Sun brings visitors to Mirror Lake

Saturday, June 24, 2017 - 11:33
  • Star photo by Kirsten Swann A young fisherman on the shore of Mirror Lake June 2, 2017. The local lake is stocked with Arctic char, salmon and rainbow trout.
  • Star photo by Kirsten Swann Beachgoers crowd the shore of Mirror Lake June 2, 2017. On warm summer days, the lake is a popular destination for Chugiak-Eagle River residents.
  • Star photo by Kirsten Swann Kids play along the shore of Mirror Lake June 2, 2017. The lake is a popular destination for swimming, boating and other outdoor recreation.
  • Beachgoers crowd the shore of Mirror Lake June 2, 2017. On warm summer days, the lake is a popular destination for Chugiak-Eagle River residents. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)

Days filled with blue skies and temperatures above 70 degrees pulled crowds of Chugiak-Eagle River beachgoers to Mirror Lake Park over the first few days in June.

Located adjacent to the busy Glenn Highway, the local lakefront is popular with boaters, floaters, swimmers and splashers. On June 2, young children played in the shallows while parents watched from the shore. Teenagers chased a volleyball nearby, and sunbathers lounged in the sand. The lake draws all kinds of Alaskans.

Kevin LaFramboise, a longtime Eagle River resident and seasonal construction worker, said he came out to the beach to enjoy the warm sun and cool water before heading back to work the following week. The June afternoon marked his first trip to the lake this summer, he said. He’s been visiting for years.

“I love to swim,” he said.

Further down the beach, Celina Houser stood with her toes in the sand. It was a familiar feeling.

“I’ve been here a lot over my lifetime,” she said.

When she was younger, she came with her canoe and her dad and watched the planes land. These days, she still comes, sharing the beach with other families and community groups and picnickers.

The lake is relatively small and shallow – approximately a mile and a half around and about 10 feet deep at its deepest point, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. It holds Arctic char, Chinook salmon and rainbow trout. Visitors to the lake should also be careful of rusty nails, the product of carelessly burned pallets set ablaze during ice fishing bonfires. Eagle River/Chugiak Parks and Recreation manager Karen Richards said the department has seen social media reports about the nails, and noted that burning pallets on the lake is illegal.

Nails or no nails, when the temperature rises, the parking lot fills to overflowing. On hot summer days, Mirror Lake becomes a magnet for locals.

“It’ll get pretty busy — people are barbecuing and playing volleyball,” Houser said. “It’s usually pretty packed.”

To reach the park, take the Mirror Lake exit near Mile 23 of the Glenn Highway. Parking is free.

Contact reporter Kirsten Swann at [email protected]

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