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Harmony Point Wilderness Lodge: a niche in time.

Growing numbers of travelers are coming to Alaska these days for wilderness adventures -- not the traditional sportsmen's holiday of big game hunting, but close-up "participatory" encounters with the natural environment.

Hidden away in historic Seldovia, at the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula, lies a pleasant surprise for these new adventure travelers: Harmony Point Wilderness Lodge, a place founded to prove that the real Alaska lies somewhere beyond crowds of people, hyper-pressurized tours and widespread destruction of the wilderness.

To discover the lodge, trek on down to Homer and book a plane, small ferry or charter boat across Kachemak Bay to Seldovia-by-the-Sea (or "the far side," as locals like to call it).

Then, take a taxi or bike from the Seldovia airport or small boat harbor through rolling green meadows to a secluded corner of the countryside. There, surrounded by tall, whispering trees and overlooking an idyllic inlet of Kachemak Bay, lies Harmony Point.

Guests are greeted by smiling proprietor-hosts Tim and Deb Robertson and Tim and Ila Dillon, 30-something post-boomers, who founded the main lodge and nearby comfy cabin in the spring of 1986.

Tim Robertson, a former fisheries biologist, says, "I've had my fill of jobs that involved resource exploitation rather than protection. I knew a change was necessary, and the lodge seemed to be what to do next."

His wife Deb, once employed by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, agrees that the best way to achieve her goals of environmental harmony was to operate a wilderness lodge.

Tim Dillon, a former soils scientist for the U.S. Forest Service, gained his wilderness experience from homesteading in Homer. Ila Dillon, still a school teacher in the winter months, brings to the lodge the delicate touch of great home-cooking.

Adding up their diverse experience, the foursome discovered the perfect name for what they wanted to achieve in their new establishment: Harmony Point Wilderness Lodge.

To upgrade the land and buildings, the couples put in months of muscle-building, back-breaking, brow-sweating work. They smoothed out the edges of the main lodge and cabin. They built two more hand-hewn, Sitka spruce mini-lodges to accommodate up to 12 guests at a time. They added a sauna, bought boats and moved in furniture.

Through all their hard work, the owners kept one thought in mind: Visitors who come should be able to experience the best that nature has to offer.

Today's travelers benefit from the eco-tourism effort. Inside the main lodge, guests sit down to family-style dinners that feature fresh halibut and salmon, crab and oysters, local vegetables, berries, and hearth-baked goods fresh from the hands of Ila Dillon. Light from a large wood stove flickers on the lofty ceiling overhead.

Each of the three mini-lodges contains stacks of fragrant, hand-split firewood for the wood-burning stoves. Cozy comforters lie across spacious bunks. Old-fashioned was basins and matching water pitchers sit on the dressers. For privacy and pleasure, windows from each cabin look out onto the woods, not onto other cabins.

And, oh, what pleasure lies in the woods surrounding Harmony Point. Bald eagles, owls and dozens of other bird species soar amongst the old spruce treetops. Bear and moose rumble through the brush. In the peaceful inlet below the lodge swim red and king salmon, black and gray cod, rock fish and halibut.

Harmony Point lodge owners want their guests to enjoy the wilderness setting, so they've provided dozens of outdoor activities into the pastoral countryside. You can watch birds and sea life. Kayak around the inlet. Explore the tide pools and shells on deserted ocean beaches. Pack a picnic and climb aboard a mountain bike for a rollicking ride into Seldovia. Climb a mountain. Join a guided nature hike.

If these active outdoor adventures don't catch your fancy, you can just sit for hours on a hilltop enjoying the peace and solitude ... or snuggle up inside the lodge with a good book and cup of hot coffee.

For details on Harmony Point Wilderness Lodge's amenities, check P. 51 of this issue's Fly-in Fishing Lodge Directory ... or head on down to Seldovia, and check out the lodge yourself.
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Title Annotation:Seldovia, Alaska
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Date:May 1, 1993
Words:685
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