The City's Recreation & Trails Master Plan is the framework for maintaining and nurturing Soldotna as a high quality place to engage in superior recreation, leisure, and community services. The plan focuses on key elements:
- The Kenai River. Recognizing the inherent value of the river as a core component of the park system; the plan seeks to increase access to trails, fishing, and camping, while protecting and restoring its fragile ecosystems;
- Year-Round Activities. Recognizing that Soldotna residents pride ourselves on embracing winter with strong interests in outdoor activities, like skating, walking, skiing, and snowshoeing;
- Flexibility. A need for a flexible parks and recreation system to respond to economic growth, and retain and attract families with children;
- Variety. The desire for the parks and recreation system to continue diverse recreational opportunities for persons of all ages and abilities, and in all weather conditions.
Development of the plan allowed city staff and consultants to connect extensively with the public through a Steering Committee, multiple public open house events, a stakeholder "roadshow," online surveys, and the very important Recreation Round-Up, a large event celebrating recreation attended by over 500 people.
Highlights from the public process include:
- Folks respond most actively to community events at parks, community races/walks, and cross-country skiing;
- Area recreation and trail opportunities are highly valued, especially the Regional Sports Complex, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, city sidewalks/bike lanes, Tsalteshi Trails, and Soldotna Creek Park;
- The Kenai River is a pivotal natural feature of our community;
- The Soldotna region is home to an active, social, and ambitious community, who are active year-round, indoors and outside;
- Pedestrian safety and connectivity can be improved through innovative projects;