Old Shooting Area in Palmer Hay Flats Sees New Life
(Juneau) – A portion of the hiking trail around Reflections Lake in the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge will be closed at times from May 31 to June 10 as crews mitigate lead contaminated soils. While most of the trail will remain open during this period, equipment will be working along the northeast corner of the lake making this limited area unsafe for visitors. Visitors are encouraged to continue using the lake and trail but will need to access the site by an alternate trail located 200 yards south of the primary access.
The lead contamination is a result of decades of indiscriminate target shooting that deposited lead shot and bullets in and around the lake shore. Federal agencies had previously cleaned up much debris, including lead contaminated soils, before transferring the land to the state which was then incorporated into the state game refuge. Recent testing indicated some lead remained at two sites with a combined area of approximately one acre. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is overseeing the lead remediation in partnership with the Department of Fish and Game.
Heavy equipment working in the area will cover the lead contaminated areas with a gravel cap. Once the lead contamination is isolated with the gravel cap, it will not pose a threat to humans or wildlife. Recent testing of fish in the lake indicates that lead is not making its way into the food chain.
Once a popular target shooting area and illegal dumping site, the lake has been transformed into a recreational site used by hikers, wildlife viewers, anglers, hunters and other recreationists. Target shooting is now prohibited in the area and additional visitor enhancements are planned for the near future.
More information on the cleanup or development plans for Reflections Lake can be obtained by calling the Alaska Department of Fish and Game at (907) 267-2281 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.