Chilkoot River Fishing Access and Bear Viewing Area

Background

The Chilkoot River corridor near Haines is an area rich is cultural history and archaeological sites and is a popular salmon sports fishery and bear viewing area. Lands along the corridor are within the Haines State Forest boundary and managed by the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation (DPOR). The Chilkoot Lake Road runs parallel to the Chilkoot River for just under one mile to Chilkoot Lake State Recreation Site that provides camping, a day-use area, and a boat launch. The Department of Fish and Game maintains a weir on the river. Visitors to the area use the road adjacent to the river to watch bears, fish or access Chilkoot Lake. There are few areas existing along the road that are wide enough for fishermen and visitors to park and access the river. The large numbers of visitors and commercial tour operators going to the area has led to concerns related to the degradation of the biological, cultural, and aesthetic resources of the area as well as safety concerns related to bear/human interactions and user conflicts.

In November of 2011 representatives from the Alaska Departments of Natural Resources, Fish and Game and Transportation and Public Facilities met to discuss Chilkoot River corridor management. The focus of the discussion was on solutions that would reduce the potential for bear/human conflicts in the area and ways to address other recreation management issues. The agencies identified various issues related to corridor management and recommended both short and long-term solutions.

The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation hosted a public workshop in Haines on April 17, 2012 and April 30, 2013 to discuss Chilkoot River corridor improvements and management. The Division learned from the input received at the workshops and would like to thank everyone who attended.

Project Description and Planning

Chilkoot River CabinThe Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation received capital improvement funds in 2011 to establish a bear viewing facility along the river. The Division is sensitive to issues surrounding work on the Chilkoot River corridor and these improvements were identified as a management recommendation by the involved agencies. Implementing the improvements along the Chilkoot River and Chilkoot Lake Road will allow safe access separating humans and bears for controlled viewing, additional parking in the area, and improved access to fishing and bear viewing, while facilitating emergency vehicle access and protection of cultural resources.

 

Final Site Plan and Issue Response Summary from Public Comments Received

Chilkoot River Marker Based on feedback from the public workshops, DPOR developed the Master Site Development Plan. Below you will find the Final Site Plan and Issue Response Summary summarizing the comments received and agency responses. The comments and feedback provided throughout the public process have been essential in guiding the development of the Chilkoot River Corridor. Many thanks to all those who participated in the process.

Chilkoot Lake Road / Chilkoot River Corridor

Ownership of Chilkoot Lake Road was officially transferred from the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation in 2016. In August 21, 2018, the Division received a grant from the Department of Fish and Game through the Wildlife Restoration Program (Pittman-Robertson Act) to improve the road. The nearly $1.5M grant will help augment the initial 2011 CIP to include parking improvement, resurface the road, improve drainage, and address the pedestrian and bear viewing improvements identified in the Final Site Plan.

Documents and Additional Information

Chilkoot River Corridor FINAL Site Plan
Chilkoot River Corridor - Issue Response Summary - Feb. 18, 2014

Chilkoot River Location Map     Overview Map
Report on the Chilkoot River Corridor Strategic Planning Project
Management Solutions - Short Term Solutions
Management Solutions - Long Term Solutions
Master Development

For more information, to get added to the project mailing list, or to comment contact:

Rys Miranda
550 West 7th Ave., Suite 1340
Anchorage, AK 99501
Email: rys.miranda@alaska.gov
Phone: (907) 269-8736
Fax: (907) 269-8917