Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander speaks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Kenai Municipal Airport on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. A kiosk that will offer educational programming and interpretive products about the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is coming to the airport. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsua Clarion)

Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander speaks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Kenai Municipal Airport on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. A kiosk that will offer educational programming and interpretive products about the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is coming to the airport. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsua Clarion)

Wildlife refuge kiosk coming to airport

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge stickers, T-shirts, magnets, travel stamps and enamel pins will be available.

A new vending machine is coming to the Kenai Municipal Airport, but it won’t be dispensing soda or candy. Instead, the kiosk will offer educational programming and interpretive products about the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. It will be located across from the airport’s baggage claim, with inventory monitored remotely by the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Store Manager in Soldotna.

In a letter to Kenai Municipal Airport Manager Assistant Erica Brincefield, Alaska Geographic Executive Director Andy Hall explained the mission of Alaska Geographic and its vision for a kiosk in the Kenai Municipal Airport.

“We work with Alaska’s public lands agencies to create opportunities for all people to experience, support, and protect Alaska’s public lands, parks, forests, and refuges,” Hall wrote. “Our educational programming interpretive products help people enjoy, understand, appreciate and protect the wildlife, geology, and cultural history of Alaska’s public lands.”

Hall also said that Alaska Geographic is the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, the Bureau of Land Management and the USDA Forest Service in Alaska. It is also the nonprofit cooperating association partner to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

“We think this vending machine will provide unique educational products that will enhance the visitor experience for those traveling to and from the Kenai Municipal Airport and educate them on the varied public lands that are part of the Kenai Peninsula,” Hall wrote.

Items featured in the vending machine, Hall said, would include items similar to those offered currently on Alaska Geographic’s online shop, such as Kenai National Wildlife Refuge stickers, T-shirts, magnets, travel stamps and enamel pins.

Several members of the Kenai City Council voiced their support for the vending machine during their Wednesday night meeting.

“I think that’s great to have an option to get souvenirs,” said council member Teea Winger. “There isn’t a gift shop in our local airport.”

The council voted unanimously to award Alaska Geographic with the special use permit, which is effective from Nov. 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

Wednesday’s full city council meeting can be viewed on the City of Kenai’s YouTube channel.

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

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