Council gets look at trail project

Posted: Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A number of vehicles pulled off to the side of the road is usually a good indication a wildlife specimen is nearby, but a new project may soon give people a better method of finding wildlife around Kenai.

Ken Tarbox, a retired research project leader with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, is slated to present an update to the Kenai City Council this evening on plans for the Kenai Peninsula Wildlife Viewing Trail.

The wildlife and bird viewing trail is not a physical trail but listings of locations where one likely might see wildlife.

Marked with signs along the way, the trail provides an itinerary that takes people between different points that have good wildlife viewing opportunities.

Sites throughout the Kenai Peninsula that have wildlife viewing opportunities will be identified and then interpreted to help visitors who come to the peninsula and travel from one wildlife viewing opportunity to the next.

City Manager Rick Koch said four or five wildlife viewing sites have been identified within the city and about 50 are outside city limits, but on the peninsula.

The Kenai viewing sites are the public boat launch, Cannery Road, the Bridge Access viewing platform, Erik Hansen Scout Park and Marathon Road.

Also on the agenda for tonight’s meeting, Koch said he will provide an update on the Wal-Mart and Lowe’s construction projects.

“They’re both still doing field work. I expect they’ll be breaking ground in April next year,” he said.

The council is scheduled to vote on an ordinance that would allow members to attend an additional six meetings by teleconference each year if the council member is physically unable to attend the meetings because of the need for extended medical care and treatment for the member or the member’s immediate family.

Currently council members may attend two meetings per year by phone.

The change was introduced after council member Mike Boyle needed to travel to Seattle to be with his son, Gabe, who is undergoing treatment for leukemia.

“This would allow members to continue to serve by phone and be more effective in doing their job,” said Boyle by phone from Seattle on Tuesday.

The treatment his 10-year-old son is undergoing is not available in Alaska, and is expected to continue eight to 10 months, Boyle said.

He said his son is doing as well as can be expected with the type of blood disease he is battling.

The city council meeting begins at 7 p.m.

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