The sentence I heard most often at the open house the evening of March 16 2010 was "Thank you - you listened and took our comments into consideration." As I listened to participants at the open house, I got a sense that most people were supportive of the new configuration proposed for Miller Point. At least one local tour operator was very supportive and stressed the importance of safe and convenient access to Miller Point and the military museum for his elderly and disabled clients. His comments reminded me of the park's mission to serve all of its visitors.
Attendance, according to the sign-up list, was a total of 37 with 2 reporters and 5 KSP CAB members included in that number. Eight of ten KSP CAB members were present, talking with attendees and listening to comments and concerns. Also present and listening were two Parks staff from Anchorage and three Kodiak Parks staff.
I believe that as the public has learned the facts about the MPAP and realized the complexity of the situation, they've come to realize that Alaska State Parks is doing a good job of trying to remedy the safety and access concerns at Miller Point while taking into account the wishes of local residents as well as other visitors to the park.
The eight-tenths (.8) acre parking/large vehicle turn around area has been reduced to two-tenths (.2) acre with only 37 trees affected and the area will have ADA accessible parking. Ambulances, fire trucks, and law enforcement vehicles will be able to access the area and maneuver safely in the case of an emergency. The RV Overflow parking lot will become the central parking area with a trail head at the loop road leading up to Miller Point, thus enhancing the visitor experience and sense of discovery. The campground currently impacting important historical artifacts will be moved to an area yet to be determined - possibly in the Ram site area. Public input on campground placement is important.
Hard copies of the site plans are available at the Fort Abercrombie Visitor Center - see for yourself!
I hope that those who submit written comments will heed the advice of the public comment brochure so that their comments are substantive and contribute to a constructive dialogue.
FYI - a far more serious and disturbing issue facing Kodiak State Parks at this time is the FAA proposal to extend the north/south runway at the Kodiak Airport 1200 feet toward the mouth of the Buskin River. The agency review draft admits that such an extension would damage Buskin River salmon runs, thus threatening sport and subsistence fishing in the area.
Stacy Studebaker has started a blog, "Stewards of the Buskin River" and a Facebook page related to this issue. Look for both to be updated within the next week. The agency review of the draft EIS for the project has just been completed. No word at this time as to when the general public can review the draft EIS.