What words and images do you associate with the Kenai River?
A quick, informal survey yielded the following: Action. Beauty. Blue-Green-Gray. Boats. Bridge. Crowds. Cycles of life. Dipnetting. Eagles. Fish. Food. Fun. Kings. Lifeblood. Livelihood. Peace. Pressure. Quiet. Reds. Recreation. Salmon. Serenity. Silvers. Tourists. Wetlands. Wildlife.
And our favorite: Home.
Whether you are lucky enough to live on the banks of the river, or whether you just take the time to go sit atop the Kenai bluffs and soak in the beauty of the river as it flows into Cook Inlet, or whether your economic well-being is directly tied to the river, the Kenai River defines and distinguishes the Kenai Peninsula, this place we call home.
This weekend is a chance to remember the river and all it means to the peninsula and its residents. Robert Ruffner, executive director of the Kenai Watershed Forum, has described the Kenai River Festival's three-fold purpose as education, celebration and inspiration.
The festival is an instrument to educate us all about how to keep the river healthy, celebrate how the river feeds our bodies and nourishes our souls and inspire us to be good stewards of this most precious resource.
Even our quick survey, however, revealed how human interests in the river can compete with and contradict one another. Only knowledge and diligence will protect the river for future generations.
Our thanks to Kenai River Festival sponsors for creating an event that reminds us the river is far more than a body of water to be taken for granted. Our quality of life and livelihoods are directly tied to the river's health.
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