• The trail is set; more work remains on designated landing sites and other features
The Kachemak Bay Water Trail was christened under blue skies Sunday and calm water, with good cheer and champagne, establishing a trail that will eventually extend as far as Seldovia with marked campsites along the way.
Dave Brann, the organizer and visionary who developed the water trail proposal, said he has been toying with the idea for five or six years.
“This last spring, I really got into it and started promoting the idea after I went to the Alaska Trail Rendezvous,” Brann said. The Alaska Trail Rendezvous is a meeting of trail enthusiasts from around the state held by the National Park Service.
“NPS gave me some websites with a comprehensive guide on how to develop water trails. It made me realize putting this together was possible,” Brann said. “I have walked the Homer side of the bay looking for potential campsites, and at present all of the campsites on the water trail, except the fishing hole campground, are within a state park.”
The completed trail, which marks accessible features, will be around 125 miles and will start at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Hole and end in Seldovia Bay with optional detours. Help from adventurers from kayakers to motorboats, are welcome and encouraged, Brann told a small crowd gathered at the inaugural event, timed to take place along with the Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Festival.
“This is a grassroots project. There are site information forms that boaters can take out with them to help gather more information about landing sites. It’s a great opportunity for people who have cabins to rent or bed and breakfasts to say they want to be a part of this,” Brann told the group.
After the talk, Brann poured champagne for those assembled to commemorate the event. Then participants got into their kayaks, a canoe and a rowboat to travel for the first leg of the trail system from the Fishing Hole to the airport beach. The journey took two hours in calm water under sunny skies.
The trail information forms can be found at the City of Homer parks office, located in the Public Works building across from the animal shelter. Brann put in an application for assistance with the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program. If granted, NPS will provide two years of technical assistance. They will help form partnerships with parks, apply for grants and provide help with the process of putting together a water trail, also called a Blue Trail in a national movement to mark significant water ways.
According to Dave Brann, the NPS has helped to develop 82 water trails in the country in the past year. He hopes to hear back from NPS on the status of his application by October.
“By giving people end point information about campsites and designated areas to explore, it encourages people to complete the trail or explore a section of it,” said Brann. By next year he is hoping to have a website with campsite information, designated launch/landing sites and a brochure with a map of the water trail.
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