The U.S. Forest Service in Wrangell completed a major renovation of a remote parking area on Zarembo Island in central Southeast last summer. Now, the Forest Service is encouraging hunters and recreators to help keep the area free of derelict vehicles by participating in a new registration system. 

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It took a lot of community cooperation to refurbish the parking lot and drainage system at Roosevelt Harbor on Zarembo Island, about 15 miles southwest of Wrangell. 

Trucks on Zarembo.
(KSTK file photo)

“It’s really nice to be able to talk about a success,” says Clint Kolarich, district ranger for Wrangell. The cleanup project involved moving dozens of vehicles used for hunting and other recreation from the site to a temporary parking area. Contractors removed and disposed of around 15 other vehicles during the process of rebuilding the site. 

“Nothing got removed that was not wanted to be removed,” Kolarich says, “So that was huge to communicate with the entire community and have a really, really positive outcome.”

The project cost about a quarter-million dollars, and Kolarich says the Forest Service wants to make sure the site stays usable and doesn’t start collecting old rigs again. 

“Moving forward, we obviously don’t want to recreate that situation,” Kolarich says. “So what we’ve been doing with voluntary community participation has been tracking vehicles with a sticker – and folks for the last two years have been really good about coming into the office, getting a sticker, and doing kind of like this informal registration so that we know who’s who in the zoo, so to speak out there.”

Kolarich says the Forest Service understands that the new sticker system will take some getting used to. There haven’t been issues with vehicle registrations so far, but he says that the agency may start issuing citations to people without registrations in the future. 

“We don’t want to punish people, because we want them to park there, we want to use it,” Kolarich says, “But we also don’t want it to turn into a junkyard again.”

For now, though, Kolarich says he’s not too worried. 

“I really don’t think it’s going to become a problem,” he says, “Because since we started with the stickers, everyone is taking care of things themselves, right? It’s so it’s not really a Forest Service, quote, unquote, problem. It’s a community effort.”

Kolarich says the Forest Service will change the colors of the registration stickers in May each year. Vehicle owners will need to stop by the office in Wrangell to get a new sticker. 

“Everything’s totally free, we’re not making any money off of it, we’re not charging anyone anything,” he says. “It’s just a way that we can help track the ownership and accountability.”

Deer season on Zarembo Island started at the beginning of August and runs through the end of November. For those bringing in smaller vehicles or traveling by boat, note that the Roosevelt Harbor Dock is damaged and unusable until at least next spring.

Get in touch with KSTK at or (907) 874-2345.