Young silver salmon swim in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Aquatic Education Classroom parked in the center's parking lot.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Finding high quality yet affordable fishing and hunting gear can almost be as difficult as getting a salmon to strike or a bull moose to walk into the cross-hairs of a rifle scope.
Fortunately for the scores of outdoors adventurers who either visit or call Alaska home, the annual Kenai Peninsula Sport, Rec and Trade Show is this weekend at the Soldotna Sports Center.
“We’ve got another great show again this year,” said Terry Coval, the show’s promoter.
Some of the vendors of this year’s show will be familiar to those who attended in the past, but with the newest and latest in gadgets and gizmos for the would-be woodsperson, according to Coval.
As an example, he pointed out how many return vendors were selling recreational vehicles.
“We’ve got tons of RVs, travel trailers and campers. We’ve also got one of the largest selection of ATVs that we’ve had in years,” Coval said. There were several boat dealers, as well.
Several sporting goods vendors are a part of the show this year. These vendors are selling a number of items, including “rod and reel combos, hunting gear, backpacks and we always have lots of knives,” he said.
Travis Stubblefield, right, shows off one of his company's mini-chopper motorcycles to Carl Jones Saturday at the Kenai Peninsula Sport, Rec and Trade Show. The show continues today.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
While some of these vendors are staples of the show, there were also new businesses and products, many with a focus of not just doing activities outdoors, but also doing them responsibly.
“That’s the direction the industry is moving. Toward improving the environment and being responsible for yourself,” Coval said.
Coval cited the numerous booths selling global positioning systems, satellite telephones and emergency survival gear for people recreating in remote areas.
Several of the demonstrations and seminars at the show emphasize safety and responsibility, such as the last bear baiting clinic of the season and seminars answering basic questions about what can and cannot be done with solar, wind and other forms of alternative energy.
“A lot of folks have cabins in the Caribou Hills or other remote locations and they’re interested in what’s possible,” Coval said.
Another example of the push to be responsible in the outdoors could be seen the boat and motor dealers participating in the motor buy-back program, in which $500 vouchers are given toward replacing older two-stroke motors with four-stroke motors or newer E-tech motors meeting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compliance.
“This is a very good program for the community,” said Brenda Trefon, an environmental protection officer with the Kenaitze Indian Tribe.
According to Trefon, the tribe worked in partnership with the Kenai Watershed Forum, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, the Kenai River Special Management Area Board and other entities from the borough to get grant funding for the program from the EPA.
“The new motors are so much more fuel efficient for boaters and much better for the Kenai River, which is the lifeblood of the people of the tribe,” Trefon said.
The motors can reduce hydrocarbons by up to 95 percent and carbon monoxide from exhaust emissions by up to 70 percent, she said.
“We’re hoping to have all the old two-stroke motors replaced over this summer and the next,” Trefon said.
There was plenty for the adults to ponder at the show, and there also were activities to keep young outdoor enthusiasts entertained.
The Fish and Game Sport Fish Division had its mobile aquatic education program featuring several juvenile fish displays. Adults also could apply for the 2006 sportfishing and dipnetting license inside the fifth-wheel trailer.
Outside, there were stocked fish in the Lance Domonske Living Memorial Trout Pond where young anglers could try their hand at catching rainbow trout.
“Taking a chance at catching a trout is the main reason we come up,” said Derek Hahn of Homer, and while some children try futilely to get a fish on, Hahn’s son landed his within seconds.
However, the boy had to leave his catch behind. “We’ve got other places to go and I don’t want it stinking the car up between here and home,” Hahn said.
The Sport, Rec and Trade Show continues today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and children 11 and older and free for kids under 11.
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