Located within the Homer city limits, Calvin & Coyle Woodland Park provides an important buffer between residential development along East End Rd. and the state-designated Homer Airport Critical Habitat Area including the Beluga wetlands. The park provides habitat for moose, bears, coyotes, numerous species of birds, and other wildlife.
Kachemak Heritage Land Trust acquired the land through two separate donations in 1991 and 1997, from D. Bailey Calvin and Maurice J. Coyle, and from Harry L. Buxton. The name Calvin and Coyle Woodland Park was bestowed before the addition of the Buxton parcel, and the name remains.
A nature trail with interpretive signs was established in the mid 1990’s, with a wildlife viewing platform and boardwalk at the edge of the Beluga wetlands. The trail was very popular for hiking, bird and wildlife viewing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and youth field trips, until an extensive spruce bark beetle infestation in the late 1990s resulted in substantial tree death and windfall, significantly altering the character of the forested areas. The original interpretive signs were no longer accurate and were removed, and use of the trail declined.
In 2008, Homer Soil and Water Conservation District submitted a grant application through the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, Recreational Trails Program to provide funding for the Calvin and Coyle Woodland Park Nature Trail redevelopment project. The grant was awarded in 2009, providing funding to re-route a portion of the trail and improve the corridor and tread throughout the trail length.
Work on the redevelopment project began in July 2009, with new trail construction including two-plank boardwalk and footbridges at creek crossings. ConocoPhillips provided funding to build a new trailhead parking lot off Mariner Drive with significant help from the City of Homer, Jeff Middleton, Steve Gibson of Small Potatoes Lumber, Kelly Snow, and Josh Hankin-Foley. Eagle Scout Kyle Wentz raised the funds and completed the work to build the two new bridges on the trail. Land trust supporter and volunteer Ed Murphy built an information kiosk for the renovated trailhead.
The project was completed in spring 2011 with construction of more boardwalk on some previously existing portions of the trail and installation of new interpretive signs developed in partnership with the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies and teachers from Paul Banks Elementary School.
The primary objective for Calvin and Coyle Woodland Park is to provide both educational and recreational uses while at the same time protecting significant wildlife habitat. Thank you to all of the generous land donors, funders, and volunteers who have provided vital assistance in establishing and renovating the park for public enjoyment!