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Broomball on a Glacial Lake, Anybody?

Alaska Division of Parks

Wintertime activities abound in Kachemak Bay State Park.

Hiking, fishing, tide-pooling and camping are all pursuits practiced by thousands of people in Kachemak Bay State Park every day during the busy summer months, but on Wednesday morning’s Coffee Table, we found out that all of those activities -- and more -- can be done in the wintertime.

Curt Jackson is a skipper for Mako’s Water Taxi and a member of the Kachemak Bay State Park Community Council.

“It’s really interesting to watch winter come to the park. It's our barometer, as you see it kind of dust on Grace Ridge and then start to drop further and further down. Just last week I was cruising by Yukon Island and there was snow all the way down to the water line, you know. So winter is definitely here and I'm really interested in kind of seeing more activity happening; people are starting to use the park more in the winter and finding kind of creative ways to get out and enjoy it, you know, even in the dark days of December and January.”

One activity that is straight up impossible to participate in during the summer is ice skating on Grewingk Lake. But when it freezes up, Jackson says there’s lots of possibilities.

“Pick up hockey has been played for sure and there's even a little bit of broomball,” he said. “My wife's the director for Pier One Theater and they do stuff with the Nutcracker and because of Covid there was no Nutcracker last year. So they took dancers over and did a photoshoot on the lake in full tutus and everything. There was pretty remarkable.”

“Last winter I went across when the ice was frozen. I love to ice skate, too. And sketched the icebergs in Grewingk Lake, while wearing my ice skates.

Artist Kim McNett is a fan of the park year-round.

“It was so much fun. There were these really awesome sculptures with beautiful blues and reflections. It was just a beautiful thing. I would love to do that again if we get the conditions this year.”

McNett suggested dry media for sketches and journaling in the winter, a camera to record more details for reference, and, most importantly, something warm to sit on while being still and taking in the surroundings.

A nice warm cabin to go back to when the light fades is also something available in the park, and, according to Jackson, there are four more options for wilderness lodging this winter than before.

“Usually in the wintertime. There are four cabins, which are available to rent through the state park. There are three in Halibut Cove Lagoon, and then there are Sea Star cabins back in Tutka Bay. Well Nomad Yurts, the yurt rental folks who have the contract with the park, have agreed to leave four of the yurts open and up all winter long. And so there's going to be Humpy Creek yurt, Haystack yurt, Kayak Beach yurt and Tutka One are all going to be open all winter long available to rent.”