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On a small, wooded parcel located between the Delta River and Richardson Highway, two brownfields – an old shooting range and a historic dump – needed reviving. A brownfield is a contaminated site.

The vision of the Delta Junction Trails Association (DJTA) and many others in the Delta Junction community resulted in the Delta Junction River Walk Park.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Brownfields Program addresses abandoned or under-utilized properties, like the former Delta Junction River Walk Park land, where the threat of real or perceived contamination impacts a community development project.

DEC Brownfields has worked for several years with DJTA to address both the old shooting range and the former dump site so that the River Walk Trails could be safely built and enjoyed by the community.  Beginning in 2016, DEC supported initial site assessment efforts conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at the old shooting range. Spent bullets and shotgun pellets caused elevated concentrations of lead, arsenic, and antimony to be present in the soil, posing a health risk to people, plants, and animals. Based on that work, DEC provided contracting services to clean up the old shooting range: excavating, chemically treating, and disposing of 800 cubic yards of contaminated soil, which allowed for construction of Phase I of the trail system.

Last year, DJTA was awarded additional contracting services to identify options for addressing the four-acre historic dumpsite located in the northwest corner of the property. DJTA, in conjunction with the City of Delta Junction, worked with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to allow for the installation of a fence to restrict access to the dump area, which would allow for the safe use of an expanded trail network. DEC Brownfields delineated the extent of the historic dump, removed items outside of the proposed fence area, and installed a fence to discourage trespassing that could result in exposure to remaining hazards. 

With the historic dump now restricted, more of the property can be accessed and enjoyed safely once Phase II is completed. 

DEC Brownfields has enjoyed partnering with DJTA and the City of Delta Junction and is excited to see the community actively enjoying the new trails!