John and Peggy Chapple were 22 years old when they packed up their lives, said goodbye to their families in New York and drove to Alaska. They ended up in Homer after a fateful encounter with a local who recommended the small fishing town and changed the course of the Chapple's Alaskan adventure. Originally guests at the campground themselves, John and Peggy bought the business in the winter of 1973. With four generations of Chapple relatives working in the office over the years, the Homer Spit Campground has remained family owned and operated since it opened!
THE EAGLE LADY
Jean Keene, widely known as the Homer "Eagle Lady," shared her love and knowledge of eagles with visitors before she passed away January 13, 2009. She was 85. She came to Alaska as a former rodeo queen in 1977, relocating from Aitkin, Minnesota to Homer. Her mobile home became a permanent feature in the campground over the years with a small well decorated fence around her site. During the summer months she cultivated beautiful gardens around her home at the campground, but it was her winter habits that made her famous.
Soon after her arrival in Homer, while employed at a seafood plant, Jean was given permission to gather surplus and freezer burned fish for a pair of eagles the lived near her home. Over the next 10 years, the number of eagles that gathered for the daily feedings grew from 2 to over 200. To feed the increasing number of eagles Jean would collect hundreds of pounds of wasted fish which she then chopped into smaller chunks for easier distribution and consumption. Fans of Jean and the eagles could drive out the mostly deserted winter Spit to take in the sight of the feedings. However, spectacular as they were, they were not without controversy.
Concern was raised by environmentalists about the potential costs such a concentration of eagles could have on the population and surrounding habitat as well as the danger associated with familiarizing eagles with human interaction. In response, in 2006, the City of Homer banned the practice of deliberately feeding eagles. They granted Jean a four year exemption so that she may slowly stop feeding them at her home. Unfortunately, Jean passed away before her time ran out.
Jean was known around the world for her spunk, generosity and of course, her famous flock. The campground preserves her memory with two Beach View sites named Jean Keene (JK) and Eagle Lady (EL) in the spot that was once her home.
"Campground was great. Had a full hook up spot this time. Was very pleased with the campground. Long beach for lovely walks with family and dogs. Short walks to the spit shops, fishing hole, ferry terminal and boat harbors. This has been our go to spot everytime we come down here camping. Would recommend this campground to every one I know. Has good views of the ocean everyday when we get up."
“Our time in Homer was amazing and largely to this awesome campground! The sun was shining the whole time, no wind, and only a sprinkle of rain. The tent site on the beach was great! The kids had a blast collecting shells and gathering rocks to make a fort. The showers had great water pressure and super hot water! The campground was full and incredibly quiet. I'm sad we were only there for such a short time.”
“Campground experience was very positive! Parked a camper in a non-view spot at the last minute that was spacious and affordable with plenty of room for truck parking. Biggest perk, in my opinion, was the communal bathhouse, which was immaculate! Campground is also very close to the boat launch and spit highlights. We will definitely visit this campground, again!”