Point Woronzof erosion levels on the rise

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) Point Woronzof has been one of Gil Mathis's favorite spots in Anchorage since he moved here 37 years ago.

A digital model of a 500ft section of Point Woronzof.

“I love it out here,” Mathis says. “It's the only beach in Anchorage."

And in those 37 years, he's seen the beach change.

“It's shrinking bad,” Mathis says. “Back in the 80's we used to be able to drive down on the beach, but we can't do that anymore."

It's not just Mathis - the University of Alaska Anchorage recently released a study showing that the bluff is eroding at an average of two feet per year, and the rate is increasing. However, Gennady Gienko, the professor behind the study, says that the bluff isn't eroding evenly.

“It's the natural rate of erosion. There are some hotspots that need to be addressed. Some of them immediately. Some of them need to be addressed in the near future, but they need to be.” Gienko says.

He says the coastal trail will be completely eroded within the next forty years, the road in fifty, and the airport will start to erode within the next few hundred. So what can be done to stop the erosion? Gienko says more research.

“The professionals from the civil engineering, geotechnical engineering, under the leadership of the city, need to look into this in detail,” Gienko says. “It's a very complicated question."

The city has the time to address this before the road and the airport are at risk. and if you're worried about falling off the trail, Gienko has some advice.

“Go bike!” He says. “There are some points that need to be addressed by the city, but it's safe. At least for 25 years."

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