Locals Discuss Trails at Campbell Creek Estuary
Some call the Campbell Creek Estuary a hidden gem
ANCHORAGE – Some call the Campbell Creek Estuary a hidden gem.
Tucked into South Anchorage, where the creek meets the Cook Inlet, it's one of the most significant bird and wildlife refuges in the city.
Now local residents can have their say on whether it's a good idea to build a trail system so more people can enjoy it.
The estuary is only known to a small number of locals and bird watchers, but by building trails, people hope more residents can appreciate the area.
"Estuaries globally are the most diverse and most significant biological resources on the planet,” said Phil Shephard, of Great Land Trust.
Great Land Trust spent years and $7.5 million on acquiring the land and seeking approval from the City of Anchorage to establish the land as a conservation area.
"We purchased the property in the fall of 2010 from two families that had owned it for nearly 60 years,” said Shephard.
This summer, the 60 acres of coastal wildlife refuge will begin the transformation into a people-friendly conservation park.
"We can put trails, we can have it open to the public; what we can't do is develop ball fields or intense infrastructure,” said Shephard.
Locals are invited to help design the new park and trails.
"If we hear from a lot of people who say, 'no, we don't want a big trail system; we like it how it is,' then we'll take it into consideration,” said Nick Moe, of the Alaska Center for the Environment.
Moe is leading the call for public input and is encouraging anyone interested to voice concerns or help with the design.
Vivian Mendenahall from the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge says she wants part of the park closed during nesting times of the Sandhill Cranes.
“Otherwise they might abandon the nest and loose the eggs or babies,” said Mendenahall.
But she loves the idea of opening the area up to more people.
"The school group here had the opportunity to see the pair of cranes flying over, and they went, 'wow.' That's what people like about the coastal refuge so close to our city.”