10 THINGS TO DO ON THE KENAI!

Get ready for your visit by browsing the many attractions the Kenai Peninsula offers! Whether catching wildlife in your camera, on a hook, or in your memories, the Kenai is sure to meet your adventurous needs.

BOUNTIFUL WILDLIFE

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is 90% wilderness and therefore a destination of choice for Alaskan travelers who desire to observe wildlife within its natural habitat. We serve as the gateway for Alaska’s best one-day flightseeing trips to view the famed Katmai and Wolverine Creek bears. The Kenai is home to one black bear per square mile. Black or brown bears may be spotted from your vehicle, from your raft as you float by, or up on the mountainside while hiking our miles of improved trails.

The Kenai’s coast is one of Alaska’s prime viewing areas for marine wildlife. Kenai Fjords is certainly a mecca for marine wildlife watchers, as is Kachemak Bay. Birding is world class, and many travelers time their visit to witness some of nature’s special events: the migration of shorebirds in Homer or the gathering of snow geese on the Kenai River flats. Did we mention moose? Formerly known as the Kenai National Moose Range, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is a sanctuary that comprises approximately a third of the peninsula and provides an ideal haven for moose, lynx, wolves, dall sheep, caribou, fox, coyotes and more.

BIRDING ON THE KENAI

The Kenai has a wide array of easily accessible seashores, rivers, creeks, lakes, marshes and alpine country which make for some truly exceptional birding. We are accessible by road (private and group charters readily available for more remote destinations), have all the modern amenities, yet can offer birding in a truly beautiful wilderness setting. There are 469 species of birds documented in Alaska, plus more than 30 other species reported but not verified, and most can be found right here.

RIVERS AND LAKES

The surprising turquoise color of many of The Kenai’s rivers and lakes is very unusual and is caused by just the right blending of glacial waters and snowmelt. Home to spawning salmon, these rivers and lakes can be explored by rafting, fishing from drift or powerboats, or finding beautiful trails along the shores. Some of Alaska’s wildest whitewater, as well as some of its most placid and scenic waterways, can be found on The Kenai. The quaint settlements of Moose Pass and Cooper Landing, along with the larger communities of Sterling, Soldotna, and Kenai, owe a substantial portion of their livelihoods to the bounty of fish, scenery, and wildlife that the Kenai watershed provides.

KENAI FJORDS NATIONAL PARK

Over the eons, glacier ice has carved valleys that are now submerged under seawater, thus forming the fjords. Kenai Fjords National Park preserves this magical part of the Peninsula, and a diverse fleet of small ships delivers the experience. The Kenai Fjords offers more than majestic scenery—few places in the world can boast of the stunning concentrations of wildlife viewed on a daily basis in the Kenai Fjords and the adjoining islands of the Maritime National Wildlife Refuge: sea otters, puffins, sea lions, kittiwakes, humpback and orca whales, harbor seals, oyster catchers and more. Glaciers are still making their way down from the ice fields, and witnessing the calving of huge chunks of ice from the glacier’s face as it meets the sea reminds us that the Kenai Fjords are still under construction.

FOUR ACTIVE VALCANOES

There aren’t many places in the world where you can gaze upon four active volcanoes from one stretch of beautiful highway. From north to south, Mt. Spurr, Mt. Redoubt, Mt. Illiamna and St. Augustine all may be viewed from the western shore of the Kenai Peninsula, out across Cook Inlet to the Alaska Peninsula. The volcano coast isn’t the only scenic drive on the Peninsula…one would have a hard time choosing a favorite stretch of road—there are dramatic vistas and spectacular scenery from one community to the next.

KENAI MOUNTAINS / HARDING ICE FIELDS

Mountains connect The Kenai to the rest of Alaska, and mountains link the regions of The Kenai together. They form the setting, the backdrop, or the stunning scenery on the horizon. They span The Kenai’s four major protected areas: Chugach National Forest, Kenai Fjords National Park, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, and Kachemak Bay State Park. These mountains hold a contiguous ice field that is larger than the state of Rhode Island, is a half-mile deep, and is reachable by an adventuresome trail or two. They are the most accessible mountains in the state; with more than 433 miles of improved trails to help you find your own private mountain paradise for your day hike, backpacking trip, or leisurely walk.

GLACIER AND WILDLIFE CRUISES

The town of Seward is the launching point for a number of different glacier trips ranging from a short tour around Resurrection Bay to an all day excursion into Aialik Bay or Northwestern Fjord. Homer also offers a number of wildlife cruises in Kachemak Bay State Park. Remember that while you will be enjoying glacial views from the comfort of the boat cabin, the closer you get to the glaciers the more the temperature drops, so dress in warm layers.

CAMPING

The Kenai is well known for the extensive camping opportunities available along its road system. Numerous public campgrounds are located within the Chugach National Forest, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska State Parks unit, and within municipal areas of Seward, Soldotna, Kenai, and Homer.

FLIGHT SEEING

Flightseeing takes many forms on The Kenai, it can be enjoyed from airplanes, seaplanes, ski-planes, and helicopters. You can enjoy the spectacular scenery from the air as you fly over Kenai Fjords National Park, Lake Clark National Park, the Chugach National Forest or even Kachemak Bay State Park. Or you can land for an up close and personal look at a glacier, a volcano, or bears and other wildlife. It can also be your ticket to accessing remote fishing areas and hiking trails.

FISHING

The Kenai River has many public access sites and private businesses along its shores in the Sterling-Soldotna-Kenai area offering bank angling access during the popular salmon runs. Many of the popular bank angling access sites offer “habitat friendly” facilities designed to protect important fish habitat. Elevated walkways, stairways into the river and other methods protect valuable vegetation important for healthy fish habitat, ensuring that the popular runs of salmon can continue.

Crooked Creek & The Kasilof River offers bank angling at the confluence and is one of The Kenai’s most popular and productive locations for king salmon fishing from shore. With kings ranging in size from about 20-40 pounds, they are more than a handful on rod and reel from the shore!

Deep Creek, Ninilchik River, & Anchor River all give great results. Bank angling on Deep Creek, the Ninilchik River and the Anchor River are all popular springtime pursuits for anglers targeting early kings. Check the fishing regulations, as these rivers are only open for fishing on certain weekends.

Charter Opportunities exist for fishing enthusiasts interested in rainbow and/or salmon fishing of the Kenai or Kasilof Rivers, while an extensive charter industry is available to offer halibut fishing and/or salmon fishing near the communities of Seward, Ninilchik, Anchor Point, and Homer.

Fish, Fish, fish! And why, why, why? Because location, location, location!

The Kenai is world renowned for its wide-ranging fishing opportunities. Four species of salmon by the hundreds of thousands—find their way into the Peninsula’s bays, rivers, and lakes to return to where their lives began. Virtually any time of the summer is salmon fishing season on The Kenai. The largest King Salmon of all, weighing close to 100 pounds, are sought on the famed lower Kenai River. Salmon is only part of the draw. Most seacoast towns on The Kenai offer charter fishing for halibut and other saltwater species.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MANY ATTRACTIONS ON THE KENAI!

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Why Alaska Seafood?

Effective, precise management assures Alaska’s fisheries are productive, sustainable, clean, and healthy-as mandated by the Alaska state government. Since admittance into the Union as the 49th state in 1959, Alaska has served as a model of fisheries management around the globe. One reason for this is that Alaska remains the lone state in the nation with a constitutional mandate stipulating all fish “be utilized, developed and maintained on the sustained yield principle.”

Wild
Wild-caught Alaska salmon, whitefish varieties and shellfish mature at a natural pace, and swim freely in the pristine waters off Alaska’s rugged 34,000-mile coastline.

Superior Flavor
The superior flavor and texture of Alaska Seafood is prized around the world. The flavor and color characteristics come from the seafood species feeding on their natural diet of marine organisms, and the texture comes from annual migrations in the cold North Pacific.

Versatile
It’s easy to prepare Alaska Seafood using your favorite cooking method. Whether you like to grill, poach, bake, or sauté, you can have a delicious meal on the table in minutes.

Healthy
If you are looking for a meal that is nutritious, low in saturated fat, and high in the “good fats” — heart-healthy omega-3s, you can start with Alaska Seafood.

Environmentally Responsible
Careful management based on conservation assure abundant stocks of salmon, halibut, sole, pollock, and shellfish, so Alaska seafood is an environmentally responsible choice.

Alaska Families And Communities
The harvesting and processing of Alaska Seafood plays an important role in Alaska. The seafood industry is the state’s largest private sector employer. Each small salmon fishing vessel, for example, is a floating family business, contributing to state and local economies. Alaska’s commercial catch accounts for over half the nation’s commercial seafood harvest.

Prepare your Wild Alaskan dish this evening using these recipes!

Learn more about Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute by Click HERE!

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Meet the Locals!

The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is committed to conservation of Alaska’s Wildlife, and is involved in several programs that further their commitment to this worthy cause. From taking in orphaned and injured animals when they can not fend for themselves, to the Wood Bison Restoration Project, AWCC is involved in projects great & small. The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center strives to work in cooperation with federal & state wildlife agencies, as well as with our community members at all levels to ensure that conservation remains top of mind in their mission.

Meet the Locals!

Jack

Jack arrived at the center as a 3 day old moose with bite marks on his hind end, and a broken leg, and a 20% chance of survival. Vanessa, one of our fantastic interns took it upon herself to nurse Jack back to health. Because of her hard work, Jack is a happy and healthy addition to the center.

These days Jack has taken up acting! He’ll be starring in a set for the upcoming feature “The Frozen Ground“. After filming for a week in Anchorage, Vanessa Hudgens felt the need to visit Jack and get to know her co-star a little better.

Mukluk

In the summer of 2010, a Musk Ox calf was rescued from an oil facility in Prudhoe Bay. The staff of several different companies in the area assisted with the capture of the orphaned female musk ox. The same staff worked with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to relocate the calf to AWCC. From here, AWCC’s interns stepped up and took the animal in, nursing it through a couple bugs it had, and working very closely with Large Animal Research through the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Mukluk, as she became known, is doing very well at AWCC. She spent the winter in an inclosure nearby the existing musk ox herd, and this spring, was introduced into this herd. She’s had a couple of ‘learning opportunities’ with the other Musk Oxen, but overall is fitting in nicely and doing well! AWCC continues to work with Large Animal Research for the best care for Mukluk and the other large animals at the Center. In the meantime, be sure to come down to the center to visit Mukluk – They’ll all be glad you did!

Hugo

Hugo is a female grizzly from Hugo Mountain near Kotzebue, AK. Two men riding snow machines found her in November 2000 with hundreds of porcupine quills imbedded in her paws. She was severely dehydrated and malnourished and was unable to walk or eat when brought to AWCC. Although she has made a good recovery, she cannot be released into the wild because she does not have the needed skills to survive on her own. Hugo was the first bear to be given a permanent home at AWCC. Photo courtesy of Gary Lackie.

Snickers

Snickers the porcupine is a favorite at AWCC! He is a gregarious little fellow, having been raised in a home, and relocated to the AWCC after this. Snickers is excellent for school presentations, where he will come out of his cage for the afternoon to entertain and teach the kids personally. Snickers became a star last year, when a Youtube video of him went worldwide and received over 1,800,000 views! See that video here, and another of our favorites HERE.


Alaskan Coyotes

Alaska’s coyotes are often mistaken for wolves as they have a somewhat similar look. They are, however, less than half as large. A coyote’s distinctive features include a sharply pointed nose, sharply pointed ears (that never droop) and a long bushy tail. Their yipping-yapping howl is often heard at AWCC, especially when a distant train blows its whistle.

In early June 2004, AWCC received a call from Elmendorf Air Force Base asking if our staff could care for a litter of coyote pups. The parents had built a den too close to the runway and the animals were in danger of getting injured or killed by the frequent aircraft take-offs and landings. The litter was captured and the parents were expected to relocate their future den in an area where the family will not be disturbed. The coyotes have been placed in the 18 acre brown bear exhibit. Since they have enough space and food, there has been no conflict between the brown bears and the coyotes. Coyotes are occasionally seen hunting mice or snowshoe hares. They scavenge remains from the bear feedings and are also fed nightly.

Thank you to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center for the content provided and Doug Lindstrand, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center for the Photography. Click here to learn more about the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center!