ANCHORAGE - The National Park Service is nearing completion of a deal to swap a rustic fish camp for acreage along the Lake Clark shoreline, making the Cook Inlet Region Inc. a private landowner within Lake Clark National Park.
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The land swap would resolve a land ownership dispute between the Native corporation and the National Park Service that has gone on for decades. The fish camp is used by Native nonprofit groups affiliated with CIRI, as well as guests of the Rasmuson Foundation.
CIRI had occupied the land, over Park Service objections, since the mid-1980s. While it looked as if CIRI would be kicked off the land, that order never came.
In a federal budget bill steered by U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, Congress directed the park to postpone eviction of the camp while the Park Service tried to find an alternative.
Park Service officials say the deal is almost complete to swap five acres where the fish is located for 80 acres of Lake Clark shoreline now owned by Southcentral Foundation, CIRI's largest nonprofit.