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Kachemak Bay State Park and State Wilderness Park  

Kachemak Bay State Park and State Wilderness Park

Just a short hop from Homer is Alaska's first state park. Kachemak Bay State Park, along with the adjoining Kachemak Bay State Wilderness Park to the south, contains almost 400,000 acres of mountains, glaciers, forests and ocean. From the more than 300,000-square-mile Harding Ice Field and 4,000-foot glacial peaks to lush forests of spruce, moss and shoulder-high devil's club, the beauty of the parks is unparalleled. The shoreline is a ragged series of protected coves, bays and lagoons where intertidal zones are alive with starfish, crabs and other marine life. The gravel beaches have long been favorites among Homer clam diggers.

Wildlife is plentiful in this area. The rich lagoons and waters just offshore attract whales, sea otters, seals, dolphins and impressive salmon runs. The seashore and tidal marshes are teaming with life; mollusks, anthropoids and sea stars are just a few species that can be seen at low tide. In many rivers and streams there are impressive runs of salmon, in particular kings, which gather in Halibut Cove Lagoon in May and June and pinks, which spawn up Humpy Creek in July and August. Birders are particularly attracted to the area by a wide variety of sea birds, including horned and tufted puffins, pigeon guillemots, marbled murrelets and common murres. Gull Island near Halibut Cove is a rookery for more than 12,000 seabirds, especially puffins.

Many visitors escape into the wilderness for a few days by boating, kayaking or hiking to such scenic areas as Grewingk Glacier, Poot Peak, China Poot Bay, Humpy Creek, Halibut Cove Lagoon, Tutka Bay and Sadie Cove. Others reserve a public-use cabin or book a week at a number of wilderness lodges in and around the park.

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