Sunday, July 27, 2008

Alaska Campground is Diamond in the Rough

PALMER -- The sun is making a rare appearance as Alex Rossiter drives through the parking lot of the Kepler Bradley Lakes State Recreation Area and pulls up by the bathrooms. As campground host, she cleans the decrepit outhouses as one of her daily duties. Collecting day-use fees, renting canoes and assisting visitors are some others.

But these days, things have been slow, Rossiter said.

"The rain has just messed us up this year," said Rossiter, who worked as campground host last year and said warmer days brought sunbathers almost daily. "I worry about my campground because we're small. The bigger ones can handle the lack of business."

To call this season "summer" has been a stretch. With only two days above 70 degrees so far, and just a handful of sunny days, not many people seem excited about jumping into a lake. Even fishermen are rare, Rossiter said.

On this partly sunny afternoon, one family packed up its fishing gear after an unsuccessful outing just as a lone angler walked down the gravel pathway leading to the lake. A third family walked with their toddler in the picnic area. Other than that, the parking lot was empty.

It's a shame too because Kepler Bradley is a park with wonderful potential.
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