Story last updated at 1:31 p.m. Thursday, June 6, 2002

Trails Day crews cut path though winter's mess
by Sean Pearson
Special to the Homer News

photo: outdoors
  Photo by Sean Pearson, Homer News
Rpoger MacCampbell briefs trail-cleaning crews before heading across Kachemak Bay early Saturday morning.  
Roger MacCampbell, Park Ranger for the Kachemak Bay State Park, didn't spend much time instructing the 40 trail-clearing volunteers gathered at the Seafarers Memorial on the Homer Spit Saturday. He just covered the basics.

"It's a beautiful day out here, but you're going to be putting in a lot of hard work," he said. "I hope everyone brought enough food and water, but more importantly, I hope everyone brought bug dope."

The group that convened on the Spit loaded up to head across the bay early Saturday morning with the mission of clearing several park trails for summer use.

"We had about 40 people sign up to go across the bay, and just about everyone showed up," MacCampbell said. "It was a pretty good turnout. Last year I think we had about 60 people to go across the bay, but we had some major clearing to do with all the downed trees last year."

MacCampbell had anticipated a long day for everyone involved in the trail clearing early on, noting the addition of two trails to this year's agenda.

"We added a few extra trails this year to clear," MacCampbell said. "There were crews working on the Humpy Creek and Grace Ridge areas, where there has certainly been quite a bit of damage."

MacCampbell also said that one entire crew worked most of the day clearing out a campsite that had been badly damaged by several downed trees.

"We had a crew over doing some major repairs on the campsite at Rusty's Lagoon," MacCampbell said. "The downed trees there destroyed much of the campsite. They had to repair the latrines and pretty much rebuild a lot of the site."

Trails on this side of the bay also needed quite a bit of repair. A large crew worked most of the day Saturday on the Diamond Creek Trail, clearing trees and repairing small bridges over creeks and low-lying wet areas.

"I'm not really sure how many people we had show up to clear Diamond Creek," MacCampbell said. "But I was pretty happy with our numbers overall."

Kachemak Bay State Park was Alaska's first state park and contains roughly 400,000 acres of mountains, glaciers, forests and ocean. Because Kachemak Bay is a critical habitat area, visitors to the area are often treated to views of many species of marine life and land mammals.

Hiking and camping along the shoreline and in the surrounding forests and mountains often provide some of the best opportunities to experience the park. More than 80 miles of trails provide access into the park's backcountry. Camping is permitted in most areas of the park, with a number of sites containing fireplaces, picnic tables, tent platforms, information, outhouses and/or food caches. Public-use cabins are also available for rent on a reservation basis. The cabins are located in the Halibut Cove Lagoon, Leisure Lake, Moose Valley, and Tutka Bay areas.

With the majority of the work completed on the trails over the weekend, most of these areas are now open for public use. The entirely open and passable trails across the bay include Grewingk Lake, Humpy Creek, Saddle, Alpine Ridge and Grace Ridge Trails. The Coalition Trail is open from China Poot Bay to Halibut Cove Lagoon, and the first five miles of the Wosnesenski Valley Trail are also open at this time.

On this side of the bay, Diamond Creek trail is open and passable.

"Most of our trails are open and cleared at this time," MacCampbell said. "However, I encourage people interested in hiking the trails to check out our Web site at www.alaskastateparks.org. The site gives detailed information about the trails and their condition."

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