Location and Climate
The Kenai Peninsula Borough is comprised of the Kenai Peninsula, Cook Inlet and a large unpopulated area northeast
of the Alaska Peninsula. The Borough includes portions of the Chugach National Forest, the Kenai National Wildlife
Refuge, The Kenai Fjords National Park, and portions of the Lake Clark and Katmai National Park. The twin Cities
of Kenai and Soldotna are the population centers of the Borough, approximately 65 air miles south of Anchorage.It
lies at approximately 60.550000° North Latitude and -151.266670° West Longitude . The area encompasses
16,013.3 sq. miles of land and 8,741.3 sq. miles of water. January temperatures range from 4 to 22; July temperatures
vary from 46 to 65. Average annual precipitation is 20 inches.
History, Culture and Demographics
The Kenaitze Indians (Dena'ina) have occupied the Peninsula historically. The City of Kenai was founded in 1791
as a Russian fur trading post. In the early 1900s cannery operations and construction of the railroad spurred development.
It was the site of the first major Alaska oil strike, in 1957, and has been a center for exploration and production
since that time. The Borough was incorporated as a second-class borough in 1964.
The population of the community consists of 10.2% Alaska Native or part Native. The Kenai Peninsula, located 60
air miles south of Anchorage, is filled with stunning scenery, fascinating history and a rich cultural heritage.
The Kenai River is a major sport fishing location for Anchorage residents and tourists. The river is world renown
for trophy king (chinook), silver (coho) and red (sockeye) salmon, so the Peninsula is well-traveled by sportsmen
during summer months. The area has a well-capitalized infrastructure of airports, sports, roads, public schools,
and energy related facilities.
The economy of the Borough consists of heritage industries including commercial fishing, mining and timber, as
well as tourism and petroleum industry activities. The natural beauty and recreational activities have led to a
growing tourism industry with a well-developed list of attractions including world famous Kenai River, the Alaska
SeaLife Center, the Challenger Learning Center, art galleries, and millions of acres of public forests.
Communities located within the Borough include:
Anchor Point, Grouse Creek Group, Beluga, Clam Gulch, Cohoe, Cooper Landing, Crown Point, Diamond Ridge, Fox River,
Fritz Creek, Funny River, Halibut Cove, Happy Valley, Homer, Hope, Kachemak, Kalifornsky, Kasilof, Kenai, Lowell
Point, Miller Landing, Moose Pass, Nanwalek, Nikiski, Nikolaevsk, Ninilchik, Port Graham, Primrose, Ridgeway, Salamatof,
Seldovia, Seldovia Village, Seward, Soldotna, Sterling, Sunrise and Tyonek.
The borough seat is Soldotna
Economy and Transportation
The Borough economy is highly diverse. Many residents are employed in services for Cook Inlet oil and natural gas
drilling and exploration. Oil refining operations occur north of Kenai in Nikiski. Both in-state and out-of-state
visitors provide a significant industry on the Peninsula. Other important economic sectors include sport, subsistence
and commercial fishing, fish processing, government, timber and lumber, agriculture, transportation, services,
construction and retail trade. 1,555 borough residents hold commercial fishing permits which allow fishing for
salmon, herring, cod, bottom fish such as halibut, and shellfish. Harvesting of spruce bark beetle-killed timber
also occurs as value-added processes are implemented.
Kenai is accessible by the Sterling Highway to Anchorage, Fairbanks, Canada and the lower 48 states. Scheduled
and charter airlines and helicopter services are provided. Both Homer and Seward have developed deepwater docks.
The Nikiski industrial area has 4 additional private docking facilities for tankers, ocean-going freighters, and
other marine transportation. The State Ferry serves Homer.