Category Archives: About the Park

Wildflowers Abound

MH

Wildflowers and berries in Alaska are truly beautiful and everywhere. Twenty hours of sunlight during the summer and the natural cool, moist summers make the state a wildflower paradise. The park setting of Kasilof RV Park allows one to truly enjoy the serenity and the natural beauty of the wildflowers and wildlife that are plentiful in the park. In addition, the park is surrounded by a natural area where wildflowers and plants flourish and an undeveloped forest area at the back of the park overlooking Crooked Creek.

MH

Across the road is Johnson Lake which supports a large water lily bed plus a bog area with unusual flowering plants. Following are photos of the flowers and berries that we have found in the park and the surrounding areas. Many of the following flower photos are from Mary Hopson’s ‘Alaskan Wildflowers‘ which features many wonderful photos of Alaskan wildflowers.

MH

The park has natural areas between each of the RV sites. These natural areas abound with a large variety of flowering plants and berries. The ground is covered with the small green leaves of the low bush cranberries which bloom in the spring and have bright red fruit in the fall.

 

In addition, there are areas where dwarf Dogwood blooms in the spring and then has inedible berries in the fall. These plants provide a cover for the very fertile soil that is made up of peat and other humus.

A large variety of other plants make up the natural areas between the RV sites. Wild Daisies are very prolific and last most of the summer. Buttercups and sweet clover usually bloom earlier in the summer.

 

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Purple Lupin also blooms early in the summer followed by Dutch Iris. It is common for the natural areas to support the ground cover of Dogwood and Cranberries and then have other flowers coming up through them and blooming above them.

 

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In the early spring, large clumps of green start rising out of the natural areas and by mid-June the long stems are covered with ‘Bluebells’ and ‘Wild Geraniums’. Although each have a short blooming period, the plants continue to provide a green cover.

 

MH
MH

Mid-summer finds the Larkspur (Delphinium) bloom on tall stocks around the Lodge building both in pink and purple. Then peaks out the beautiful Chocolate Lilies hidden among the huge ferns at the back of the Lodge. 

High-bush Cranberries are also prolific in the park in all of the natural areas and along the front. They bloom through the summer and produce fruit which ripens usually in the fall when the leaves begin to turn a bright red. There are other edible berries also in the park including red Raspberries, black Currants, wild Strawberries, Elder berries, Watermelon berries and the low-bush Cranberries.

MH

And we shouldn’t forget about our state flower, the ‘Forget-me-not’. These beautiful blue flowers cover large areas of the natural areas in the park.

MH

 

We have a large number of wild rose bushes in the park, most the pinkish red. However, we have found several wild white roses. These bushes flower most of July and into August followed by a multitude of rose hips. In August and September, the Goldenrod add color to the beginning change in the temperature.

And we should never forget what I consider flowers that truly define Alaska, ‘Fireweed’. The new shoots start appearing as the snow melts and the surface ground thaws. The locals called these shoots, ‘Alaska Asparagus’. The stem grows during the spring and then in early July pods begin to appear at the top of the stem and continue to appear as the stem grows sometimes up to three feet. In mid-July, the pods begin to open revealing the bright reddish strands of blooms. 

In some areas, the ‘Fireweed’ covers large areas of the open ground. Here the sun make the plants grow taller and the color is more intense. Indian lore says, ‘When the flowers reach the end of the stem, snow falls in six weeks’. I don’t know if that is true, but I do know that when the blooms reach the end of the stem, the pods open to release the seeds to the wind. The seeds are similar to seeds from the ‘Dandelion’ with feather like tops that carrying the seed on the wind. I have to admit that sometimes it appears that it is snowing. 

And finally although this does not include all of the flowering plants that surround the area of the Kasilof RV Park, each summer we have a somewhat rare plant that we enjoy seeing and showing to all that are here. Northern Yarrow is very common across Alaska, but it is unusual for the flowers to be pink. The soil conditions have to be just right for this phenomena to occur. You will just have to come and see it for yourself. Please do!

MH photos by Mary Hopson

Alaska Cotton Grass-Mary Hopson
Monkshood-Mary Hopson
Pushki-Mary Hopson
Trailing Raspberry-Mary Hopson
Prolific Daisies
 Wild Iris-Mary Hopson
Wild Geranium
Mary Hopson Geranium
Orange Hawkweed – Mary Hopson
Kinnikinnick-Mary Hopson
Yellow Anemone-Mary Hopson
Watermellon Berry Flowers (MH)
Watermelon Berries-Mary Hopson
Sitka Burnet-Mary Hopson
Alaska Fireweed
Wild Mustard-Mary Hopson
NorthernBlackCurrant (MH)
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Bird Watching

Eagle *

Kasilof RV Park is a haven for Alaskan birds.  The trees in the park, the lake across the road, and the forest behind the campground all provide a bird friendly habitat for a large variety of birds and waterfowl. Whether it is an Eagle flying over head, a Ptarmigan foraging in the grass with it’s chicks, or a Orange Crowned Warbler flitting from branch to branch in a alder tree, the park is a great place for bird watching. Over twenty species have been spotted to date.

Yellow Rumped Warbler*

The small birds are lively all summer long with the Chickadees, Finch, Thrush and bright Warblers flitting through branches of the cottonwoods, alders and willows.  The Owls are busy catching the small furry creatures in the natural areas between the campsites and along the road. 

Blackbilled Magpie*

There are Eagles flying overhead occasionally, Ravens sitting in the treetops mimicking other birds, and Gray Jays and Blackbilled Magpies flying from tree to tree in the park.

 
Common Loon*

Johnson Lake across Crooked Creek road from the RV park is summer home to a large number of waterfowl.  All of the summer residents of the Park enjoy the birds on the lake and particularly the Common Loons with their beautiful calls in the early morning and evening. 

Trumpeter  and Tundra Swans often spend the late summer in the lake on their way south although occasionally a pair will raise young. 
 

Common Merganser*

The lake has a large variety of ducks. Teal and Mallard ducks plus Grebes and Goldeneyes share the lake for the summer.  Canadian and Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes arrive in the fall from their nesting grounds up in the tundra of northern Alaska.

Eagles with young on Kachemak*

Not far from the park is the Cook Inlet with it’s variety of sea birds.  Eagle pairs and their young spend time on the beaches of Kachemak Bay in Homer.

 

Arctic Tern in flight*

On the other side of the Kenai Peninsula out of Seward are major rookeries for all types of seabirds.  The Kenai Fjords National Park is home to both horned and tufted puffins, Kittiwakes, Cormorants, Arctic Terns and a large variety of Gulls.  The cruise boats that tour the Kenai Fjords National Park spend time touring all the sea birds rookeries as well as the sea animals and the many glaciers that flow out of the Harding Icefield in the Kenai Mountains.


Mergansers with large broods are a common sight on Johnson Lake

Images with an astreisk (*) courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Alaska Image Library. We thank those photographers that provided their photos to the library for our use.

Orange Crowned Warbler*
Downy Woodpecker*
Red-necked Grebes*
Willow Ptarmagin*
Mallard Drake*
Fox Sparrow*
Belted Kingfisher*
Closeup of a Sandhill Crane*
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Local Wildlife

There is an abundance of wildlife around the Kasilof RV Park largely due to the park-like setting with natural areas between the campsites, the forested area behind the park, Johnson Lake across the road and it’s secluded location away from large populations. Moose are the most often visitors. Around the park and on the local roads, adult moose are regularly seen.

There is a female moose that shares her usual twin calves with the park visitors and they have been seen to grow from new born to large calves over the season.

This momma moose brought her calf in to learn how tasty the willow bushes are, and he is affectionately named after KRVP moose mascot Spike.

 

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Although not often seen in the park, there are several small herds of Caribou on the Kenai Peninsula.

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They can be seen occasionally along the roadsides, in the meadows and open areas especially in the spring and early summer.

 

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They generally spend the summer months in the cooler ranges of the Kenai Mountains.

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Bears are plentiful in Alaska. If you are interested in bear watching, we can make arrangements for you to visit Katmai National Park across from Homer.

 

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Fortunately, the Kasilof RV Park is not bothered by them as long at no one leaves trash and food around for them. We are very careful about removing the trash each day from the park to avoid the problem.  You can help by making sure that your trash is placed in the containers at the Lodge by five each day.

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Driving down to the Kenai Peninsula, Dall Sheep are often viewed in the cliffs along the road.  And occasionally they will even come down on the road to eat the salt off the highway.

Be very careful driving through the cliff section of the Turnagain Arm south of Anchorage as sometimes there are sheep and tourists on the highway.

 

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The Kenai Peninsula also boasts one of the premier sea life viewing areas of Alaska.  Many species of sea life and sea birds are seen from the daily cruise boats leaving Seward and touring the glaciers and fertile waters of Resurrection Bay and the Kenai Fjords National Park.  Often several species of whales are seen including Orca (Killer Whales), Sperm, Minke, Humpback and rarely Beluga.

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There are otters, sea lions, seals in the waters and occasionally black and brown bears, mountain goats and sheep on the shoreline cliffs.

 

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Add the beauty of the area and close-up views of many glaciers and the boat tours become a must see on your trip to Alaska.  The Park can book trips for you with several different cruise companies and will be happy to explain the differences.

These are but a few of the wide variety of wildlife in Alaska.  Herds of wild buffalo, musk ox and caribou exist in large numbers in the vast plains of the north and east.  Elk and deer are plentiful in the Southeast.  Mountain goats and sheep are plentiful in the many different Alaskan mountain ranges.

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And lest we forget our little furry friends, the Spruce Squirrel (we call Boomers) the ermine, marmots, lemmings, ground squirrels and the not so friendly Wolverine and Lynx. 
One nice thing!  There are no reptiles in Alaska except for a very small spring frog.  NO SNAKES!
Images with an astreisk (*) courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Alaska Image Library

Two Bull Moose*
Spike Welcomes You!
Adult Moose kneels to eat grass
Caribou along the roadside
Brown bears are seen on the rivers during the salmon season
Cubs fishing from a log
Brown bear cubs play in the river*
Brown bear fishes in local river*
Orca (Killer Whale) spouts
Sealions lounge on rocks
Otters feed in the rich waters*
Orca pod seen from the boat
Sheep on the road
A mother moose leads her calf
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Meet the Owners

Jon and Jan Pyle were sweethearts through the 4th Grade of school in Hoxie, Kansas. In 1949, Jon and his parents moved to a farm in eastern Kansas and for 58 years, Jon and Jan were separated. In 2007, they were reunited via the internet and several visits to each other. They were married November 23, 2007 in Copper Mountain, Colorado with all their children and grandchildren attending.

Jan stayed in Hoxie and married her High School sweetheart. They had a dairy farm for several years and then started a Title business in Colby, Kansas. During this time, Jan had three children, two girls and a boy. They lived in Lawrence, Kansas and Castle Rock, Colorado, before moving to Apache Junction, Arizona where Jan managed an RV park. Her husband, Kyle died of Leukemia in 2003. They have 10 grandchildren.Jon moved to a farm near Emporia, Kansas. He married Lindy and graduated college at Emporia State. They moved to California after graduation and had three children, two boys and a girl. Jon worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as an aeronautical engineer and program manager. They moved for NASA to Ohio, Virginia and finally Washington, DC and he retired in 1993. Lindy had developed Multiple Sceloris and was no longer able to get around. They purchased an RV and traveled the US visiting their children and two grandchildren. In their travels, they made it to Alaska for the first time in 1993. Except for two years when Lindy was hospitalized, they made the trip to Alaska for the summer until 2005 when she passed away.

Jon has driven the Alaska-Canadian highways twenty times over the past fourteen years and knows all the routes to make your trip easier. Most importantly, he knows all the sights to see and when to see them. To see an example of their trip to Alaska and returning in 2007, visit ‘Trip to Alaska’ and ‘Trip from Alaska’.

Jon is an Alaskan resident and although he is a ‘snowbird’ spending the cold winter months in the lower 48, he loves the springs, summers and falls in Alaska. He is very familiar with all the summer activities on the Kenai Peninsula and much of Alaska, where to go and when to make your trip memorable. If you like clamming, fishing, sightseeing or boating, he and Jan will be happy to discuss things to see, things to do and will even make arrangements and reservations when possible for you.
 

RV Pad
Big Rigs Welcome!
The new Camp Kitchen
Moose off the deck
Wildflowers around the park
An eagle surveys the park
Wild cranberries at the Park
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