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Beach clean-up process underway

Posted: August 3, 2011 - 8:00am  |  Updated: August 3, 2011 - 8:36am
City of Kenai worker Alex Koch uses a tractor to rake the Cook Inlet beach at the mouth of the Kenai River Tuesday afternoon.   Photo by M. Scott Moon
Photo by M. Scott Moon
City of Kenai worker Alex Koch uses a tractor to rake the Cook Inlet beach at the mouth of the Kenai River Tuesday afternoon.

The large sockeye salmon run brought scores of Alaskan residents to the beaches of Kenai in order to access the dipnet personal use fisheries. Most of those who made the trip came away with their allotment of fish. However, the increased traffic took a toll on the beaches.

With a large amount of people in a confined area, there is a risk of environmental and social issues, Kenai Parks and Recreation Director Bob Frates said.

However, Frates explained that impact was not as substantial as some might think.

“With the seasonal enforcement officers and their presence, a lot of the environmental impacts were minimal,” Frates said.

The low impacts could be attributed to the efforts the city puts forth to make sure the beaches are clean during and after the season. While the fishery was open, Gabe Linegar was appalled by the amount of trash and half-used fish that lay on the beach from dipnetters not taking care of their mess, he said.

“It seems like they really just kind of forget what’s important with our land and what they’re doing out there, they don’t clean up anything ” Linegar said. “They leave their trash, they leave fish remains all over, it’s real sad.”

Frates said his crew worked on cleaning up the beach at night when the fishery was closed during the season. After the fishery was open for 24 hours, he said his crew was dispatched during the day also.

“We were doing what we had to do to keep on top of that,” Frates said.

Linegar said he was very impressed with the city’s clean up efforts, although he felt those efforts shouldn’t rest solely on the city’s shoulders.

“I know the city is doing the best they can,” Linegar said. “Us as citizens and residents of Alaska need to start cleaning up after ourselves.”

Linegar is a Kenai River guide and said some of his clients from out of state poke fun at their observations of the dipnet fishery.

Most of them, he said, are astounded they see people partying instead of using the resources in front of them.

“The fact that out of state people make fun of us because of the mess, it’s not good,” Linegar said. “It’s supposed to be a subsistence deal and people kind of turn it into a big party instead of taking it as a resource, the fish.”

Frates said he was able to use some extra resources to be able to provide help during the heavy season.

“Yeah, we had fish on the beach,” he said. “We did more raking this year than any year before.”

Now that the steady flow of traffic into Kenai is pretty much over, city manager Rick Koch said it’s time to slow down and take a breath.

“This week we’re not doing a whole lot of anything,” Koch said. “You push to get through the thing and get done, we’ll spend a few days cleaning up.”

Frates’ crew took part in an extensive two-day clean up with almost his entire staff with help from the Kenai Central High School Ski Team, among other volunteers.

“The beaches are pretty darn clean right now,” he said Tuesday.

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northernlights 08/03/11 - 10:28 am

We dont drive to anchorage a hundred miles an hour to go shopping, open up our packages and leave the trash in their parking lots, yet thats what they do to us. I hate it, I hate the disrespect out-of-towners have on the Peninsula. They cause wrecks on the roads rushing down here, but the worse by far is them leaving their garbage. Its costs us all. For over thirty years I have been getting my reds, because of the trash and traffic its costs me to go park, which I dont mind, but I mind because we have to pay for their disrespect. They need to be fined for leaving trash, that money can be used to hire trash patrol. You get fined for throwing garbage out on the highways, well what about our beaches. Those who dont care, will not care, simple as that. Signs, laws, nothing means anything to them. We do need patrol.

jlmh 08/03/11 - 04:28 pm
dipnet tragedy

I agree with Northernlights. We had 9 fatalities last month, as out-of-towners rushed down in their greedy haste to collect free fish. No regard for their lives, their passengers' lives, or other drivers. The Kenai beach was trashed with so many rotting fish heads that the seagulls couldn't keep up! It's the tragedy of the commons, for sure. Maybe there should be a required class, dipnet etiquette test, or community service for those applying for a dipnet permit.

msjinxie 08/04/11 - 04:56 am
Tourist Garbage Serious issue

I knew this year wasn't ordinary. It was VERY noticeable the garbage littered all along our highways, our beaches where the dip netters were this year. I am SO SICK of the lack of respect for our state, that tourists from all walks of life (and unfortunately some fellow Alaskans) trash when they come down here to play. Start posting big signs with FINE: $1000 on the beaches and where the problem lies the most. Why should our kids from the local Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts pick up your trash? PICK IT UP YOURSELF! Pack it in, PACK IT OUT. Maybe ADF&G can put some of their officers around the beaches to stay when the droves of people start showing up. I guarantee after a couple thousand dollar citations for littering these pigs will figure it out. NO EXCEPTIONS! Were tired of picking up after you! Stay home or be a good neighbor!

kenaibear2001 08/04/11 - 06:17 am

Looks like the waters of the Inlet had already cleaned the beach, and all the garbage will be with us for many years, floating back and forth with the tides. Viewing the picture you published, all I could see was the compacted sand being roughed up.

Where are all the pictures of the piles of garbage I saw, before being washed out with the tides?

I for one, am tired of the trash that comes to my City each year and leaves the mouth of the Kenai River looking like a getto alley.

Where are the eco-groups, when actually needed?

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