The U.S. Forest Service in Wrangell is hoping to redesign the Anan Bear Observatory trail and deck. Officials say the $2 million project would provide a safer trail and better viewing experience.

Recreation staff at Anan say the current viewing deck has a life span of less than five years.

To maintain a safe and pleasurable viewing experience, the local ranger district has written up new designs for the deck.

Tori Hauser is the recreation manager for the Wrangell and Petersburg ranger districts.

“We’ve designed it so that there’s 40 spots, with a 3 foot area around you, for prime viewing all along the river. And then we have a nice covered area in case it’s really rainy so you can be inside but still be able to view out and have those long distance views both up and down the river,” she says.

The current shelter would be moved back to not block the view of the river. A spiral staircase could be installed to take up less room for the lower deck. The design also helps out the bears by providing more unobstructed paths for them and raising the deck they move under.

The Forest Service involved local guides in the design process.

The Forest Service also wants to upgrade the wooden trail to a gravel trail. It could double the lifespan of a wooden trail. And it’s safer.

“It’s much better footing for you, in case you’re trying to move aside or your concentrating on an animal and you step off. The four inches of difference could twist an ankle or be dangerous,” she says.

The local district has not secured funding yet for the project. The updated trail and deck could cost $2 million.