Above is an example of one of the 39 maps that are included in the guide book The Kenai Canoe Trails. This particular map of the Paddle Lake area is found on page 107. These maps are unique to this book and represent the most informative charting of this area of Alaska yet available. Over 170 campsites are identified. Trail length and lake depths are provided. By choosing aerial photos as a foundation for the maps, much more information can be learned about the lakes and surrounding country. Meadows, drainages, forest type, and other similar information is available to anyone with a keen eye and a little study time.
The maps production has been a real labor of love, requiring endless hours and some very sophisticated computer programming and manipulation. The goal was to provide the user of The Kenai Canoe Trails with a clear understanding of the contour of each lake, along with accurate locations of camps, portages, and other landmarks.
Over 70 aerial photographs were used in the production of these maps. The original aerial photos were supplied by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, and were taken late in the summer of 1988. These photos were then scanned into a digital format. It usually took three or four, and as many as six separate aerial photos to produce one map. The various sections of the lake and its surrounding country were "quilted" together carefully so that a perfect match could be obtained. Then adjustments were made in contrast, gamma curves, skewing, and orientation, until the variations between photos could be completely erased. Finally, careful alignment of true north to south was done, then the composite photo was trimmed to page size and imported into the document. At that point, mile square grid lines were added following the standard of the Seward Meridian sections, township, and region marks. Next, campsites and trails were added. The author was able to "zoom" in so close to these maps that individual trees could be distinguish. In this way, he could locate the exact position of the trails. When the trails themselves were not visible, the red trail-line was placed as close to proper location as possible.
It would have been nice to maintain the same scale throughout the book, but this proved impractical. Some lakes are quite large, while others are small. The choice was made to concentrate on producing the most useful map of each area, and let the scale take care of itself. After grid lines were placed, careful measurements were made and scale for each map was established.
In addition to the maps in The Kenai Canoe Trails, it is suggested that topographic maps be used. They will give more information on altitude as well as a handy overall study of the area. The maps in this book along with standard topographical maps should provide a rich source of information. The quadrangles which cover this area are:
Swanson Lake Trails: Kenai C-2
Swanson River Trails: Kenai C-2, C-3, D-2, D-3
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