Volunteers clean up what fishers left behind at Rotary Park.

Volunteers clean up what fishers left behind at Rotary Park.

Rotary Park gets an autumn cleaning

Over two decades ago a Soldotna Rotarian had an idea to create handicapped access to the Kenai River so wounded veterans and others with physical challenges could still enjoy the amazing experience of fishing the mighty Kenai. It was no easy task and took several years of perseverance and collaboration with local, state and federal agencies to engineer and permit what today is known as Rotary Park.

Over the years thousands have enjoyed fishing at Rotary Park and the project has become a signature for the Soldotna Rotary Club and a testimony of what can be achieved when a community works together.

Earlier this fall Rotarians gathered for a late afternoon clean-up and maintenance of the popular park. Past President Dr. Matt Pyhala was one of the volunteers.

“Actually it’s a lot cleaner down here this year than it has been in the past. I think that can be attributed to education, people have become more conscientious and have learned what to do with their line if it breaks off or if they spool their line instead of throwing it on the bank they are taking it to a receptacle or somewhere to recycle it. The City of Soldotna has also done a great job of placing more trash receptacles at convenient locations so people have a place to put their trash. I think respect for the outdoors and people taking responsibility for what they do is increasing and speaks highly of the educational efforts that are being made on behalf of the resource,” he said.

Over the years the park has expanded from its original access.

“At the most upstream point there are two handicapped accessible walkways and then west of that is a little island that folks can wade to if they are able and that is all part of the park we are cleaning up on this beautiful autumn evening,” added Pyhala.

On the back side of the island ice had already formed and was thick enough to walk on.

“Easily four inches of ice here where the water is stagnant so we are keeping our fingers crossed for some cold temperatures to grow some ice for our winter events and festivities. It’s been several years since we have been able to cut ice for the ice sculptures for the Peninsula Winter Games. We’ve been missing the opportunity to provide the blocks of ice for the ice carving that is such a huge part of our winter activities. It’s a project our club always looks forward to and we hopefully will be able to do that again this year,” he said.

This year’s Peninsula Winter Games sponsored by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce will be held Jan. 21 at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. Games include: dog sled rides, kick sleds, giant ice slide, snow machine rides, a scavenger hunt, archery, a kids’ Monopoly Tournament, a Hockey tournament, a free lunch and dinner, and a fireworks show.

Rotarian Dr. Matt Pyhala joins the annual clean-up effort at Rotary Park.

Rotarian Dr. Matt Pyhala joins the annual clean-up effort at Rotary Park.

Soldotna Rotarians clear debris at handicap accessible Rotary Park.

Soldotna Rotarians clear debris at handicap accessible Rotary Park.

More in News

The 2022 graduating class of River City Academy celebrates Tuesday, May 17, 2022, outside of Skyview Middle School just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
River City Academy says goodbye to 19 grads, 2 original staff members

Tuesday’s graduation was the last for two staff members who have been with the school since its beginning

Lawmakers from both bodies of the Alaska State Legislature mingle in the halls of the Alaska State Capitol on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, the last day of the legislative session, following the Senate’s passing of the state’s budget bill. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Senate agrees to budget, House has until midnight

With hours left in session, House members remain divided

Renewable IPP CEO Jenn Miller presents information about solar power during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly OKs new tax exemptions for independent power producers

The ordinance was brought forth in response to a proposed solar farm on the Kenai Peninsula

Kenai Central High School graduates throw caps at the end of their commencement ceremony on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Make a great life’

Kenai Central High School graduates more than 75 students

A black bear gets into a bird feeder in April 2005 at Long Lake, Alaska. (Photo courtesy of Alaska Department of Fish and Game)
Watch out for bears, moose

Take precautions to keep attractants away from bears and give moose and calves space

Kenai Finance Director Terry Eubank, left, and Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander present during a budget work session on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Flat mill rate, sales tax included in Kenai budget proposal

The budget proposal is subject to final approval by the Kenai City Council

Senate effectively kills restrictive transgender sports bill

Bipartisan group of senators votes to table controversial bill

Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, chair of the bicameral conference committee tasked with hammering out differences in the state’s budget bill, signs the committee report as members finished their work on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Committee compromises on PFD in budget plan

Members of the conference committee agreed Tuesday to a payment of about $3,800

Most Read