Homer Alaska - Outdoors

Story last updated at 9:46 PM on Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Trails Day helps park; more to be done

By Lindsay Johnson
Staff Writer


Photographer: Lindsay Johnson, Homer News

Jane Dunn and Eli Martin enjoy the downhill section of the North Sadie Knob trail in Kachemak Bay State Park last Saturday.

A Navy sailor and a state representative, research interns, new transplants, seasoned volunteers and young families confronted devil's club, ferns, berry bushes, alders, ditches, elevation, dead spruce and a less common view of Homer as part of Kachemak Bay State Park's trails day last Saturday.

The annual event drew a slightly smaller crowd than usual in its 17-year local history, but the 30 people who did participate were rewarded with diminishing rain showers and a refreshing breath of Alaska's first state park.

Trails Day has been held nationally on the first Saturday in June since 1970. Weather and time conflicts sometimes cause the local trails day to be held a week later.

"It's intended to get people out and enjoy the day," said Kachemak Bay State Park Ranger Roger MacCampbell of the event. "It was a typical Alaska day. We got some work done."

Volunteers helped clear the Sadie Knob trail from the north and south Eldred Passage trailheads; dug ditches at the beginning of the Grace Ridge trail; cleaned up the coast between Glacier Spit and Humpy Creek; and experienced nature on the Grewingk Lake trail.

There are more than 90 miles of trails in the park, according to MacCampbell. While there is plenty of room for more in the 400,000 acres of the park, its budget isn't as ample.

A paid trail crew of four, four to six volunteers, a volunteer director and a trails specialist make up the park's full-time summer trail crew.

Volunteers are the backbone of the park said MacCampbell, who added that his crew can use help from spring until fall.

"If someone wants to go over and volunteer for day, it's one way to get a ride over and do something positive," he said.

People can sign up to help out by calling the Homer Ranger Station at 235-7024. MacCampbell seeks a volunteer coordinator to make next year's trails day bigger and better.

Another way to do something positive for the park is to become a friend. Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park is one of five active Friends groups in the state working to raise awareness and funds for their parks.

Mako Haggerty owns one of the water taxi business licensed to operate in the parks, and has been a Friend since the K-Bay group was formed in 1997.

"The people in Homer have always supported the park and the people in Homer appreciate the park, whether they know it or not, 'cause that's their view. I believe the state needs to appreciate parks a little bit more with some more financial support," he said.

Trail condition updates are posted regularly at http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/asp/curevnts.htm.

A guide with maps and descriptions of some Alaska State Park trails may be found at http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/aktrails/explore/trailmapguides.htm.