I may be only stating the obvious, but I haven’t heard anyone yet offer this suggestion regarding the overwhelming number of guides, overcrowding in general, pollution; (water and noise), boat wakes and horsepower limits.
In the spirit of being a little more creative and trying to think outside the box, this comes from a 20-year guide (power and drift) who wholeheartedly believes changes must be made in many areas or we will all soon be loving the Kenai River from a distance and a lot less frequently.
Drift boat Mondays have been a big success in many ways. Going drift-boat-only will never fly. But what about drift boats, guides included, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday? Power boats, guides included, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and John Q Public only on Sunday?
Boat wake and pollution issues are instantly cut nearly in half.
The peaceful, serene, quality experience many only dream of on this world class river could again be a reality.
Those who would be unable to or inconvenienced by drift boating would have equal opportunity, and the general public still gets their day without any guides.
That river is a fisherman’s paradise in July on a Monday with no power boat traffic as anyone who has experienced it would attest. The trout that are usually nonexistent are suddenly biting in places you never catch them, the kings are much more cooperative and yet you usually only get the opportunity to hook one per hole. Fighting and landing one from a drift boat is an incredible experience.
We should recognize what we have seen on drift boat Mondays as a positive direction and use it to our benefit as well as for the health of our river and take the next step.
The whole idea of drift boating brings those involved a little closer to the element we all yearn to be a part of, without the noise and chaos. More personal, more humbling, more enjoyable.
Most of the guides are already set up with drift boats as is much of the general public. And since drift boats are so nonintrusive, let’s remove the 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. guide restriction on drift boat days.
Cunningham Park could be opened back up as a lower river take-out relatively easily.
If we’re not part of the solution then we’re part of the problem, and the Kenai River doesn’t owe any of us a living.
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