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The Mendenhall Lake Campground will be closed for most of this summer's tourist season, leaving Juneau residents and tourists with 60 fewer options for camping in Juneau, the U.S. Forest Service has announced.
The road through the campground will undergo a $500,000 to $1 million resurfacing project this summer, said Ron Marvin, a recreation staff officer at the Juneau ranger district.
The project will begin mid-May and is expected to last through July 21. It's long duration is due in part to some difficulties in the top eight inches of the gravel road currently in place at the campground. Some fine soil in the gravel is not suitable for a paved road, so the top layer must be excavated and replaced, Marvin said.
Because the campground has one entrance, it is not possible for the Forest Service to complete the project in phases, Marvin said.
The campground generally has a 40 percent occupancy rate over the summer. The fees collected contribute about $40,000 to the fee demonstration project, which pays for maintenance and special programs at Forest Service recreation areas.
The Forest Service estimates it will lose one-half to two-thirds of its revenue from the campground this summer.
"The whole demonstration project brings in about $600,000," said Marvin. "(The lost revenue) is not critical for us because it's a fairly small percentage of the entire pool of money."
The Auke Village campground, located in the Auk Bay Recreation Area, will have 13 units open for the entire season.
"One of the things we're going to be doing on the ferries is suggesting some alternative campsites for people, including private RV parks in town," Marvin said.
Skaters Cabin and the road to the West Glacier trail head will not be closed during the construction.