A podium marks the beginning of a StoryWalk at Soldotna Creek Park on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

A podium marks the beginning of a StoryWalk at Soldotna Creek Park on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Into the woods

Project offers hikers a story along Soldotna Creek Park trail

People visiting Soldotna Creek Park can now enjoy a story while walking from the playground to the river, thanks to the installation of a StoryWalk at the park. The concept is simple: Space out pages of a book on separate signs along a trail for people to read while they walk.

Posts with pages of the book wind along from the trailhead near the playground to where Soldotna Creek flows into the Kenai River. According to the first sign, park patrons will have the opportunity to read a new book every week during the summer. This week’s book is “Raven” by Gerald McDermott.

“Have fun building literacy skills, getting some exercise, and explore,” the sign says.

Walkers are encouraged to talk about what is happening in the story, including what the pictures may mean, and to predict what may happen next while also taking in the world around them.

“Think about how the book makes you feel,” the sign says.

The installation was made possible by a $2,500 donation from the Soldotna Library Friends, to be used specifically for the project, as well as a partnership between the Soldotna Public Library, the Soldotna Parks and Recreation Department, Soldotna Library Friends and the Soldotna Police Department.

The concept of StoryWalks came from Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont, who developed the concept in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg Hubbard Library. Because of copyright laws, libraries who implement such programs must display the actual dismembered pages of the book, as opposed to making photocopies.

A StoryWalk is also being offered along the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge’s Keen-Eye Nature Trail from refuge headquarters to Headquarters Lake.

More information about the StoryWalk can be found on the City of Soldotna’s website at soldotna.org.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

Correction: This story has been updated to state that the author of Raven is Gerald McDermott.

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