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Shore patrol

'ROC the Kenai' volunteers help clean up beaches

Posted: July 26, 2012 - 8:59am  |  Updated: July 26, 2012 - 9:25am
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At first, they tried to pick up every fish head or gut they found, but that soon grew overwhelming so they settled for just collecting trash. 

Just after 1 p.m. Wednesday a team of teens in bright-orange shirts bearing “ROC the Kenai” logos descended on the North Beach of the Kenai River dipnet fishery intent on picking up trash and educating beach-goers about the proper disposal of fish waste. 

It’s not always easy to talk to strangers about where their trash and fish waste should go as Kiera Stroh, 12, found out when she tried to step in and talk to August Asay, of Anchorage, while he demonstrated the proper way to fillet a fish. 

Asay wielded a fillet knife for a group of kids from the Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula who came to the beach to help out with the cleanup efforts but found themselves drawn to Asay’s table.

Stroh stood with her self-described best friend Rylie Fields as the two wrinkled their noses at the group clustered around Asay’s table.

“Um, excuse me, what are you going to do with the rest of the fish?” Fields asked.

Asay said he would take the waste out into the water where it would be eaten by other fish. 

After a short discussion Fields and Stroh dragged their bags away and continued looking for trash, Stroh looked downcast. 

“We’ve been telling them that the fish just washes back in, that’s why there are so many on the tide line,” she said. “I’m not frustrated yet, just trying to come up with crazy ways to get rid of all of this fish.”

Stroh said she wasn’t sure what to tell people about how to dispose of their waste as there were no fish totes on the beach and no easy way to get the waste out far enough in the water. 

Maybe, she said, they could take it home and throw it away.

She gestured at the beach, which was so full of piles of fresh waste that it was difficult to walk anywhere without treading on a head, tail, or bit of sand spattered with blood. 

“We’d like to load it into a barge, take it out like three miles and then dump it, so it really goes away,” she said. “But we don’t have that kind of money.”

Stroh’s older sister Courtney Stroh, 16, came up with the ROC the Kenai project as her “Caring for the Kenai” project her freshman year of high school. 

Courtney and her beach companion Jessica Paxton, 16, both juniors, were on hand to tell the other teens where to leave their trash. 

They both said it could be a little demoralizing to spend a few hours cleaning up the beach only to find it trashed again when they returned 24 hours later. 

They’ve been coming to the beach every afternoon since the dipnet fishery opened. 

“We’ll just come out here and be like, really?” Jessica said. 

Courtney pointed at a fire pit about 30 feet from the high tide line. 

“We found a huge pile of trash there the other day and I’m wondering why people think its OK to trash our beach,” she said.

As the two talked, Eldon Wilson, 12, another volunteer with the Boys and Girls club walked by with a handful of fish eggs he got from Asay. He put his face in close to the pink meat and took a deep breath prompting both girls to react in disgust. Wilson giggled as he walked away. 

Courtney said the afternoon weather was nice and that seemed to help when it came to talking to people about how to dispose of their trash. 

“Sometimes the response isn’t as supportive but usually when there’s good weather and people are in a good mood it’s fun to talk to them,” she said.

Still, sometimes she’s a little confused by their responses. Courtney grinned as she recounted some of the things people have said to her.

“I’ve been accused of starving the halibut, accused of starving the seagulls,” she said.

Jessica interrupted. “Yeah, people will say it’s natural, but it’s causing a problem. People don’t understand that it’s the volume that’s causing the problem.”

Courtney finished Jessica’s thought, “Yeah, it’s the numbers that aren’t natural.”

Other times, Courtney is praised for her efforts. 

“Someone told me I was an angel in the flesh the other day,” she said.

The two call their educational spiel their “beach speech.”

But, that speech isn’t always effective. 

“There’s a whole diversity of people here who speak Russian or Native languages so we really need signs with pictures instead of words,” Courtney said. 

The teen is quick to point out that people who dispose of their fish parts in the water are just doing what the signs posted at the entrance of the beach direct them to do, however others who leave waste above the tide lines are clearly breaking the law.

She dug a flier from the City of Kenai out of her pocket. 

“This says fish waste falls under the litter laws, but I don’t see anyone enforcing it,” she said.

Kenai City Council Member Bob Molloy joined the crew on the beach wearing his own bright orange shirt and lugging around a trash bag that filled up rather quickly. 

“I thought it was really important to support what they’re doing,” he said. “I wanted to come out and see what they do and help them.”

Molloy said the group acted as ambassadors to people who come to Kenai for the dipnet fishery but aren’t familiar with the area. 

He peered into his trash bag.

“I have plastic cans, bottles, paper, underwear, hats, gloves, all kinds of things,” he said. “I’ve been here for 15 minutes. It’s overwhelming.”

He said given the warm weather he was surprised at how many volunteers were willing to give up portions of their afternoons to clean the beaches.

“We get so few summer days,” he said. “It’s pretty incredible what they’re doing.”

 

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bewildered
9
Points
bewildered 07/26/12 - 10:20 am
0
0
Raping and pilliaging

So who are these people littering the beaches, streams and rivers? Alaskans thats who! Natives, locals and residents. I've been on the river and the worst violaters are the ones who scream its' their right! pitty

bewildered
9
Points
bewildered 07/26/12 - 10:20 am
0
0
Raping and pilliaging

So who are these people littering the beaches, streams and rivers? Alaskans thats who! Natives, locals and residents. I've been on the river and the worst violaters are the ones who scream its' their right! pitty

corinnep
249
Points
corinnep 07/26/12 - 07:12 pm
0
0
Thanks to the ROC volunteers

Thank you to the ROC volunteers for helping keep the Kenai beaches clean. They are an inspiration. And it is good to see a local politician working with them.

smithtb
240
Points
smithtb 07/26/12 - 08:34 pm
0
0
Limits

This is a fishery with many benefits that has grown out of control due to lack of limits, much like other in-river fisheries. Not only is it trashing our beaches, it is replacing a historic and sustainable limited commercial fishery that supports our economy all winter long.

Time to change. If the state won't do it, why can't our city limit access to the boat launch and beaches? Surely there are public order and safety issues with having thousands of people and hundreds of boats in that small of a space. If it were a public building, the fire marshal would have done that long ago. "Sorry folks, we're at maximum capacity. It's gonna have to be one in, one out for the rest of the day. While we're at it, how many fish do you have in that cooler? We're keeping track now."

spwright
1376
Points
spwright 07/27/12 - 07:12 am
0
0
A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words

Fri 7/27/12
There is a solution to this Problem.
A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words.

Instead of ranting & raving about Our Fellow ALASKANS TRASHING Our Beaches. Getting very upset, blood pressure thru the roof, Frustration that happens each & every Summer.

Cell Phones with Digital Cameras, IPhones are literately everywhere, everyone has one.

Take a Photo of the Persons Trashing Our Beaches, make

certain You can see the face, photo of the License Plate on their vehicle, photo of the glut of dead Salmon, photo of the Trash left behind then contact the Local Police Dept & share that Evidence with the Police. Yes the Local Police are being Paid to Patrol the beaches during the Dip Net Fishery.
Yes it is Their Job to enforce the Laws & protect Our Beaches
during the Dip Net Fishery.
With a Photo there is No Dispute or He Said She Said You have physical evidence & Proof to share with the Police.

Or continue to rant & rave & nothing will change until Proof is Provided to the Police for evidence

SPW "Slooooooowdotna"

JOAT
487
Points
JOAT 07/31/12 - 01:13 pm
2
0
New rule: No fish cleaning at the beach!!!

Having spent a good chunk of Sunday afternoon cleaning up the Kenai Municipal Park (which is getting tons of overflow foot traffic from the dipnetters) and running into a bunch of slobbish folks in the process, I'd say that most of those beach trashers are not "Alaskans", but they are actually "Anchorage-ites" and "Valley Trash". You can have a trash bag in your hand and be talking to one and they'll finish off their soda and just toss the can or bottle to the ground without so much as a fleeting thought about dropping it in the bag. The amount of litter on the ground around an actual trash can is amazing. Too much effort to drop it in the can rather than on the ground nearby.

The trash is one thing and you'll be hard pressed to stop the littering until you have a team of uniformed officers standing on the beach at 50-pace intervals with ticket books in hand as they write $1,000 littering citations for every bit of trash that they see hit the ground. But it's the fish waste that is the bigger problem and really shows the ignorance of these "fisherman".

Anyone who cleans their fish on the beach is an idiot. Let's put it this way... how many restaurant chefs do you know who go into the bathroom and cut up their raw meat products on the sink next to the urinal? If a chef did that, would you eat the meal? Let's say that they rinsed the meat off under a little running water before cooking it. Would that be enough to overcome the contamination from the bathroom's urinal sink? Not a chance. Yet this is exactly what these people are doing.

Why on Earth would anyone think it is OK to clean their fish on that viral, bacteria-infested, urine-soaked, feces-laden beach of nasty sand and filthy ocean salt-water?!? If I were King, we'd have those cops on the beach writing wanton waste citations to anyone who cleans their fish in the flotsam line, in addition to littering for tossing heads, tails, and guts on the ground. Makes no sense whatsoever.

When you catch a fish, by pole or net, slice both gills and put the fish on a stringer back in the water for 5-10 minutes to bleed out and keep it cool (the water is cold; air isn't). Then, put the fish, WHOLE, in a cooler full of salted ice and TAKE IT HOME! There is no need to hurry and gut a fish, especially if it has been bled and is on salted ice (colder than just ice alone). You can even clean them tomorrow and still have a better quality product than the guy cleaning them in the sand and bird-doo.

At home, you should actually wash off the outside of your fish before cutting them. Then, do your processing on a clean cutting surface made of plastic, aluminum, or stainless steel. That old chunk of plywood is nearly as bad as the beach.

Clean, clean, clean. You're processing food. It should be as clean as the kitchen countertop. Clean up between every fish. If that is too much work, then think twice about taking 65 flippin' fish to start with!

Then, if you have no other use for the guts and heads, just go dig a hole in your backyard and bury the stuff at least 2 feet under (you might need more if you have dogs or bears). It makes excellent fertilizer for your garden.

msjinxie
110
Points
msjinxie 08/01/12 - 07:04 am
0
0
Doesn't matter WHO it is

Above a comment was posted about the people doing the "trashing" are Alaskans. I am VERY sure, most do not do this in our state. I have an idea! Hey, at that cute little shack they pop up every year along Cannery Beach and others to collect money, add a slip of paper including filleting instructions they MUST take, as well as a RED piece of paper saying there WILL be a hefty $1000 fine for ANY trash(INCLUDING FISH CARCASSES) left on the beach! How about that? I'm sick of making the kids go out and pick up others messes its just wrong. Take care of your own, take it to cleaning tables or a fish company to do it. If you throw it in the water it washes back in, FACT. SO STOP DOING IT. Were is the cops? Or rather the extra "help" that is supposed to be in place when our peninsula gets so packed with visitors we can't wiggle? is the state using that $10-20 bucks they charge to pay for the cleanup as well? FINE them and mean it and quit this "its not me" cycle! Its not just Alaskans, its everyone in the inlet doing the same stupid thing. They don't live here, they don't give a rats behind. They come down from Atown or other areas to play and don't pick up after themselves. Really? Pigs I would say.

msjinxie
110
Points
msjinxie 08/01/12 - 07:04 am
0
0
Doesn't matter WHO it is

Above a comment was posted about the people doing the "trashing" are Alaskans. I am VERY sure, most do not do this in our state. I have an idea! Hey, at that cute little shack they pop up every year along Cannery Beach and others to collect money, add a slip of paper including filleting instructions they MUST take, as well as a RED piece of paper saying there WILL be a hefty $1000 fine for ANY trash(INCLUDING FISH CARCASSES) left on the beach! How about that? I'm sick of making the kids go out and pick up others messes its just wrong. Take care of your own, take it to cleaning tables or a fish company to do it. If you throw it in the water it washes back in, FACT. SO STOP DOING IT. Were is the cops? Or rather the extra "help" that is supposed to be in place when our peninsula gets so packed with visitors we can't wiggle? is the state using that $10-20 bucks they charge to pay for the cleanup as well? FINE them and mean it and quit this "its not me" cycle! Its not just Alaskans, its everyone in the inlet doing the same stupid thing. They don't live here, they don't give a rats behind. They come down from Atown or other areas to play and don't pick up after themselves. Really? Pigs I would say.

gamewarden
3
Points
gamewarden 08/02/12 - 09:25 pm
1
0
Beach litter

I do not believe that a group of big hearted young people accomplish anything in picking up behind a troop of hogs except teaching said swine that it is OK to mess their own sty, cause we will clean up behind you..Send a few officers in plain clothes to yank some chains, take the scoff-laws directly to court..Have your magistrate empty their wallets, AND order them to incarceration.."Well, Mr. Pig, you don't want to go to Jail for 3 days?? Then you may spend 16 hours picking crud off the beach, into YOUR garbage bags, and hauling it to the land fill in your vehicle..YOUR section of the beach will be from point a to b..Your accomplishment will be inspected by ( here's where the ignored volunteers come in) and shoddy work will not count"..I guarantee it will not take a whole season to stop these animals - or herd them out of the area..Appreciate it or get gone..Alaska has litter laws - enforce them...D

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