An open letter to Gov. Parnell

Posted: Monday, April 12, 2010

Subject: protecting the Kasilof River dunes.

Dear Governor Parnell:

Several months ago, two Nikiski High School students started a Community Project, as required by their High School curriculum. They chose to try to protect the dunes at the South side of the mouth of the Kasilof River. This is what had been done the previous year at the mouth of the Kenai River, by the city of Kenai. This has become necessary because recently the abuse has become extreme, and not only during the summer set-net and dip-net seasons. The signs asking people to stay off the dunes-grass have twice been shot out and destroyed in the last 4 years, people are driving and parking their 4-wheel vehicles on the dunes, setting up tents on the grass, digging latrines, driving and joy-riding their ATVs and snowmobiles, setting up campfires right on the grass, etc.

The students spent 3 months and hundreds of correspondences negotiating with the State, and particularly DNR. They got the city of Kenai to donate the steel "T-posts" and orange safety netting/fencing the city of Kenai used until they could have a permanent wooden-post-and-chain fence in place. The students were planning to do the work of putting up the temporary fencing themselves - no small job - and the State of Alaska should be proud of them.

This project is even more cricital this year, since Mental Health Trust has blocked of the land that had been previously used by the fishermen for camping.

Instead, the State has told the students they can't do the project -- only a "licensed, bonded contractor" can. At the cost of $50,000-60,000.

In my opinion, the students have learned how dysfunctional the state of Alaska is..

I am requesting you issue an immediate Executive Order requiring DNR, Mental Health Trust, and Fish and Game to allow these students to complete their project now -- before the fishing season.

Surely the various conservation organizations that so love to file suit would be in agreement with you. Actually, the three "affected" state agencies should be in agreement, since they would be doing this project in their position as stewards of this land and its resources if they had the money.

It seems to me that the only protest of such an Executive Order would be from the irresponsible off-roaders who want license to continue to destroy, and -- if there are any who could admit to it -- any greedy contractors who think they are being "cheated" out of a job they should be doing. The Students aren't going to be gathering $50,000 -- and even if they did, it wouldn't be in time. I am not sure we should be spending State money on this project -- or at least the student's temporary project -- when we have the materials and the volunteers who should be learning good government and community service.

leif Jenkinson

N. Cohoe Loop

Kasilof



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