Alaska‘s Soldotna campgrounds have seen a record number of visitors this year. This is according to the seasonal data provided by the Parks and Recreation Department for the Soldotna City Council’s meeting on Wednesday.
According to a report, the data shows that the overall revenue for Soldotna‘s campgrounds was approximately $500,000 more than it was in 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017. About $355,000 of the revenue came directly from Centennial Park and Campgrounds with 176 campsites.
Soldotna parks comprise two campgrounds: Centennial Park and Campground as well as Swiftwater Park and Campground. These parks are in addition to those that don’t offer camping facilities, like Soldotna Creek Park, 3 Friends Dog Park, and the Community Memorial Park, which serves as the city’s cemetery.
There were more than 11,100 day-uses of camping facilities. This is the highest of all time, Soldotna Parks and Recreation Director Andrew Carmichael wrote in a November 1 note sent to Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen. The number doesn’t include 759 campers who purchased day-use tickets for the duration of the season.
Soldotna has recorded more than 13,500 camp nights held during the summer, which Carmichael claimed was the first time that the city has ever exceeded 13,000 camp nights. He said it “is likely the most ever in one summer.”
“The abundance and late push of the reds had a great return for people, visitors and especially the area businesses,” Carmichael wrote.
He explained that the city typically relies on the data of Rotary Park to assess the impacts the sockeye salmon run had on overall camping revenue as he estimates the majority of Rotary’s income is derived from visitors who sockeye fish. Rotary’s revenue was around $26,700 this year, up over 2020’s $16,000.
Soldotna Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shanon Davis spoke about Soldotna‘s successful season during the quarterly report presented before the council last month. She noted that a large portion of Soldotna‘s summer guests originated from Anchorage where the chamber focused its marketing efforts. She also said that the camping in the city’s campgrounds was constant all through the summer, instead of being focused on July.
“An interesting note is that it wasn’t our highest year for peak season in July,” Davis told the council. “The additional camp nights came from June, August and September, which is what we really love to see.”
More information about Soldotna‘s campgrounds can be found on the city’s website at soldotna.org/departments/parks-and-recreation.