Mat-Su RV Park owner looking to rebuild after McKinley Fire devastates business

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - For travelers going to Denali, the Mat-Su RV Park may have been the perfect stop.

But the McKinley Fire destroyed most of the park, including the office, bathrooms and Colin Jennings’ mother’s home.

Jennings took over the business from his mother last year. He didn’t expect to have the business go up in flames.

“This is our pride and joy the main building,” Jennings said, walking up to the park’s main office. “It’s completely destroyed.”

His family has owned the park since 2007. He said his campground has served as a community gathering place. He lets community members come through and use facilities since many in the area lived in dry cabins nearby.

When the McKinley Fire flared up earlier in the month, he wasn’t too worried about it at first. But a day later, the wind shifted.

“Oh no, this isn’t good,” Jennings said in a video he captured as he evacuated.

He recorded him and his mother leaving, driving away on Parks Highway. He also recorded his return a day later.

“Everything’s gone,” he said in the video after touring his property for the first time.

Jennings comes up from Florida every summer to help his mother run the business. He said that family photos and memorabilia have burned up along with the buildings.

“The plan is to rebuild,” he said. "I just keep thinking it will be better and nicer when we redo it. That's the saving grace of it.”

Jennings found a place to stay after a former customer of the park opened their home to him.

A GoFundMe has been set up for Jennings and Mat-Su RV Park.

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