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Thread: When was the russian river campground built?

  1. #1
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    Default When was the russian river campground built?

    Just curious if anyone has any good info about when it was built and if it has been added to or expanded over the years. Thanks!

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Mid 60s

    My dad helped design, survey and build that campground in 1965, 66 or 67, I believe (I was a little kid, so I don't remember the exact year). He was an engineer with the USFS.

    I do remember that when they were building it they had to shut down work for a few days because they found a human skull.

  3. #3

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    It has been expanded a few times. I used to go there with my family when I was little in the 1960s. We have a bunch of old photos of the area back then and there is very little development and no people along the river during the peak of the red run......imagine that. Have grown up in southcentral and I've been a regular on the river since the '60s. I've seen more than one construction/expansion project on that facility. I do not know when the inital campground was built or when the road was punched in from the highway.

  4. #4

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    I can remember walking up and down the hill with stairways. Yea. Lot's few people back then! I mean a whole lot less. Those were the days!

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    Thanks I am doing a report on the area for my english class so all the info is appriciated!

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    I arrived in 1976. Back then the area that is over flow parking now was a dirt pull out and pretty much a free for all. It was not managed by an independent comapny then wither. I believe the F.S did it then. I dont believe the entrance and exit were near as nice as now. There were no stairs from the campgrounds to the river. It was criss cross the hill all the way down and of course back up. There were no boardwalks, cleaning tables, stairs leading into the river or anything. With all the foot traffic now though the boardwalks and stairs have helped the river and bank restoration very much. The russian lakes trail was a great adventure back then. I walked it the first time with my dad as a 12 year old just up from Texas. No gun just walking looking for the river or trying to hear it. yes we were stupid and lucky. We did find the river and slayed the reds and learned so much that 1st trip. June 26th, 1976 to be exact. Some sites have been upgraded since then but Red salmon loop still has the smallest sites. hope this helps
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    My uncle commanded the communications detachment at Seward in the late 30's and early 40's. He was here to visit in 1998 and we stopped at the Russian River. He told us about the trips the army ran from Seward and Anchorage via railroad to Lawing and then by boat to the confluence of the Russian and the Kenai to fish for reds. Sounded like it was a pretty big deal with tents and latrines and all.

    does anyone have some pictures or other details about this??

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    Great info guys! Keep it coming! Thanks! If anyone has old pictures or maps they can post, that would be awesome!

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Go to the Forest service

    Quote Originally Posted by AKz06 View Post
    Great info guys! Keep it coming! Thanks! If anyone has old pictures or maps they can post, that would be awesome!
    Ask for information, surveys, as-builts, statistics, etc. bet they would help you out.

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    Default Photos and maps......

    try looking at this link:

    http://vilda.alaska.edu/

    Its got a pretty good collection of historical photos. Might be something there for the Russian....

    Cheers!

    Jake

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    I sent you a PM. My husband works in the area with the Forest Service.

  12. #12

    Unhappy

    In about 1969 (or there abouts), the campground was little more than a couple of ruts leading to the river from the road. You had to park in the mud, after you hacked out a spot from the brush growning up the year before. Then along came the Russian River Fire. There were two Army Battalions from Ft. Rich and a couple hundred firefighters working for BLM that staged operations from there. The big circle that is still a fixture in the campground was the LZ that got dozed out, for the choppers. Back then we used Hueys to ferry the firefighters. The Army Combat Engineers did a whole bunch of dozing that summer. Opened the place right up and pretty much made it what it is today. The Forest Service allowed some of the dozed up areas to grow back, instead of keeping them cleared, in Forest Service Fashion. It could have been better, if they would have let it develop as it was designed by the LT, from the Army. This young LT had vision, something the beauracrats from the Forest Service lack. If anything, you should be very critical of the Forest Service in their mishandling of the entire campground and surrounding area. We actually had quasi roads leading into the back country to serve as transportation corridors for the Armored Personnel Carriers.
    Fishing was great that year, it was closed to the general public and with hundreds of hungry men to feed, we filled water buffalo's with reds and had the cooks clean and cook them. It has seen improvements and increased use each year since then. But this does not expain when it was designated as an official access point to the river. The old original ferry is still in the back of the cafe there in Cooper Landing. If you get down that way, you could take some pics and make a photo essay out of your report.
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Great report AKRES. The original ferrys is sitting of to the right side of Gwins in cooper landing. I thought I had a pitcure of it but i guess not
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

  14. #14

    Talking

    Nothing to do with the campground, but another bit of trivia, that you might not read in the Forest Service History Books, is how during the fire, with the massive amount of manpower at hand, these guys went down to the creek and cleared out hundreds of years worth of deadfalls from the water channel. It was choked up real bad and walking along it was all but impossible. Since that time, I have noticed there are a few places needing it again. Think the Forest Service will provide or even allow that to happen?
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
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    Give the folks at the Seward Ranger District of the Forest Service a call- they're the agency that manages the site. (907) 224-3374.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akres View Post
    Nothing to do with the campground, but another bit of trivia, that you might not read in the Forest Service History Books, is how during the fire, with the massive amount of manpower at hand, these guys went down to the creek and cleared out hundreds of years worth of deadfalls from the water channel. It was choked up real bad and walking along it was all but impossible. Since that time, I have noticed there are a few places needing it again. Think the Forest Service will provide or even allow that to happen?
    Just think of all the vital fish habitat that took hundreds of years to accumalate that was removed.... This indeed is very sad bit of trivia.

  17. #17

    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by TYNMON View Post
    Just think of all the vital fish habitat that took hundreds of years to accumalate that was removed.... This indeed is very sad bit of trivia.
    Actually NO. Look at the numbers and escapements. The river is far better off for it. Have you been very far up the Killey? That is pretty much what it was like. Better suited for Bears than fish and fishermen.
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akres View Post
    Actually NO. Look at the numbers and escapements. The river is far better off for it. Have you been very far up the Killey? That is pretty much what it was like. Better suited for Bears than fish and fishermen.
    So you are telling me that the woody debris was hindering fish production? Sorry, but this is highly unlikely... The presence of woody debris is a factory for fish food (web of aquatic insects).

    Can you imagine the increase in production for coho, chinook, and rainbow... Not only would this woody debris enhance the streambed complexity, imagine the amount of sockeye carcass's that would get lodged in the debris....

    I don't think you Killey example is very well founded... The Kelly and Russian River watershed could not be more different... I have installed and ran a fishwheel up the Kelly and am weel aware of how difficult it is to navigate... Fish production is not limited on the Killey by the presence of woody debris however, but low glacial turbidities and very cold water, both that are not problems in the Russian River.

  19. #19

    Thumbs up

    The other thing you might want to mention in your report, is the old Sportsman's Lodge. It was on the north side of the confluence with the Russian and Kenai. It was a going concern in it's prime. I am sure there are pics of it floating around the internet. Another interesting topic for the report might be annual escapement numbers of fish and increased numbers in fishermen and fish harvested. The numbers I have seen, are quite staggering.
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
    ~~Abraham Lincoln~~

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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    I remember the old sportsmans lodge. You could freeze your fish there for about a buck a peice per day back in the 70's. Had a little diner in it and made huge pancakes
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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