Kenai River Guide Academy launched

Kenai Peninsula College

Posted: Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The culmination of two years of planning has resulted in the establishment of the Kenai River Guide Academy.

The foundation for the academy was built through the collaborative efforts of the Alaska State Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Kenai River Professional Guides Association and Kenai Peninsula College. These organizations came together to draft recommendations for regulations and after a public hearing process , the regulations were signed into law by Lt. Governor Loren Leman and adopted by the Alaska State Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation.

According to the course information, the purpose of the class is to educate and train Kenai River fishing guides in the following areas: regulatory, safety, guide ethics and behavior and habitat and conservation.

Beginning in 2007, the class will be a mandatory program for new guides who wish to get a Kenai River Commercial Guide Permit.

Last week marked the first offering of the Academy. Guides who successfully completing the course this year will not be required to take the course in later years. Another class will be held in April. However, the 25 seats that were available are filled.

Current Kenai River professional sport fishing guides who have held a valid permit prior to December 31, 2005 are required to successfully complete the course within a specified amount of time based on the number of years as a Kenai River Guide. Those with 11 or more years have a five year window to successfully complete the course; those with six years but less than 11 years have three years to pass the course and those holding a valid permit for one year, but less than six years must successfully complete the academy within two years.

It five-day course that culminates with written and oral exams. Guides that pass both the written and oral exams receive a certificate of completion and are awarded three continuing education units from KPC. Beginning in 2007 guides will need to present the certificate to Alaska State Park officials at the Kenai River Center in Soldotna in order to receive their commercial guide permit to operate on the Kenai River.

Arts, sciences faculty news

Cathryn Pearce, associate professor of history, has been selected as a presenter for the “Shipwreck in the Long Eighteenth Century” conference that will be held May 20 in Greenwich, London. The interdisciplinary conference, sponsored by Nottingham Trent University and the National Maritime Museum, will address the social and personal impact of eighteenth century shipwrecks.

Pearce will give a paper on the “Shipwreck: Historical Perspectives” panel with Michael Bravo of the Scott Polar Institute, University of Cambridge. Papers from the conference will be published.

Pearce also has received a request to contribute a chapter on Cornish wrecking in practice and in literature for the book Maritime History of Cornwall.

Barbara Christian professor of English, will do a lecture, reading, and book signing at the University of Alaska Anchorage Campus Bookstore from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday. The lecture will elaborate upon some of the issues raised in her recent book, Belief in Dialogue.

Riverbank restoration

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Sport Fish Division, and the University of Alaska, in partnership with the Kenai River Sportfishing Association and the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, have signed an agreement to rehabilitate the KPC riverbank and improve access to the Slikok CreekRecreation Site by providing improved and safer access for the angling public.

Over the years, increasing use of the college riverbank by sport fishers has resulted in decreased fish habitat, trampled vegetation and bank erosion. The restoration project funded by a grant — will install cabled spruce tree and vegetation mats, plant willows, alders and native grasses on exposed areas of the bank, all in an effort to stabilize the bank and reduce erosion. The project is scheduled to begin in May and will be completed this summer.

The goal of the project is to sustain and enhance critical fish habitat and vegetation immediately downstream from the Slikok Creek confluence. Healthy returns of salmon help the communities of Soldotna and Kenai that rely on tourism, sport fishing and commercial fishing to stimulate the economy.

The angling public (both sport and commercial fishermen), the fishing support industries (hotels, restaurants, bed and breakfasts) and local commercial businesses (food, gas, etc.) rely on the influx of tourist and anglers. All of these users will directly or indirectly benefit from this project.

This column is provided by Suzie Kendrick, community relations coordinator.

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