Letters to the Editor

Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2002

Reader wonders if KRSA really represents the 'public' interest

In the past weeks there have been a number of articles and letters to the editor about the Kenai River Sportfishing Association. In addition, there have been comments made in the public about sources of funding and agendas of the organization. As a local resident, I would like to hear from the association to help clear up some of these issues for the public.

1. The KRSA has been accused of spending its monies to pay for Kenai River guides and representatives from the Mat-Su valleys to attend the recent Board of Fish meeting. Did KRSA pay for some of these expenses? If so how much and why?

2. The KRSA collects monies for habitat protection by holding the Kenai River Classic. Did any monies from the Classic pay for the attendance of KRSA staff or members at the recent Board of Fish meeting? This includes the salaries of staff or consultants used. If so, why, when only a small portion of the meeting discussed habitat?

3. Did KRSA hire a consultant from outside of Alaska, and how much did they pay for his services? Did KRSA make his report available to the public or ADF&G prior to the Board of Fish meeting, and if not, why not? It appears the board used this information, but local ADF&G staff have stated the information is incorrect in many areas. Why did KRSA not provide this information to the advisory committees so a good review could be completed prior to the board meeting?

4. The KRSA supported regulations on the early-run chinook salmon run that prohibits harvest of fish even in years of strong abundance. Why would KRSA object to harvesting fish smaller than 40 inches in good years? Why would KRSA support harvesting fish above 55 inches if large fish are being over-harvested?

5. How many members does KRSA have and what is the portion of local residents, Anchorage residents, and outside members? Just whom does KRSA represent?

6. KRSA notes that the group favors bank restoration projects. What is KRSA's position on limiting powerboat use in the Kenai River to reduce boat-induced erosion impacts?

As an organization that claims to represent the public interest, I think this is good opportunity for KRSA to respond.

Aaron Morse, Soldotna

Cuts to State Parks demonstrate inconsistency of Alaska Legislature

I have recently read that the Alaska Travel Industry Association is asking the Legislature for extra money. At the same time there will be cuts to the State Parks Division causing many parks to be closed. Our family recently returned from vacation in Hawaii where we were tourists. We truly enjoyed the numerous, well-kept Hawaii state parks.

I don't mind paying taxes to help support the tourism industry, but I also want my tax money to fund Alaska State Parks. I don't believe every tourist to Alaska stays in expensive hotels and eats three meals a day in a restaurant.

The Legislature is totally inconsistent in wanting to fund the tourist industry on one hand, while on the other hand it deprives the tourists of what Alaska can offer in the form of our state parks.

What will tourists think when, anticipating a friendly park, they come upon a sign that says "Sorry, Closed"?

Maybe in the same bill in which the Legislature deletes funding for the state parks, it should pass a resolution recommending that the tourists go to Hawaii instead.

Nancy Cranston, Kenai

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