Celebrate 50 years of Kachemak Bay State Park

Jan 7, 2020

Credit DNR, State of Alaska

The Friends of Kachemak Bay State Parks has a year’s worth of celebrations and outreach planned beginning Tuesday, January 7 at 7 p.m. with an event at Islands and Ocean Visitor Center.

Roger McCambell worked in the park for 31 years.He retired five years ago and is now coordinating the celebration for the park through The Friends, a non-profit that organizes volunteers and fundraises for park maintenance, equipment and educational programs.
MacCambell is leading off the presentation:
Kachemak Bay State Park: The Past 50 Years - The Next 50 Years.

"Hopefully we're going to have a round table, informal history of my tenure or what I know in my 30 some years and a little before that, and then, after that, Dave Brann and Ranger Jason Oakley can join us and talk about the future," said MacCambell.

The presentation and discussion is the beginning of a monthly series on a variety of subjects that relate to the park, which includes nearly 400,000 acres of mountains, glaciers, forests, beaches, and rivers. There will be no shortage of topics for discussion.

"So we're going to do a monthly series at Islands and Ocean, something about the park, the geology, the botany, the fish. So, every month there'll be a lecture series or an educational thing. We look for a donation to, if you attend these things, to help support our nonprofit," said MacCambell.

MacCambell says because of state budget cuts and changes in regulations, The Friends of Kachemak Bay State Parks have to ramp-up their fundraising. They have fiscal responsibilities that they didn’t have before.

"The park volunteers cannot use certain power tools and we believe that includes weed whackers and other sharp tools. You know, power saws and things like that. Since we're adopting a couple of trails and doing work, we're going to have to carry our own insurance that the state does not want to cover us under workman's comp by volunteering in the park," MacCambell said.

Fundraising for the friends includes, their annual pancake breakfast during the Shorebird Festival, a blueberry wine from Bear Creek Winery and a couple of dedicated coffee roasts from Captain's Coffee, a golden anniversary beer at Grace Ridge Brewery. They have a birthday bash on this side of the bay planned for May 9 at the SPARC and their annual Trails Day maintenance work party in the park on June 6 but MacCambell is calling folks together right now to join The Friends -  in the Winter Carnival parade on February 8.

"Come. Just join us at the high school in the morning if you'd like to march, if you want to, wear a costume of whatever recreational activity you do in the park. You can be the glacier. You can be a tree. You can be a fishermen. I know that the chamber has certain rules, no toy guns if you're a hunter or real guns, whatever, recreational activity, photography, camping," said MacCambell.

The theme of the parade this year is 50 Years of Winter Wilderness, a nod to the park’s anniversary.  And, MacCambell says, they are especially seeking out one group of people to march with them. 

"If you volunteered for us at some point and never left Homer after coming up to volunteer. Oh, I could name names, but I'm not sure they want their names. Some of the shakers and movers in our community came up here years ago as young people out of college and volunteered, never left, and now they're some of our leading citizens," said MacCambell.

The presentation,
Kachemak Bay State Park: The Past 50 Years - The Next 50 Years.
is Tuesday night, January 7,  at 7 p.m. at Islands and Ocean Visitor Center. Admission is by donation at the door.

You can join the Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park in the Homer Winter Carnival parade by emailing kbayvolunteer@gmail.com.
Or, check in on their social media pages for more information.