January 6, 2011 |

Chilkoot corridor work postponed

A planned meeting to discuss designating a portion of the Chilkoot Lake watershed a state recreation site or state recreation area has been postponed until further notice.

State Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Haines, said this week that the replacement of state parks director James King will delay consideration of the idea.

"(Parks officials) thought it best that we just wait. The new director may want a different direction on this," Thomas said. Gov. Sean Parnell has not yet named a successor to King.

Discussion of riverside improvements and the state park access road also will wait, Thomas said. At a Dec. 3 meeting attended by King, residents supported Division of Parks control of the road, bear-viewing platforms and a management plan of the corridor.

Parks officials recently released a conceptual site plan of the area that includes 270 feet of new boardwalks, elevated walkways, benches and viewing stations near Deer Rock. It includes 10 parking spaces.

Another plan – which Thomas said he does not support – would create a riverside walkway from Lutak Bridge to Chilkoot weir. Thomas said residents at the December meeting were concerned that too much riverside work would spoil the natural beauty of the site.

Thomas said Department of Transportation officials have expressed willingness to transfer authority for Chilkoot River road to the state Department of Natural Resources. Thomas said he also has asked DOT to investigate adding a bike and pedestrian lane to Lutak bridge.