Amphitheater slated for October opening
Demolition began Friday off Emerald Bay Road to replace a U.S. Forest Service amphitheater that dates back to 1963.
Construction of the new Lake of the Sky Amphitheater will have improved seating and better views of the Taylor Creek meadow and marsh. The project is expected to be finished by mid-October and cost $600,000.
The amphitheater, located at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center west of Camp Richardson Resort near Kiva Beach, is typically open between June and October. Rangers use it to show movies, host puppet shows and provide a stage for living history and environmental education programs.
Old wooden seats will be replaced with ones made of Alaskan yellow cedar. Stone walls that enclose the area will be built with native rock. The stage will feature new lights and a sound system with a projection screen that can be lowered and hidden to provide a better view of the natural landscape.
“We’ll be reducing the seating a little bit,” said Georgia Turner, a Forest Service engineer. But the entire facility will be accessible to the disabled and headsets will be provided for people who are hearing-impaired.
The amphitheater and the Lake of the Sky trail, which is a half-mile path between the amphitheater to Kiva Beach, are the only parts of the visitor center that are closed because of the construction.
The Rainbow Trail, a loop that runs through the Taylor Creek marsh and draws 300,000 visitors each summer, is open and so is its stream profile chamber, said Mike St. Michel, director of the visitor center.
The Forest Service is rebuilding the amphitheater during the summer, a peak time for visitors, to avoid disturbing wildlife nesting periods, said Rex Norman, public affairs officer for the Forest Service.
Plans to build an environmental education building at the visitors center were announced last spring. St. Michel said those plans are being redesigned in response to public comment. For information about the visitor center, call (530) 543-2696.