Starting at noon on Friday, locals and visitors will again be able to launch their boats and enjoy the day-use area at the Chena River State Recreation Site. Thanks to a joint clean-up effort with the Alaska Division of Forestry and Fire Protection alongside Fairbanks Rescue Mission, and restoration work by the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, the rec site will be partially reopened for day-use through the end of the season.
“This is an encouraging example of state agencies, local government, law enforcement, and nonprofits coming together to find a solution on behalf of the people in the Interior,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “The Alaska Department of Natural Resources, who coordinated the partnership, shares my vision of access to outdoor recreation for all Alaskans.”
The 23.8-acre Chena River State Recreation Site was closed in June 2020 due to chronic illegal behavior that was a threat to staff and the general public, driving out law-abiding visitors and diminishing the quality of life in Fairbanks. In early August of this year, Fairbanks Police and the Fairbanks Rescue Mission offered services to all individuals at the closed site before the clean-up effort began.
With the wildland fire season in Alaska ramping down, firefighters were available to target underbrush, low tree limbs, and dangerous standing dead trees in the area. A side benefit of the forestry efforts was enhanced line-of-sight to discourage illegal activity while maintaining a forest canopy in this urban Fairbanks area. Further clean up targeted litter and hazardous waste, covered graffiti, and removed the vandalized host cabin.
“While we know there have been longstanding issues with illegal activity that won’t go away overnight, we’re hopeful that the clean-up efforts and help from the community, along with continued diligence from law enforcement, will help keep this area moving in the right direction,” said Fairbanks Mayor Jim Matherly.
The site will reopen to the public at noon on Friday, August 26. Firewood from the clean-up is available on a first come basis.
· Boat launch
· Day-use area
Facilities remaining closed
· Overnight camping
· Dump station
The facilities will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily through the end of the season. Boat launch and parking fees apply. The pavilion area is first-come, first-served. Portable toilets are available.
This multi-agency effort also included the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Alaska Department of Public Safety, and Great Northwest.