Anywhere else, the valley carved by the Knik River in Butte, Alaska, could be a national park, according to the Stock Daily Dish.
Tucked between ramparts of the Chugach Mountains, in the shadow of the 6,400-foot bulk of Pioneer Peak, the brawny, braided river gives way to stunning views of Knik Glacier.
But even though a state public-use area was created here in 2006, not all the gravel bars of the Knik River come with the rules and regulations of an official park.
Instead, the flat and lightly policed river beaches just 45 minutes from Anchorage tend to draw fun-loving locals and visitors, as well as illegal activities and trash dumping.
Now, some wonder if the development of a private campground will chase some of the Knik’s less courteous users from at least one popular riverfront area — or just push them somewhere else.
The private campground is the brainchild of Jim Parker, a retired fighter jet pilot who moved to a 93-acre property next to the river about a year ago.
He said his decision to create a supervised camping area was made out of “purely selfish motivation” after he realized what a mess the place was: dead poached moose, human waste and literally tons of dumped appliances and other garbage.
“I take my dogs out every day. I’d always go out there riding my horses,” Parker said. “I kinda knew it was a little rough around the edges. But the amount of trash out there was just disgusting.”
He’s installing an RV-friendly campground with fire pits and hookups as well as trash and restroom facilities. The site — located west of the Old Glenn Highway on the north side of the Knik River — came with five fairly large cabins that he plans to move, plumb and wire.
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