Gratitude to our cleaning crusaders

It’s evident to anyone who steps on the beach in Kenai during July that our dipnet fishery comes with a certain level of wear and tear.

Unfortunately when so many people descend on an area in such large quantities in such a small time frame, everything ends up getting a bit frazzled — locals, businesses and beaches. Really anything and everything is affected by it.

But the beach is by far the most noticeable, and most vulnerable.
Sockeye skeletons are strewn here and there mixed in with beer bottles and other fisherman byproducts. The beach has been trampled and the parking lots crammed with lawn chairs, cars and coolers.

But, that’s just part of living near one of the greatest fisheries in the state and we have to cope with it.

What really speaks volumes, however, is that rather than turning their backs to the problem and letting the trash and carcasses pile up, locals and City of Kenai employees join together and continue to, year after year, pick up after the fishery.

That’s a much-appreciated effort and frankly a necessity. Part of the reason why people feel the itch to come back to the Peninsula year after year is because of the pristine beaches and quality fishery. Certainly the dipnet fishery gives a boost to the local economy and we should continue to seek to protect it for future generations.

While the complaints about the out-of-towners and the mess they don’t seem to care about making are mostly justified, it is up to us to make sure their mess doesn’t become our problem. We’d like to thank everyone who went out of his or her way to help.

Just days after the fishery closed for the year, the beach was nearly spotless, and so were the parking lots. That doesn’t happen by accident, we collect fees that ultimately go toward clean up and maintenance work by the city and it’s evident they know what they are doing. Keep up the good work.

More importantly, we know there are numerous individuals that help clean up after our dipnetting visitors. They swoop in, not needing a thank you, rather just an empty trash bag.

Rather than complaining about it and taking pleasure in pointing the finger, they pull on their raincoat and boots and attempt to make a difference.

We also know there are numerous visitors who graciously pick up after their beach neighbors, who may be locals themselves, believe it or not.
So let’s continue to make sure the trampling, trashing and tearing up of our beaches doesn’t last any longer than the end of the season.

In short: If you helped in anyway reduce the amount of trash and debris that piled up on the beach, or if you were part of the public clean up crew or just a resident with trash bag, we owe you a big thank you. Without this critical service, we’d surely be up to our ears in garbage.

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