October 11th, 2013
Contact: Phil Shephard, 903,7818
GRAND OPENING OF THE CAMPBELL CREEK ESTUARY
Land deal transformed historic homestead into city’s newest natural area park
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Friday October 11th noon – 9531 Selkirk Drive. Six years of advocacy and fundraising, hundreds of loads of gravel, and many volunteer work days later, the Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area is being opened to the public on Friday. Come visit Anchorage’s newest natural area park for the first time!
Please join us to celebrate these 60 acres of public lands, filled with new trails, peaceful overlooks, and breathtaking views of rich coastal wildlife habitat.
The Great Land Trust (GLT) is a non-profit organization that raised more than $7.7 million to purchase the property at the estuary, and transferred it to the municipality as a “natural area” park managed by the MOA’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Phil Shephard, Executive Director of GLT says, “We are very proud of the efforts of so many local individuals, businesses, foundations, non-profit organizations, and agency partners that made this amazing project possible–all to make our city a better place to live!”
The Campbell Creek Estuary is one of few public access points to the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge. It is the most intact ecologically functional watershed in Anchorage, and attracts bald eagles, sandhill cranes, river otters and five species of salmon, among other wildlife. Campbell Creek winds through the mud and grasses on the flats. Sometimes belugas chase the salmon up the creek. From the edge of the flats, you can see up and down the majestic coastline.
Steve Rafuse is the municipal park planner who managed the completion of the new trails and overlooks at the estuary. “Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area is the newest addition to the Anchorage Parks system. The opening of this Natural Area is a testament to years of successful collaboration and the Municipality’s commitment to stewardship and recreation.”
At the heart of the project are hundreds of advocates, volunteers, and donors. Their voices were integral in the master plan process, and whose their helped build the trails.
“We’re proud to have demonstrated public support for the estuary, Anchorage’s newest natural area. Over 400 of our members called and emailed the Mayor to make sure that the Estuary was turned into parkland for all to enjoy instead of private development,” said Polly Carr, Executive Director of Alaska Center for the Environment. “This area is especially important to us, as Campbell Creek is an integral part of our Trailside Discovery Camp.”
The estuary holds different meanings to us all, but one thing is certain. On Friday we will look to the future – generations of Anchorage families will reap the benefits that this rich coastal habitat offers our great city.
Thank you to the following organizations and individuals who helped make this project a reality!
Gary Baugh, Steve & Karen Compton, Robert B. Gillam, Leonard Hyde, Eric McCallum & Robin Smith, John McManamin, Nancy McManamin, Robin McManamin, Ed & Cathy Rasmuson, Jerry Ulmer, Henry & Karin Wilson, Alaska State Legislature, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers , National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, NOAA Fisheries, The Nature Conservancy, Friends of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge, Rasmuson Foundation, Kumin Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Frances & David Rose Foundation, Municipality of Anchorage Parks & Recreation Department, Anchorage Park Foundation, Alaska Geographic, Mears Middle School, Alaska Center for the Environment, Coastal Impact Assistance Program, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Alaska Sustainable Salmon, Department of Natural Resources, Alaska State Legislative Grant, Alaska Recreation Trails Program, Alaska State Parks, ConocoPhillips Alaska, Granite Construction, Airport Equipment Rental, Shoreside Petroleum, USKH Inc. , Discovery Drilling, Inc, REI, JL Properties, Hawk Consultants, Campbell Lake Homeowners Assn., Reeves Ammodio, LLC., Youth Employment in Parks, and the Student Conservation Association.