Kachemak Bay Water Trail Officially Opens

Shady Grove Oliver

     The Kachemak Bay Water Trail officially opened last week. There were ribbon-cutting ceremonies in Seldovia and on the Homer Spit - the suggested starting and ending points of the route. 

     The Kachemak Bay Water Trail is one of many of its kind around the state. Morgan Warthin is a public information officer with the National Park Service. She says it’s kind of like its land-based counterparts.

     “It’s very similar to a hiking trail. It’s just not made of ground," says Warthin. "It doesn’t have a hard surface; it’s a water surface. But it’s a route and it allows you to go and get out into the country and go from one spot to the next along a well-defined trail and really enjoy the country via kayak.”

     Lisa Holzapfel with the National Park Service says this all started with one person.

     "Dave (Brann) had this dream about a water trail. He came to the National Park Service, to our program, to see if we could help put together the right group of people to make this happen.”

     Brann says it’s taken a lot of work and now that it’s open, he’s feeling relieved.

     "Today is a big milestone." he says. "It’s over the hump. And hopefully, we’ll get to play a lot this summer and make use of the trail while we’re doing things.”

     He’s one of the few people that’s already traveled the full one-hundred-twenty-five miles of trail around the bay. But, he says there’s always more to see and do.

     Homer City Manager Walt Wrede says that while the trail will be an economic boon to the communities, it will also open up some harder-to-get-to spots along the way.

     “It’s a little harder to navigate," says Wrede. "It’s shallow on this side and you have to pay attention to the tides and know what you’re doing. But, there’s a lot to do here close to home.”

     That seems to be a common theme here. Yes, the Kachemak Bay water trail is a federal, state, and local partnership. Yes, it will encourage tourism. But, it’s also a way for locals to explore their surroundings. It’s for everyone ... well, everyone who likes water, at least.