Dipnet traffic lines up about a mile behind the toll booth at the Kenai boat launch last July. The launch helped generate some of the $173,464 the city collected from dipnet fishers this summer.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
The 2005 Dipnet Report presented to the Kenai City Council on Wednesday included $94,000 worth of good news for the city's coffers and a bit of anecdotal humor for its soul.
Boat launch ramp and dipnet parking and camping revenue totaled $173,464 for the year and expenses came to $79,366 for a net gain of $94,098 for the city.
The humor came mostly in the form of reasons dipnetters gave authorities for not paying to park where required.
"We're just going to drive down where everyone's parking to see what's going on," is what one group told seasonal enforcement officers, according to the report.
The group's vehicle was packed with dipnets and gear, the report said.
Another vehicle was found to be displaying a 2004 parking receipt.
A fisherman tries his luck on the north beach of the Kenai River in July. Dipnet fishers were charged $10 for 12 hours of parking.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
In a section of the report dealing with camping issues, recurring problems with litter, fires and habitat damage were mentioned.
"Several campers on the north beach set up between the sewer treatment plant and the high bluff below South Forest-Toyon, and built fires ranging in size from small heating-cooking fires to raging bonfires." the report said.
After officers contacted the fire starters, the people reportedly were cooperative and either made their fires smaller or moved them away from vegetation so it would not ignite.
The report also made reference to the Kenai Police Department assisting in the rescue of three "bobbers" a term used for floating dipnetters in the mouth of the Kenai River who were caught in the outgoing current and needed to be plucked from the water.
All three survived.
On Thursday, acting city manager Chuck Kopp said the revenue figure should not be misconstrued as meaning the city realized that amount of profit from the personal-use dipnet fishery.
Not included in the expense figures, according to Kopp, are improvements the city made to parking lots at the north beach and at the city's boat launch.
He also said that over the years since the dipnet fishery opened, the city has spent more than $600,000 in access im-provements and dune habitat protection.
"Where the city benefits is in the increased revenue to businesses," Kopp said.
"Businesses in Kenai as well as Soldotna and Sterling benefit (from the dipnet fishery)," he said.
Kopp told the city council that the Kenai Harbor Commission will make recommendations to the council for improving the dipnet fishery in Kenai in 2006.
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