Lower Kasilof River Boat Retrieval Project

Project Description
Drift boat at boat launch

The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation (DPOR) has received capital improvement funds to develop a public drift boat takeout on the lower Kasilof River in an effort to address increasing demand for this type of facility on the popular drift-only fishing portion of the river. Phase 1 of the project includes planning, property investigation and purchase along with some preliminary design and environmental clearance work, site planning, preliminary permitting, and initial property development. A planning process will be used to consider user needs and the physical constraints of the river as well as to get public feedback on the project.


The Kasilof River State Recreation Site boat launch, located at mile 109.4 on the Sterling Highway, provides a put-in and takeout, but there is no public takeout available on the lower portion of the river. Private retrieval facilities along the river have been somewhat unreliable over the years. The Division has received comments from the public since the late 1980’s regarding the lack of a public retrieval on the river. Concerns intensified in 2007 when a popular private boat retrieval site announced that they would be closing the following year.

Two men fishing on the Kasilof River

In 2008, DPOR and the Alaska Department of Fish & Game funded a feasibility study (see link below) on two parcels of land identified for analysis as potential launch/retrieval alternatives. These sites were evaluated, through a public process, for their hydrologic qualities, constructability, potential for site contamination, cultural resources, capitol and operations and maintenance costs, and permit constraints. Although neither site proved to have all the necessary elements for a retrieval facility, some important factors were gleaned from the process about the public need. At the time of the study, the public opposed creating a power boat launch near the drift boat fishery indicating that it would cause user conflicts and change the culture of boating and fishing on the river. Additionally, there was a great deal of concern about developing a facility within a developed subdivision where traffic associated with accessing the facility would impact neighborhoods.

Project Planning

As part of the first phase of the planning process, a short questionnaire was distributed to learn more about where a retrieval site should be located, what criteria should be established for evaluating sites and finally what type of facilities you would like to see in conjunction with the retrieval site. The Division learned a great deal from the responses (available below) to the questionnaire that then helped inform the creation of criteria that the Division will use to evaluate potential sites along the river. The criteria are organized in two parts. The first part lists a series of factors that need to be considered for each potential property and the second part is used to score potential properties on the various factors.

On October 12th a public workshop was held in Kasilof to present the draft criteria and solicit feedback on how it could be improved. After receiving additional feedback during the comment period, the evaluation criteria were finalized. On December 6th, a multi-disciplinary team of representatives from DNR conducted a field investigation of the eight available parcels and scored them using the evaluation criteria and score sheets along with the available data for each site. The data included cultural resource site information, photos, aerial photography, topographic maps, flood & soil data, community density & tax assessment maps and survey/status plats. By mid January the parcel selection criteria score sheets were tabulated. Below you will find the final criteria, a map showing all the sites that were evaluated and a list of the parcels evaluated in ranked order.

Project Update

In 2015, DPOR has acquired one of the two top ranked parcels identified in the Ranked Parcel List and is in the process of negotiating with a second property owner for the purchase of an adjacent parcel. Once both parcels are acquired a planning process will be used to consider user needs and the physical constraints of the river as well as to get public feedback on the project.

Documents & Additional Information

         Kasilof Boat Retrieval Project Questionnaire Results
         Final Criteria
         Map 1- Entire River (Tustumena Lake to the mouth)
         Map 2- Lower Kasilof River
         Parcel Evaluation Map
         Ranked Parcel List

2008 Lower Kasilof River Boat Launch Site Investigation Study

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

Lucille Baranko
550 West 7th Ave., Suite 1340
Anchorage, AK 99501
Email: lucille.baranko@alaska.gov
Phone: (907) 269-7506
Fax: (907) 269-8917