The Kenai Peninsula’s popular Russian River Campground, as well as pedestrian and vehicle access, closed Tuesday as construction crews repair and improve the road — work that’s expected to continue until next summer.
The 83-site campground is located off the Sterling Highway in Cooper Landing and is a popular place for fishing, hiking and camping. A 1-mile stretch of the campground road will undergo reconstruction to increase slope stability and resistance to frost heaves, Chugach National Forest officials say.
The road closure means anyone who wants to access hiking or angling trails along the Russian River will need to cross over using the Russian River Ferry or a private boat instead of walking or driving in. Access trails to the campground from the River Angler’s Trail will be closed.
Work is expected to wrap up before sockeye salmon arrive in a June run that draws scores of anglers and campers to the area, officials say.
The construction will improve road safety and stabilize stream bank problems, said Darin Watschke, public affairs officer with the Chugach National Forest.
“But it just takes time and they have to start it during an inconvenient time of year,” Watschke said.
The closure also cuts off access to all campgrounds, parking lots and the start of the 21-mile Russian Lakes Trail, a popular route to the Russian River Falls that provides hunting access. The 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, prior to salmon fishing opening for the season.