Volunteers and State Parks employees were able to prep Kachemak Bay State Park for the summer season. June 8 was Trails Day and nearly 80 people made it across the bay.
The Friends of the Kachemak Bay State Park have traditionally celebrated Trails Day about a week after the rest of the country. Roger MacCampbell is chief ranger for the south district of the Kenai Peninsula.
He said there’s a reason folks in Alaska wait a bit longer: there’s still snow out on some trails. MacCampbell called the day a celebration of trails. He said while there might be some work involved, it’s a great way to get yourself across the water and have access to all that the park has to offer.
“We started doing this as a way to get folks across the bay… for what we call… ‘a little dirt work for a dirt cheap’ water taxi. It can be a little pricey,” he said.
People were able to get a ride to the park for a $20 donation to help pay for the water taxis. And, since the volunteers have varying skill levels and abilities, he says they have different projects for everyone.
“Cleaning up a beach and having just a great beach walk, we have what I call the family hike. It’s really geared for families with small children to senior citizens who can still hike a few miles. And then last year we started with an interpretive naturalist to guide the hike and it was great,” he said.
MacCampbell said ecologist Ed Berg and author and photographer Taz Talley guided the hike this year. Also, he said there were volunteers as well as current and former State Parks employees who were doing what he called “the hard work.”
“Trying to re-route and make trails. A lot of our trails were built pretty quickly or with local labor. Now we’re trying to make them sustainable and taking grades out to make them easier,” he said.
The Saddle Trail, Sadie Knob Trail and the ski trail were cleared. And there was some re-routing work done on the Saddle Trail. Though, deep snow prevented workers from accessing upper Sadie Knob Trail. Volunteers were able to pack 15 garbage bags full of trash and marine debris on Glacier Spit. They found a fully-functional fishing pole and two messages in bottles.
“From what I heard, one was like a chain letter. The other one was more or less a forlorn, heartbreak love story,” he said.
MacCampbell said he’s looking forward to next year and hoping the weather is as good as it was that weekend.