State park ranger Preston Kroes closed Chilkoot Lake campground this week, about 10 days earlier than in recent years.
“With me being the only employee and everything going on… We gave (campers) the big Thanksgiving weekend, but I’m shutting it down,” Kroes said.
The campground was “jam-packed” with visitors last weekend and there were several encounters with bears, including the fourth incident this season of a bear thrashing a tent, he said.
The campground has been closed to tent camping since mid-summer and the tent thrashed last weekend was being used for storage, not for overnight sleeping, he said.
“There was so much human activity out there that any place that bears came out of the woods, they were bumping into anglers,” Kroes said.
The bear run-ins involved a green-tagged, juvenile bear that’s been active along the river much of the summer, and “Speedy,” a collared sow, he said.
Although the campground will be gated shut, Chilkoot’s day-use area and one restroom will remain open, Kroes said.
In other parks news, Southeast Roadbuilders of Haines is completing $280,000 in improvements to the Chilkat State Park Road, Kroes said. The project includes adding gravel to portions of the road starting a short distance past its intersection with Mud Bay Road, he said.
The improvements represent the most work done on the road in years but not a permanent fix, Kroes said, as some sections already are washboarding.