Copper River Watershed Trying To Raise Funds To Clean Up Junk, Vehicles At The Kotsina Near Chitina

Fishwheels, campers, cutting tables, and vehicles at the river in Chitina. 2006. (Photo, Courtesy Neil Hannan)  Back in the old days in ...

Fishwheels, campers, cutting tables, and vehicles at the river in Chitina. 2006. (Photo, Courtesy Neil Hannan) 
Back in the old days in the Copper Valley, lodges were conveniently located on rivers. Trash from the lodge was frequently thrown into the river and washed away downstream. This was really common – and quite effective. Out of sight, out of mind.  

At Sourdough,  years ago,  BLM found "middens" (an old garbage dump) along the Gulkana riverbanks where the campground is. As the river washed away, small pieces of old trash stuck up, out of the sandy shores.

An Old Chitina Truck That Never Made It To The Dump – Or Down To The River – And Was Repurposed As A Flower Pot. (File Photo, Country Journal)

There were impromptu, unregulated dumps all over the Copper River Valley in the days before Copper Basin Sanitation regulated disposal at the main landfill near the Gulkana Airport. Dumps sprang up in unlikely places, like dandelions in a lawn. There was even a big unregulated dump in downtown Glennallen, behind the "old" Parks Place grocery during the Pipeline days. That dump attracted large numbers of bears, who would roam through the burning trash, eating whatever they could find and providing locals with bear-viewing opportunities within a few hundred feet of the Glenn Highway. 

One of the most popular unregulated dumps in post-Pipeline years was at Gakona Junction, back on the old Richardson Highway near the corner. Another was near Chitina.  Years ago, after you passed through the cut in the rock, and when you rounded the bend after you left Chitina, you could see that people had backed up to the cliffs above the river and thrown trash, garbage and large household objects down the cliffs.

At Kotsina, near Chitina, residue from trash and garbage around abandoned "quasi -recreational" vehicles and busted-up motorhomes still litters the sandy shores.

The Copper River Watershed is working on clearing large objects, such as sand-clogged vehicles, motorhomes and "other junk" from the waters near Chitina. They're looking for $15,000 in donations for cleanup to take place when water levels are low, in late September or early October.


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