Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Seven Lakes Trail ~ Kenai Peninsula

  1. #1
    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    tustumena & kasilof
    Posts
    899

    Default Seven Lakes Trail ~ Kenai Peninsula

    I spent some time this week researching the history of the Seven Lakes Trail on the Kenai Peninsula …

    In the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Reflections visitor guide it says…” Skilak Lake Road was originally built as part of the Sterling Highway around 1947. Many of the campgrounds along this section of road were built as camps for the construction crews that built the highway. Trails such as the Seven Lakes Trail were created to link the new highway to the Moose River so people could access new areas for hunting and fishing. Later, the Sterling Highway was straightened, bypassing Skilak Lake Road and creating a 19 mile loop off the present Sterling Highway .”

    In the 1952 annual Governors report to the Secretary of the Interior it mentions the Seven Lakes Trail, so we have a year for the actual construction…”As a positive measure to disperse fishermen to additional waters, the Seven Lakes Trail was completed on the Kenai Pensinsula.”

    …the “Seven Lakes” were known by that generic name prior to the early 1960’s when the lakes received individual names from the Kenai National Moose Range, the land manager at the time, for administrative purposes. In 1963 the Seven Lakes individually became Hikers, Kelly, Petersen, Egumen, Watson, Imeri, and Afonasi. Some present day maps show both the individual lake names and the group name spanning across the lakes.

    Clark Fair with the Redoubt Reporter tells us how most of these lakes were named: Watson Lake and Petersen Lake — Part of the Seven Lakes Trail system, these two bodies of water were named for former Kenai National Moose Range employees, Gerald H. “Gerry” Watson and James D. “Jimmy” Petersen, who were lost in Skilak Lake in September 1955. Watson was a federal trainee from Portland , Ore. , working at the time under Peterson, who was the assistant manager of the moose range and the son of former area marshal, Allan Petersen. Although their bodies were never found, officials, who did find an oar and a gas can from their boat, believed that the two men drowned. Egumen Lake — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service named this lake in the early 1960s, using a word sometimes spelled “Igumen,” a Romanian title for a monk or the father superior of a monastery. The name applied to the peninsula’s Russian Orthodox history, particularly to Father Igumen Nikolai, the priest who founded the current Kenai parish in the 1840s. Kelly Lake — Another of the bodies of water along the original Seven Lakes Trail, Kelly Lake was named for Morris Kelly, the first head of predator control in Alaska territorial days and into statehood. Afonasi Lake — Located near Watson Lake , this body of water was named for an Athabascan chief, whose name was sometimes written as “Ephanasy,” and who reportedly acted as a trailbreaker for Antone Aide, who was a mail carrier between Seward and Hope in 1903.”

    Eventually the Sterling Highway was rerouted, straightened out and paved in the mid-1950’s and its new path crossed the old Seven Lakes Trail. Things change, and the trail that eventually became maintained and used and is commonly known today as the Seven Lakes Trail begins at the original location of Engineer Lake trailhead, passes near Hidden Lake but is connected to it by a spur trail, then routes past Hikers Lake, and ends at the Kelly Lake trailhead.

    David Nulsen in Trailering To Alaska published 1969 documents that at least by that time the northern trailhead was at the Kelly / Petersen Lake campground area: Kelly Lake Campground USFW : This campground site along the Sterling Highway is in a partially burned area. Less than one mile from the busy highway, Kelly Lake , Petersen Lake and the Seven Lakes Trail are reached by an access road at mile 68.

    But the exact route and destination of the original Seven Lakes Trail north of the present day Sterling Highway is a mystery to me. How far did the 1952 trail reach, all the way to the Moose River or just somewhere along the East Fork, or even shorter like Afonasi or Watson Lake ? Perhaps the answer lies in period aerial photograhs if they exist for that location. Or personal knowledge or some old dusty government report from the 1950's. Using google earth was inconclusive. I do remember many years ago they used to mark the path of the original trail where it crossed the Sterling highway with yellow paint like a miniature highway as a no passing zone for hikers. Then one time it was painted to look like hikers yellow footprints crossing the Sterling . They haven’t done that for a very long time now.

    If you can add to this information or make corrections to what I’ve posted here please share and tell us what you know about the Seven Lakes Trail.

    References:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/28415877/K...ildlife-Refuge

    http://books.google.com/books?id=dvh...en+lakes+trail


    http://redoubtreporter.wordpress.com...ifficult-task/

    http://books.google.com/books?id=WaU...en+lakes+trail

  2. #2
    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    tustumena & kasilof
    Posts
    899

    Default

    I talked to Will Troyer on the phone today, the manager of the Kenai National Moose Range in 1963 and by his recollection the original 1952 trail might have ended at Watson Lake but he wasn't sure. I gave him my phone number and he will call me if he thinks of someone else to ask that might be a good source. A very nice guy, willing to talk. He told me the main trails he was associated with were the Kenai Canoe Trails as they were put in under his watch in the mid-1960's.

    One thing he didn't take credit for in our conversation but should have as this was important, is the naming of a lot of local lakes...

    "In the early 1960s, when Will Troyer was manager of the Kenai National Moose Range, he frequently performed aerial surveys of moose, counting particularly those animals living in the vast expanse of the 1947 Kenai burn, which had charred more than 300,000 acres of the western Kenai Peninsula.

    The moose were plentiful in those days, but Troyer experienced difficulties in nailing down the locations of the big animals because most of the hundreds of lakes and ponds on his U.S. Geological Survey maps were unnamed, so he had few reference points. “Even when I’d radio in and give my location, it was tough to explain where I was sometimes,” Troyer said. “We needed I.D.’s for the lakes.

    “So we got a list of names together, including names for the lakes in the canoe system we were building. We turned in maybe a couple hundred of them, and USGS accepted them all.”

    The moose range biologists attempted to maintain common-use names whenever possible, and they mostly selected names that pertained to various local plants, animals and landmarks. Today, those names have been on maps for so long that, for most people, they seem to have always been there."

    http://redoubtreporter.wordpress.com...rky-histories/

  3. #3
    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    tustumena & kasilof
    Posts
    899

    Default

    Since this is a thread about the 1950's I wanted to share a few photos from my early Kenai Peninsula postcard collection travelling on the newly constructed Sterling Highway. You will notice the road is still gravel in these pics taken between 1952-1954. I think these shots were taken near the old "Our Point of View Lodge" location if I'm not mistaken.

    kenaipeninsula1950s1.jpgkenaipeninsula1950s2 004.jpg

  4. #4
    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    tustumena & kasilof
    Posts
    899

    Default

    Cooper Landing and Schooner Bend bridge. The covered bridge across the Kenai River was built around 1930 and replaced in 1955.

    "One more covered bridge in Alaska, spanning the Kenai River at Schooner Bend, is about to be replaced by a modern steel and concrete span. The Schooner Bridge is the last of five covered bridges that once spanned streams on the Bureau of Public Roads system in Alaska, three of them on the Seward end of the Kenai road network and one across Mendenhall River near Juneau. Usually used only in damp climates, the shed-like covers on the old wooden bridges were built to keep moisture out of the wooden truss-joints." -- alaskamagazine.com
    The above paragraph was written in 1954.
    http://www.vermontbridges.com/cbmail.bag1.htm#item10

    kenaipeninsula1950s2 002.jpgkenaipeninsula1950s2.jpg

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tustumena_lake View Post
    Since this is a thread about the 1950's I wanted to share a few photos from my early Kenai Peninsula postcard collection travelling on the newly constructed Sterling Highway. You will notice the road is still gravel in these pics taken between 1952-1954. I think these shots were taken near the old "Our Point of View Lodge" location if I'm not mistaken.

    kenaipeninsula1950s1.jpgkenaipeninsula1950s2 004.jpg
    I see one of the post cards is "Hewitts". I knew him, he was a very good boxer. Keep the history coming.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    93

    Default

    Great pictures and information, thanks.

  7. #7
    New member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default

    I am looking for anyone with information about a plain cash Aug 24 1954 on one of the lakes along the seven lake trail system. My uncle, George Pickens was hunting on one of the lakes and crashed his Aeronca plane and died. I am trying to find out any information about the crash and the exact lake. Our family thinks it was either Kelly or Peterson Lake. Thanks in advance for any information.

  8. #8
    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    tustumena & kasilof
    Posts
    899

    Default

    Its very difficult to read but I did my best using their magnifying glass tool. Some of the words I had to kinda guess as its a poor online copy. I found this on the front page of the:

    Fairbanks Daily News Miner
    August 26, 1954
    George Pickens Killed in Crash
    Anchorage, Aug 26. A light plane crashed near Hidden Lake on the Kenai Peninsula yesterday killing the pilot George Pickens, 33, of Spenard. The civil aeronautical administration said a forestry department fire guard at Skilak Lake reported wreckage of the plane partly buried in brush was found three miles northward of Hidden Lake. The CAA said Pickens body was found beside the plane and there was evidence someone else had been at the scene. It was not known if Pickens had passengers. Pickens, a meterman for Chugach Electric Association was well known in Alaska outboard(?) racing circles. He left here Saturday on a hunting trip. Pickens is survived by his wife Thelma, of Spenard.

    http://newspaperarchive.com/fairbank...er/1954-08-26/
    The article is at the bottom of the page, in the center.

  9. #9
    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    tustumena & kasilof
    Posts
    899

    Default

    Ryder, somewhere there is a CAA official report on the crash and that will state its exact location. I'm not having any luck locating the report online as of yet.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •