Damage shuts down Zarembo dock until at least mid-summer

The Roosevelt Harbor parking lot on Zarembo Island has undergone major upgrades since last year, from drainage improvements to a new program that deters users from abandoning their vehicles. But after a major windstorm last December, the harbor dock needs repairs and will likely be closed until mid-summer, at the earliest.

“We have submitted a contract to fix the dock, but the timeline is not as quick as we have hoped for,” said Tory Houser of the U.S. Forest Service Wrangell Ranger District. “We anticipate it will go out for bid in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully, we will get some good bids on that project, we just don’t anticipate it being done until at least mid-summer. It’s even possible that it might not be operational for deer season, but I really hope that’s not the case.”

The storm knocked over a stand of trees which fell into the harbor and triggered a large wave. The wave buckled the dock and disconnected it from the gangway. The Forest Service will need to totally replace the gangway and renovate the floating dock section, Houser explained.

People can still access Zarembo, but it will be difficult to get there without a landing vessel while the harbor is being repaired.

The parking lot is a popular spot for hunters, who keep their vehicles there while they go after deer. However, the Forest Service struggled to maintain the lot in the past, since people would park their old vehicles there and abandon them.

Some vehicles became so decrepit that trees were growing inside, recalled Houser. “It was becoming a natural resources and environmental issue.”

In 2022, the Forest Service instigated a vehicle identification system to prevent the lot from becoming a jalopy graveyard. But Houser wants to remind users that they have to renew their identification stickers annually.

“We don’t want this to occur again,” she said. “We’ve got this year’s stickers available and we’d like people to come down and register their vehicles at the district. If your vehicle doesn’t have (a sticker) on it, it could be removed.”

To renew your sticker, visit the Forest Service office at 525 Bennett St. Applicants can receive an updated sticker after filling out a form with their vehicle’s make, model, year, type, vehicle identification number and location on Zarembo Island.

Parking lot users without a sticker may be subject to fines, but “we’re going to do our best to find to the owners and get them through the process,” said Houser. She doesn’t want to fine people unless absolutely necessary — the priority is keeping track of cars in the lot so that none are abandoned.

Hunters on Zarembo can look forward to an improved parking experience this season. “We had a contractor revamp that parking,” Houser said. The facility is now a “well-drained, much more environmentally friendly and sustainable parking lot.” The work was completed with funds from the Frenchie Stewardship timber sale on Wrangell Island.

 

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