KRSA economic study didn’t take all facts into account

Posted: Tuesday, June 06, 2006

On May 16th, Rick Gease presented the “new” KRSA economic study to the borough assembly. The study used old commercial fishing data and new sportfish figures. When he said “We have to find ways to get more people on and off the river faster ...” the voice in my head asked why? Of course it said a little more than that, however the comment is consistent with KRSA access and allocation plans. Is this where the need for 50hp motors is justified?

As for growth, one cannot read the Clarion for more than a week without noticing the cuts in schools. School enrollment is on the decline. Is Gease’s growth that 2- 3 week period in July — the bulge in the python? Some other speakers speculated the “new” study is a harbinger of KRSA strategy for the 2008 board of fish meeting. In fact Gease said as much and more in a recent op/ed piece.

Assembly member, Dan Chay, asked Gease why the public and more specifically KPFA and UCIDA were excluded from participating on deciding on fish studies with grant money from Senator Stevens. His glib reply was “They weren’t excluded ... just uninvited.” When asked who authored the study it was “Oh there was a committee ... about 10 of us.” Still no names were given.

Gary Hollier delivered the most compelling rebuttal. “Who are the KRSA members? How can they hold a private derby on public resource and use the money to mold and lobby public policy?” There were 5 speakers present that refuted the “new” study and it would be highly informative to read those assembly minutes. Are more guides and faster boats and more traffic what the river needs? Is this the type of growth and conservation that will burden and encumber future generations? This is a study from the quarter that claimed Soldotna was too dangerous for a fish board meeting.

How did Ricky Gease compare two such diverse components of the economy? Poorly, partially, myopically ... that’s how!

John McCombs


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