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Peninsula towns add to Alaska's charm

Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2003

From quaint seaports to rustic mountain retreats, the Kenai Peninsula offers a variety of small town experiences away from its hub communities.

Hope The peninsula's northernmost community began as a Gold Rush boom town. Today, the 137 residents retain small mining and logging operations. Visitors to the picturesque town can tour the museum, pan for gold, mountain bike and hike the Resurrection Pass Trail.

Moose Pass This hamlet of 200 people is on the scenic Seward Highway and offers views of the Alaska Railroad as it winds around mountains on the edge of town and of floatplanes landing and taking off from Trail Lake in the town's center. It also hosts an annual summer solstice celebration, this year on June 21 and 22.

Cooper Landing The Sterling Highway parallels the majestic Kenai River as it winds through this riverside mountain town offering splendid views of the river, Kenai Lake and the Kenai Mountains. The town, with a population of 369, is home to the Kenai Princess Lodge and many river rafting outfits. Surrounded by the Chugach National Forest, it is near popular trail heads and the famous Russian River fishery.

Sterling Sterling is home to 4,700 people and is the gateway to the Swanson River Canoe Trail System in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The confluence of the Kenai and Moose rivers attracts fishing, camping and boating enthusiasts.

Nikiski Also known as North Kenai and Nikishka, it's home to 4,327 people as well as the area's petrochemical industry. Recreation facilities include Captain Cook State Recreation Area north of town and the North Peninsula Recreation Center pool and water slide.

Kasilof Near the southern junction of the Sterling Highway and Kalifornsky Beach Road, this town of 471 people is the site of the annual Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race each winter. In summer, it's a popular gateway to Tustumena Lake and offers a salmon fishery second only to the Kenai River.

Ninilchik The old Russian village and the landmark Russian Orthodox church with its onion-domed spires are favorites among photographers. Anglers are lured to the Ninilchik River and Deep Creek for salmon fishing and to offshore charters for halibut. The Ninilchik Fairgrounds is host to the Kenai Peninsula Borough fair every summer. This year, the fair will be Aug. 15, 16 and 17. The library and a chamber of commerce kiosk across from the fairgrounds provide visitor information.

Anchor Point The westernmost point on the U.S. highway system, this town of 1,845 prides itself on the Anchor River's fly-fishing, steelhead trout and salmon runs. Events include fishing derbies for all ages, Fourth of July festivities and the winter Snow Rondi festival. The Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce has a summer visitors' center near the school.

Nikolaevsk This colony of Russian Old Believers has about 345 residents off North Fork Road west of Anchor Point. The community's church has striking exterior icons. Shops sell handicrafts such as embroidery and Russian souvenirs.

Halibut Cove A private Kachemak Bay ferry takes visitors from Homer to the cove, which welcomes folks with its lodges, art galleries and a gourmet restaurant. The 35 residents live in a splendid setting at the doorstep of Kachemak Bay State Park.

Seldovia This south Kachemak village of 430 is one of the peninsula's most historic. The former fishing port reinvented itself as a tourist destination offering an annual Fourth of July bash and the Summer Solstice Music Festival, this year on June 20 and 21, that includes fine music, workshops and a craft fair. The old boardwalk, pocket parks and the Alaska Tribal Cache attract visitors. Seldovia offers access to Jakalof Bay, scenic Red Mountain and the Alutiiq villages of Port Graham and Nanwalek.

From quaint seaports to rustic mountain retreats, the Kenai Peninsula offers a variety of small town experiences away from its hub communities.

Hope The peninsula's northernmost community began as a Gold Rush boom town. Today, the 137 residents retain small mining and logging operations. Visitors to the picturesque town can tour the museum, pan for gold, mountain bike and hike the Resurrection Pass Trail.

Moose Pass This hamlet of 200 people is on the scenic Seward Highway and offers views of the Alaska Railroad as it winds around mountains on the edge of town and of floatplanes landing and taking off from Trail Lake in the town's center. It also hosts an annual summer solstice celebration, this year on June 21 and 22.

Cooper Landing The Sterling Highway parallels the majestic Kenai River as it winds through this riverside mountain town offering splendid views of the river, Kenai Lake and the Kenai Mountains. The town, with a population of 369, is home to the Kenai Princess Lodge and many river rafting outfits. Surrounded by the Chugach National Forest, it is near popular trail heads and the famous Russian River fishery.

Sterling Sterling is home to 4,700 people and is the gateway to the Swanson River Canoe Trail System in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The confluence of the Kenai and Moose rivers attracts fishing, camping and boating enthusiasts.

Nikiski Also known as North Kenai and Nikishka, it's home to 4,327 people as well as the area's petrochemical industry. Recreation facilities include Captain Cook State Recreation Area north of town and the North Peninsula Recreation Center pool and water slide.

Kasilof Near the southern junction of the Sterling Highway and Kalifornsky Beach Road, this town of 471 people is the site of the annual Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race each winter. In summer, it's a popular gateway to Tustumena Lake and offers a salmon fishery second only to the Kenai River.

Ninilchik The old Russian village and the landmark Russian Orthodox church with its onion-domed spires are favorites among photographers. Anglers are lured to the Ninilchik River and Deep Creek for salmon fishing and to offshore charters for halibut. The Ninilchik Fairgrounds is host to the Kenai Peninsula Borough fair every summer. This year, the fair will be Aug. 15, 16 and 17. The library and a chamber of commerce kiosk across from the fairgrounds provide visitor information.

Anchor Point The westernmost point on the U.S. highway system, this town of 1,845 prides itself on the Anchor River's fly-fishing, steelhead trout and salmon runs. Events include fishing derbies for all ages, Fourth of July festivities and the winter Snow Rondi festival. The Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce has a summer visitors' center near the school.

Nikolaevsk This colony of Russian Old Believers has about 345 residents off North Fork Road west of Anchor Point. The community's church has striking exterior icons. Shops sell handicrafts such as embroidery and Russian souvenirs.

Halibut Cove A private Kachemak Bay ferry takes visitors from Homer to the cove, which welcomes folks with its lodges, art galleries and a gourmet restaurant. The 35 residents live in a splendid setting at the doorstep of Kachemak Bay State Park.

Seldovia This south Kachemak village of 430 is one of the peninsula's most historic. The former fishing port reinvented itself as a tourist destination offering an annual Fourth of July bash and the Summer Solstice Music Festival, this year on June 20 and 21, that includes fine music, workshops and a craft fair. The old boardwalk, pocket parks and the Alaska Tribal Cache attract visitors. Seldovia offers access to Jakalof Bay, scenic Red Mountain and the Alutiiq villages of Port Graham and Nanwalek.



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