A Stroll Through Cunningham Park
Tucked away off Beaver Loop Rd in Kenai, Alaska is Cunningham Park, where visitors can enjoy fishing the Kenai River, taking a stroll along the boardwalk, or enjoying a summertime picnic. With restrooms built and ample parking, the park offers some convenient comforts for visitors who want to experience scenic views of the Kenai River and nearby mountain ranges.
Cunningham Park is located at 2400 Beaver Loop Rd, which has entry points on both Bridge Access Road and the Kenai Spur Highway. Consequently, Beaver Loop is also a scenic side road to bypass driving into the City of Kenai should you want to head directly to the flats or the Kenai waterfront district. The quaint neighborhood offers you some glimpses into the lifestyle that can be had for people who relocate to Kenai. The lots are ample sized, the homes are nestled in the trees, and beautiful scenery abounds.
Because of its location along the river bank, Cunningham Park offers easy access for fishing for silver salmon and red salmon (sockeye) during the summer season.
The red salmon run starts in mid-July and lasts approximately two weeks. It is one of the biggest draws to Kenai for resident Alaskans, who participate in the Personal Use Fishery (dipnetting) along the beach and from boats in the river. It is a massive migration that attracts Alaskans statewide.
The silver salmon run starts much later in summer and extends from late August through to mid-September. Although not quite as an attraction as the running of the reds, the silver salmon run offers sport fishermen an opportunity to enjoy fishing for one of Alaska’s great fish species. The Kenai Silver Salmon Derby happens towards the late end of the silver salmon run, when most of the fish are making their way up the Kenai River to their annual spawning grounds.
Cunningham Park is also a perfect destination for photography and birding during the summer months. Kenai is home to a variety of migratory species of birds, who nest in the flats and estuary at the mouth of the Kenai River. Although bald eagles and ravens are ubiquitous in Kenai, like much of Alaska, avid birders can also spot sandhill cranes, bohemian waxwings, and many other waterfowl from the boardwalk at the park.
A rare and surprising occurrence are the belugas who travel up river from the mouth of the Kenai River hunting for fish. These critically endangered whales are known to swim deep into the river looking for food. Pods of belugas can be seen as white and gray ghostly creatures disturbing the waters as they search for their favorite fish.
Cunningham park is an excellent example of the bank restorations projects that occur annually in Kenai. The park is pristine, the boardwalk and restrooms are well maintained, and the waterfront area is managed both by the City of Kenai’s Department of Parks and Recreation as well as community members who cherish this little gem of a park. That makes Cunningham Park a must see destination during your travels to Kenai.elo.