Snags not wanted, trees are

Posted: Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Most anyone who read the Clarion's July 27 article titled "Christmas tree: Snag decorated with $400 worth of tackle" and saw the accompanying photo couldn't help but be impressed by the amount of tackle that was hauled out of the Kenai River by means of a grappling hook.

I think we can all agree that the river doesn't need more monofilament, lures and hooks clogging up essential fish habitat at any place along this busy and productive river.

However, I'd like to use the article to remind anyone considering removing trees, stumps and other woody or natural material from the Kenai River that these actions require a State Habitat and State Park use permit prior to the activity.

Although I encourage everyone to remove fishing line "nests" and any and all tackle when they see it scattered in or along the river, I don't want people to confuse this type of unwanted debris with natural debris that is endemic and natural to the river.

Trees, roots and other woody debris provide important shelter and rearing areas for smaller fish, plants and other small creatures that make up the food chain of the river.

It was difficult to see the tree from the lures in the celebratory photo and any prudent person who saw what they hauled out would say there was more fishing tackle than tree. But when it was stated that it was part a root ball for a 15-foot tree, that got the attention of the local resource managers. I would not like the action taken to remove the decorated snag at Honeymoon Cove interpreted as an invitation for others to do the same thing.

Removing trees and snags from the Kenai River without a permit is a violation of both State Habitat and State Park regulations.

Please contact the Kenai River Center if you have problems with an obstruction in the river to obtain the proper permits to ensure the protection of important river habitat.

Jack Sinclair

Kenai area superintendent

Alaska State Parks

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