Outdoor activities abound

Posted: Thursday, June 11, 2009

Those looking to learn about outdoor recreational opportunities will be able to bag two lectures in the next two days to prepare them for weekend adventure.

Today at 1 p.m., the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center will host Bill Heath, a professional photographer and trail guide, who will give a presentation on several breathtaking hikes of the Kenai Peninsula.

"Basically, it will be suggestions on how to approach them, an overview of the gear needed, and some quick safety recommendations. I'm also hoping to have photographs so people can see what these hikes look like," he said.

As to which hikes Heath will focus on, he said on Tuesday he was still narrowing down the list since there are so many to choose from, but one that will be featured for sure is Ptarmigan Lake Trail near Seward.

"It's a favorite. I've been hiking it since the mid-'60s, and been up three times this year. It's not real steep and it's incredibly beautiful," he said.

Heath said he will also likely focus on Summit Creek Trail off of the Seward Highway.

"It's another easily accessible alpine area," he said.

Heath said he will also focus on the Carter Lake Trail, and several others in the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area.

While at some of these locations -- as well as at numerous others around the peninsula -- wildlife abounds, and on Friday at 1 p.m., Ken Tarbox, a retired Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist, will highlight where to see local fauna during a presentation on the Kenai Peninsula Wildlife Viewing Trail.

"I'm going to talk about the trail, some commonly seen and sought after animals, and where to see them at," he said.

Tarbox said now is a fantastic time to utilize the trail, since many species are making their seasonal movements, or participating in annual activities.

"It's calving season and right here in Kenai the other night my wife and I counted 14 moose, and a few days later we saw the caribou down on the (Kenai) Flats," he said.

Tarbox said the Kenai Flats are also active with avian activity right now.

"Birds are nesting, and the hooligan are in the river and gulls can be seen feeding on them. The other day I spotted an Icelandic gull," he said.

Several not so commonly seen mammals have also been making appearances, or will be before too long, Tarbox said.

"A bear sow and cubs have been seen in Captain Cook State Park and another bear has been seen numerous times in the Russian River area. As the snow melts, goat and sheep should also be seen more easily in several locations," he said.

Heath and Tarbox's presentations are each included with admission to the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center. For more information, call 283-1991.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at joseph.robertia@peninsulaclarion.com.

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