The Settlers Cove State Recreation Site has long been a favorite spot for Ketchikan residents and visitors alike — and the recent upgrades make it even nicer.

Located at the far end of North Tongass Highway, Settlers Cove is blessed with gorgeous views of Clover Passage and the Betton, Back, Joe and Grant islands. It has a sandy beach that’s appreciated by sunbathers, picnickers and kayak-launchers. There’s a neat cabin and a tent platform, in addition to the cozy campground. There’s access to the Lunch Creek Loop trail and the longer route out to Lake Emery Tobin. The bridge across Lunch Creek makes for great viewing of the creek’s cascades and, in the late summer and early fall, a horde of pink salmon battling up the torrent.

And the area itself wasn’t always quite so easy to reach. Old-timers will recall when the last approximately 2.5 miles of the “highway” was unpaved, and often a treacherous, rutted mess in the wintertime. The highway paving was a definite improvement, as have been the aforementioned trails, campground, bridge, picnic shelters, cabin and tent platform.

Then, earlier this year, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources signed a contract for a federal aid project that consisted of reconditioning and paving the access road from the highway to the main parking lot area (ending above the campground), and paving the main parking lot and the parking area by the lower Lunch Creek trail access area. The nearly completed project also involves interpretive and other signage, in addition to trail repairs.

The project’s components are a nice update to the overall site, helping to ensure that Settlers Cove will continue to be an attractive recreation area for Ketchikan residents and visitors for years to come.

We understand that the Alaska State Parks system has many maintenence and other capital-dollar needs. The Ketchikan area can appreciate that some of the available resources have been directed to the Settlers Cove State Recreation Site.