New owner plans private campground along Knik River
A new, private campground is coming to the Knik River area in the Butte.
Jim Parker recently bought a 93-acre parcel of land north of the river that includes a gravel strip near the water. He has big plans to improve the area and create the Knik Campground.
“The property came with five cabins so those will be back in the woods a bit, some tent camping, and then for people who have RVs. But the main thing that I’m working on is we need some kind of toilet facilities: water, power, things like that. So just the basic amenities for a campground,” Parker explained.
The gravel bed is a place that’s known to get rowdy in the summer. It’s easy to spot makeshift fire pits and shattered beer bottle glass throughout the lot.
“The place was kind of wild last summer and I talked to a lot of my friends who frankly didn’t come out here because of some of the stuff,” he said.
Parker said there have been problems with squatters who’ve moved in and trashed the place.
“Mattresses, buckets of nastiness that people were using and then dumping a little further away from the camp,” he explained.
He said a group called Friends That Ride recently held a community clean-up to remove most of the litter.
There’s still bits and pieces to pick up, including a rotting moose carcass tucked into the woods.
“It’s disgusting. I think she was dumped here,” Parker said.
There will still be access to the river but Parker said he needs to get the word out that most of the land is now closed for public use. He put up a temporary fence while the area is under construction but that hasn’t deterred some people who moved one of the massive metal barriers to make their own way in.
“I’m not trying to tell people how to live their lives. I’m trying to tell them not to try and live it here," Parker said. "This is not the place.”
There were several people in the area Wednesday. One couple out riding horses said they thought the private campground might restrict access to land they currently use. A man heading out with an ATV said the trash was a huge problem and if it was his land he’d “close it up and not let anyone in.”
Parker hopes to have the Knik Campground open sometime this summer, depending on how construction goes. He’s still working on prices for day-use and camping but said it will be comparable to state park fees.
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