Lena Beach renovations to wrap up this summer

An new picnic shelter takes shape in the U.S. Forest Service's Lena Beach Recreation Area, pictured here in May 2020.
An new picnic shelter takes shape in the U.S. Forest Service’s Lena Beach Recreation Area, pictured here in May 2020. Old shelters are being reoriented and replaced. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service)

The U.S. Forest Service announced Wednesday that its new and improved Lena Beach Recreation Area in Juneau will reopen on July 1. 

The day-use area is pretty much open now, though Glacier State Contractors is still working there. 

“You could call it almost a soft opening,” said Ed Grossman, recreation programs manager for the Forest Service’s Juneau Ranger District.  

The Lena Beach area has been closed, off and on, for seasonal work since 2018. The work wrapping up now is part of the final phase. 

The project addresses safety, accessibility and environmental problems. The old picnic shelters were rotting and have been replaced and reoriented for better views. The pothole-prone dirt road is now paved, straighter and one-way. The old outhouses weren’t wheelchair accessible, the new ones are. 

And culverts and a fish ladder under the old road were problematic for salmon runs. Now there’s a bridge, and the creek flows more naturally. 

An environmental assessment was finalized back in 2015. But a lot more pre-construction work had to be done. And the money needed wasn’t available all at once. 

“It has taken longer than any of us would have liked, but we did want to address as many issues at this site that we could, and I feel that we have.”

Grossman said he didn’t have a final dollar figure for the work because there may still be some changes, and also because other agencies handled other parts of the work. But he said it’s all federal money. 

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