.org
Roger MacCampbell - Retired Chief Ranger at Kachemak Bay State Park
Education in Park Management (A.S.) and Environmental Education and Interpretation (B.A.)
Ranger Roger MacCampbell “retired” in April of 2015 but, the truth is, he can’t stop giving to Alaska State Parks. As a member of Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park, he is currently helping to coordinate 50th anniversary events commemorating the establishment of the park. Gregarious and humble at the same time, he always has a twinkle in his eye and a story to tell.
“Before joining Alaska State Parks in 1984, I worked as a seasonal employee with the National Park Service as an intern at Pinnacles National Monument and Yosemite for $5.00 a day. I worked weekends and summers to get through college and then winters and summers looking for a permanent Ranger job. I worked fire crew, fire lookout, Park naturalist (guided snowshoe hikes), ski patrolman and law enforcement ranger at 21. I eventually applied for a job with Alaska State Parks and started as a ranger in Ninilchik.
I worked with Chief Ranger Bill Garry, who as a park ranger in Yosemite had once surprise delivered a half case of beer via horse back to me where I was working as a back-country intern in Yosemite. I figured then and there that was a job for me, riding horseback and supplying beer! In 1985, I became chief ranger for the southern district of the Kenai Area, which included the state park units from Ninilchik to Kachemak Bay. Our district had three rangers, several Alaska Conservation Corps employees, and a handful of volunteers.
I wanted this job in part because I wanted to live in Homer. I stayed with Alaska State Parks because I soon realized that I had the opportunity to contribute in developing a fairly new Alaska State Park system. It truly felt like going to the minor leagues after playing in the major leagues for years. We drove old castoff Department of Transportation pickup trucks with orange paint interiors and “bubble gum” red lights, lousy “low band” radios and uniforms that we sewed our own patches on.
I worked and helped develop several policies—most of which have been expanded and improved upon since: uniform, law enforcement, Division boat operator credentialing and firearms. I was one of division’s first field training officers and firearm instructors.
Working with our team to develop campgrounds, trails and other facilities was rewarding. But especially rewarding was co-authoring the rewrite of the Kachemak Bay State Park management plan and managing the Division’s post-oil spill Marine Recreation Project grants that I had applied for. These grants afforded building many of the trails, a dock and cabins in KBSP and facilities in Anchor Point and Ninilchik. The major event during my tenure was the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. This was definitely one of the most drawn-out and traumatic events for State Parks and for me, personally.
Also memorable was to witness the steadily increasing professionalism and quality of field staff within the Division; the number of young people that came from the U.S. and abroad to volunteer with Alaska State Parks, some who stayed and became contributing members of our communities and finally, the camaraderie and the friendships over the years, made and kept.”