State: Edge of marsh created by railroad now needs protection


The State of Alaska is trying to purchase 2.2 acres of land along the edge of Potter Marsh in Anchorage. The area to be purchased from a private land owner is close to the wetland’s parking lot.

The Department of Fish and Game fears that if the land is developed into home sites, it might impact the aesthetics of the marsh.

The 564-acre marsh is not a creation of Mother Nature, but was a result of the construction of the Alaska Railroad embankment in 1916-17. The embankment built by the railroad backed up the water coming from Rabbit Creek and created a large marsh with ponds that were made by excavation of earth needed for the embankment.

Now, Fish and Game wants to keep the 100-year-old marsh in its manmade “natural state,” rather than allow homes to be built within sight of it, in an area zoned for residential.

The Audubon Society is trying to help the State buy the land and has launched a fundraising page on behalf of the State. Land that goes into government hands is not taxable by the City of Anchorage.

“The longtime Alaskan family who owns the parcel would like to see it conserved as part of the refuge and has generously agreed to a reduced sale. If not acquired and protected, the area could be cleared, filled and developed, significantly impacting the natural setting and visitor experience of the boardwalk and refuge,” the group says, without mentioning the tens of thousands of dollars in property taxes that the waterfront property would generate if developed.

“Our goal is to raise the needed funds by Dec. 31, 2017,” the group writes. To help, click here.


  1. Anchorage has a serious shortage of residential land available for development. We have a very large supply of public land that needs to be maintained at the government’s expense. Why add more land for the government to maintain in a world of budget money in short supply? Why take more land that could be developed for housing? Over and over again we see land being tied up. In a state where less than 4% of the land is privately owned, do we really need more parks to maintain? I like parks as much as the next person, but I also recognize how difficult it is to find land to build a home on in Anchorage.

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