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Keith and Jackie Campbell, Part 2

This is a continuation of an inteview with Keith and Jackie Campbell by Rachel Mason and Karen Brewster on August 6, 2010 at their home in Seward, Alaska. In this part of the interview, Keith and Jackie talk about construction of the road to Exit Glacier, their snowmachining, hunting and hiking activities, and establishment of Kenai Fjords National Park.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2010-05-10_PT.2

Project: Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park
Date of Interview: Aug 6, 2010
Narrator(s): Keith Campbell, Jackie Campbell
Interviewer(s): Rachel Mason, Karen Brewster
Transcriber: Carol McCue
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
There is no slideshow for this person.

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Putting in of first Exit Glacier Road

People they went snowmachining with

Early days of Exit Glacier Road and hiking beyond end of the road

Early days of snowmachining

Duck hunting

Women's involvement in hiking and hunting

Effect of Kenai Fjords National Park on access

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JACKIE CAMPBELL: When did they put the road the rest of the way through, then, do you remember? Seemed like a long time after that.

KEITH CAMPBELL: Yeah, it was about -- well, it was '79 or '80, '80, I guess, after it became a park. But they got some --

JACKIE CAMPBELL: Some of these figures might not be accurate, we're just guessing.

KEITH CAMPBELL: Yeah. I just put road ends "pre park" right there.

RACHEL MASON: Because that was right before the park was established in '79.

KEITH CAMPBELL: Yeah. Yeah. And so anyway, they started up -- Herman was determined to take -- that Seward should have access to that for tourism.

And he was a great city booster. Anyway, he started up this side of the river with a road.

And he got stopped -- you can drive up the Exit Glacier Road today and look at all these glaciers that are -- or, I mean, snow slides that come in, almost to the river today, probably.

And he just said it was too difficult, so that's when they started going up the other side. RACHEL MASON: I see.

KEITH CAMPBELL: And they were going up the other side when we first moved here, so it was sometime in the late '60s that they abandoned to try to get up there on this side of the road.

RACHEL MASON: What happened to the road that they tried the first time?

KEITH CAMPBELL: Oh, it's just all overgrown. And the dump is out there, and all that sort of stuff.

And -- so no. It's -- but then they would get a few thousand dollars, and then they'd poke at a few. And then somehow, this was just roughed out from -- from the river up to the glacier.

It -- maybe as wide as a Cat blade. And that's what we used to walk up when we first went up there was just -- just that wild road when you take the canoe across. Because it was just basic -- just a basic trail up there.

RACHEL MASON: Was there a group of people that you used to go snowmobiling with? JACKIE CAMPBELL: Husses, probably.

KEITH CAMPBELL: Well, Husses, basically and then we had a couple of doctors and that sort of thing.

JACKIE CAMPBELL: And when Phil was here, the park ranger. KEITH CAMPBELL: Phil Gumm, he was a ranger here for a few years. JACKIE CAMPBELL: He would snowmobile with us.

KEITH CAMPBELL: And he had a trapline up here. He would go around Paradise and these sorts of places.

RACHEL MASON: What was he trapping?

KEITH CAMPBELL: Wolverine and whatever he could catch.

JACKIE CAMPBELL: I don't know what he -- the wolverine, I remember he was so proud of that, but I don't remember the other stuff.

KEITH CAMPBELL: But no, he would catch marten and things like that.

RACHEL MASON: Is he still around? KEITH CAMPBELL: Oh, no. He's -- JACKIE CAMPBELL: He lives in Okanogan. KEITH CAMPBELL: Okanogan. JACKIE CAMPBELL: He's retired, though, now. KEITH CAMPBELL: Oh yes, for many years. JACKIE CAMPBELL: Fire department. The fire --

KEITH CAMPBELL: He was Chief of Fire for the whole state of Alaska at one time, and headquartered in Juneau when he left here.

And then he became Chief of Fire for the Okanogan Forest down in Eastern Washington until he retired. Yeah. So -- but --

JACKIE CAMPBELL: Yeah, there were different people that have come and gone, you know, --

KAREN BREWSTER: But, it's interesting that you hiked up past where the road ended, and that most people didn't bother to do that. KEITH CAMPBELL: No. JACKIE CAMPBELL: No.

KAREN BREWSTER: And was it -- even to where that road end, what kind of road was it? What kind of shape was it in?

KEITH CAMPBELL: Oh, it was just a gravel trail. JACKIE CAMPBELL: You could drive on it, though. KEITH CAMPBELL: Well, yeah, sure, you could drive on it.

JACKIE CAMPBELL: We had a pickup camper at that time and we'd take it out that far.

KEITH CAMPBELL: And then do our thing. And -- but it's -- and actually, from here on, it was Jeep-able, but just barely up to the river.

JACKIE CAMPBELL: Because the Husses had a Jeep, and we'd see how many people -- cause it didn't have a top on it -- KEITH CAMPBELL: Cling onto it. JACKIE CAMPBELL: -- decide -- figure out how many people could get on it and ride.

KEITH CAMPBELL: But it was pretty rough. But it was -- you know, you were alone most of the time. That was what was attractive to us. Just get away from the people.

KAREN BREWSTER: It seems interesting to me that -- it sounds like lots of people had snow machines here, you know, early on. And in other parts of Alaska they weren't as common yet.

KEITH CAMPBELL: Well, maybe. I don't know.

JACKIE CAMPBELL: And there were very few snow machine rules at that time. I mean, if there was a snowstorm, you could jump on your machine and go anywhere in town and nobody said a word. But --

KEITH CAMPBELL: Had a near accident, then they slammed the door on that. JACKIE CAMPBELL: Yeah, you wouldn't do that now -- KEITH CAMPBELL: But we had a dealer in town. JACKIE CAMPBELL: -- because used to ride it out to --

KEITH CAMPBELL: The Fish House. Clemens was a dealer for machines, and that -- that helps. And he had service and things like that.

They also had service out at Mile 5, there was a fellow out there who had a Ski Doo dealership, and that was before Clemens had one, and he could repair machines. Ride an hour, repair an hour in the early machines.

JACKIE CAMPBELL: The kids were hard on them. KEITH CAMPBELL: Kids were hard on them. That's right.

RACHEL MASON: Did everybody have the same brand of machine? KEITH CAMPBELL: Pretty much. JACKIE CAMPBELL: Pretty much. KEITH CAMPBELL: Yeah.

JACKIE CAMPBELL: Aldos had a Polaris, I think, or was it Noyes'? One person had one, because we didn't think -- KEITH CAMPBELL: But most of them were all Ski Doos. JACKIE CAMPBELL: -- it was a good as a Ski-Doos. KEITH CAMPBELL: Oh, yeah.

RACHEL MASON: Well, that probably helped to have one the same thing as someone elses.

KEITH CAMPBELL: Kept the dealer in business, and so -- and you tend to buy what you could get service for, so --

KAREN BREWSTER: Another thing we haven't asked about is duck hunting. If you ever did any duck hunting? You mentioned ptarmigan.

JACKIE CAMPBELL: I don't think you ever did, did you?

KEITH CAMPBELL: No, I never went to get out at five o'clock in the morning and freeze in the wet.

KAREN BREWSTER: It sounds easier than moose hunting or goat hunting.

KEITH CAMPBELL: Yeah. I don't -- ducks just never appealed to me. I don't know why it was. JACKIE CAMPBELL: Hunted pheasants in Iowa, but -- KEITH CAMPBELL: Yeah. Lots. KAREN BREWSTER: That was different.

RACHEL MASON: Or is there anything else that we haven't mentioned that you'd like to tell us about?

KEITH CAMPBELL: You've been pretty thorough. JACKIE CAMPBELL: Yeah, I don't know. KEITH CAMPBELL: Pretty thorough.

JACKIE CAMPBELL: We've done so much. We'll probably think of lots of things. RACHEL MASON: We can always add more later.

KAREN BREWSTER: It's also, you know, that -- Jackie, that you went along and did all this.

JACKIE CAMPBELL: Oh, yeah, I love doing things outdoors.

KAREN BREWSTER: Were they all -- did you notice were there other women out doing things, or --

JACKIE CAMPBELL: Well, it depended on the, you know, backpacking and the -- I don't think that -- Sam and Mary Daniels, in later years, they backpacked

because that's who we do the long -- you know, like the Resurrection Trail system, we do that with them. But not any -- that was -- they're all men.

KEITH CAMPBELL: Mary Huss doesn't hike. JACKIE CAMPBELL: Mary Huss doesn't --

KAREN BREWSTER: But Mary Huss went snow machining with you? KEITH CAMPBELL: Oh, yes. JACKIE CAMPBELL: Yeah. Snow machining, yeah. KEITH CAMPBELL: An avid snow machiner.

JACKIE CAMPBELL: But then the Daniels don't snow machine. I mean, you know, we have friends that do this and friends that do this. And we try to squeeze it all in. KEITH CAMPBELL: Yeah. You know.

KAREN BREWSTER: But the hunting, I mean, the fact that you walked along on the hunts, is that unusual?

KEITH CAMPBELL: Somebody's got to pack that critter. JACKIE CAMPBELL: Probably. RACHEL MASON: Somebody's got to cut it up.

JACKIE CAMPBELL: You know, I think in Alaska, though, there's lots of women hunters, I mean, that really shoot.

KAREN BREWSTER: Right, nowadays, but I don't know in the '70s.

KEITH CAMPBELL: Yeah, I guess you never heard of anbody much. JACKIE CAMPBELL: Yeah, not too many. KEITH CAMPBELL: Well, I take that back. Pat Williams did in her prime. JACKIE CAMPBELL: Yeah, even her mother, I think. KEITH CAMPBELL: Yeah. And that's -- they used to go hunting. But --

JACKIE CAMPBELL: Yeah, and the Eads, wasn't there some Eads women here in town that hunted maybe? KEITH CAMPBELL: Yeah, probably. JACKIE CAMPBELL: I don't know.

KEITH CAMPBELL: We never physically saw them do it.

JACKIE CAMPBELL: But our crowd of people, there weren't -- I don't know if any other women ever went when you went hunting.

I always took a good book and a pair of binoculars, and yeah.

KEITH CAMPBELL: The only other women that we really saw hiking, to any great degree, was when we went on the Chilkoot. There was lots of women on that trail.

JACKIE CAMPBELL: A few women on the Resurrection Trail. KEITH CAMPBELL: A few women on the Resurrection, but not many. In fact, I think --

KAREN BREWSTER: And this was in the '70s and '80s? KEITH CAMPBELL: Yeah, '70s and '80s.

JACKIE CAMPBELL: I don't even remember the first time we hiked the Resurrection Trail. The kids were all gone from home, so --

KEITH CAMPBELL: Yeah. Or seniors in high school. JACKIE CAMPBELL: I don' t know, the years go by too fast. KEITH CAMPBELL: Stuff like that, so -- but -- yeah. It was -- been a nice life.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, appreciate your input.

KEITH CAMPBELL: For whatever it's worth. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. No, it's good. KEITH CAMPBELL: Whatever it's worth.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, I know one question we could ask is that when the park came in, once the park was established, how that affected, you know, your access and activities. RACHEL MASON: Oh, I did ask them that. KAREN BREWSTER: Did you? RACHEL MASON: Yes, but maybe they thought --

KEITH CAMPBELL: Lots -- lots more access, that's for sure.

JACKIE CAMPBELL: But, you know, I don't think we have negative attitudes about the growth or anything because, you know, we still can do things.

And it's still just as beautiful, and I don't think of it as being detrimental as other than just we have to share it with other people.

KAREN BREWSTER: Do you still snow machine?

JACKIE CAMPBELL: Oh, absolutely. Four-wheel, you know. We still do it all.

KEITH CAMPBELL: Don't know for how long, but --

KAREN BREWSTER: So you haven't found the park being there a hindrance to your snow machining?

KEITH CAMPBELL: Well, not the park, no, but I -- the Forest, every time they make a trail, they shut it off to four-wheel drive. They make a -- they do a cut, and then they shut it off, so you can't use it.

And that's -- that's the one thing that -- that I really criticize, particularly the Forest Service, is that it's supposed to be a land of many uses, but it isn't.

I mean, they -- they decided they'd slam the door on it. And I can understand the park doing that because you can't have those kind of trails, but these other --

I mean, we've got acres and acres and acres you could go out and do recreational riding in, but there's no private land to ride on in this state, basically.

And so you just can't get out. We have a remote cabin, and it's 7 miles to the end of the road, and -- but it's tough getting there.

It's easier in the wintertime with a snow machine but -- you can four-wheel out to it, but there's just -- you know, you're just shut off from that sort of thing.

RACHEL MASON: Where is your cabin?

KEITH CAMPBELL: Oh, it's over north of Nikiski, north of Captain Cook State Park, it overlooks over -- overlooking the -- the -- JACKIE CAMPBELL: Cook Inlet.

KEITH CAMPBELL: -- Cook Inlet. And the glaciers and mountains over there and volcanoes, but it's -- you know, there's no space here on this side of the Peninsula for that sort of thing.

You just can't -- you can recreate, but you can't have something like that.

And that's the biggest thing that I criticize in the Forest Service particularly is that we could have -- we could have -- and it would be a great recreational thing for -- for outsiders to do.

Come -- you can do it in Colorado, all those mining trails, and Arizona, and New Mexico, all wide open to that sort of thing, but not -- not in Alaska. That's my major criticism of -- of that.

KAREN BREWSTER: And it's interesting that you don't find it a problem in the park, but that it's the Forest Service.

KEITH CAMPBELL: It is. The park's only 800,000 acres. The Forest's got four and a half million. You know, a lot of it you can't get to, but it's -- it's just --

JACKIE CAMPBELL: And they do put berms over the --

KEITH CAMPBELL: Every trail. You go back to Anchorage and you look, every time there's been a slash sale, or -- there's a big, huge berm across those trails, or a gate.

And, you know, and you get on it and they'll arrest you.

KAREN BREWSTER: Your snow machining now, you go up Exit Glacier Road, or you still go up the river, or do you go other places?

KEITH CAMPBELL: Just whatever the mood -- whatever the mood is. Yeah.

JACKIE CAMPBELL: And we, a lot of times, go out to the -- there's a parking area where you can unload your machine, and then -- KEITH CAMPBELL: Just right on the road right out here. JACKIE CAMPBELL: Right up the road.

KAREN BREWSTER: Where the gate is for the --

KEITH CAMPBELL: Yeah, across the first bridge, up there past the roadhouse and go. It's easy. And -- but we -- but we can, we can go snake out through there.

KAREN BREWSTER: You can still go out on the river? KEITH CAMPBELL: Yeah. JACKIE CAMPBELL: Cross the river. KEITH CAMPBELL: Yeah.

JACKIE CAMPBELL: And Snow River is always -- you know, you can -- KEITH CAMPBELL: Good riding up here. JACKIE CAMPBELL: -- park right along the -- there's a parking there for snow machines. KEITH CAMPBELL: Big turnout at the end. Yeah. And so... KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

KEITH CAMPBELL: Yeah, there's lots of space for snow machining. That's for sure. So... KAREN BREWSTER: All right.

RACHEL MASON: All right. KAREN BREWSTER: That's great. Thank you very much. KEITH CAMPBELL: Are you filled up another tape? That's good.