Letters to the Editor

Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2000

Commercial fishers not to blame for problems on Kenai River

I can't help but respond to the ludicrous proposal by Les Palmer in his column of Nov. 10. Commercial fishermen were limited once already -- 30 years ago. Guides continue to flourish with unlimited fishing in the nursery of the Kenai River. The concept of a fisheries buyback is ridiculous. The commercial fishery in Cook Inlet has been a victim of a wholesale sellout by the Department of Commerce, the Limited Entry Commission, the Board of Fish, the governor and a myriad of so-called leadership types too numerous to mention.

The shift from maximum sustained yield and the price of allocation to the in-river visitor fishery has created some of the following effects: returns of 2 million reds with 20 million pinks, smaller king salmon, 15 percent habitat loss, thousands of lost jobs on the peninsula, five closed canneries, smaller red salmon, fewer resident sport fishermen, the end of a public process (Dan Coffey's fish committee), overcrowding, more guides, an in-river fish derby for habitat, boardwalks, blacktop and false expectations, to name a few.

Les continues to let us all know he does lunch with the guides while pointing the same crooked finger at commercial fishermen. Reduce the guides and return the river to the residents, reduce the expense of the Board of Fish by returning to sound biological management and the three-year cycle, reduce government by creating a harmonious Department of Fish, Game and Parks, respond to habitat degradation by making the Kenai River drift boat only because 90 percent of all the erosion is caused by outboard motors.

Guides commonly offer up to their defense that they are not commercial fishermen, they just provide transportation. To make this plausible, guides should, when attending sport shows, only be allowed to display pictures of their boats. Pictures of nothing but sunny days and racks full of big fish that occur only occasionally, seem tantamount to false advertising. The information is available from the Department of Fish and Game. It probably takes an average of 20 hours to hook a king. Visitors should be told this.

Instead, commercial fishermen are targets of blame and propaganda. Enough is enough already, Les.

John McCombs

Ninilchik

Overseas servicemen help save day on presidential election

We are saved again, by our Servicemen,

who helped in the past we note.

Young folks these, gone overseas,

still care enough to vote!

They'd be for old Al Gore,

if his fibs didn't trouble you.

And ever wary, our military

went with George W.!

Brent Johnson

Clam Gulch

Snowmachiners have rights just as cross-country skiers do

It's strange how things change. I was raised to believe in the majority rules, and your right only extends to a limit where it infringes on another's right.

I've lived around here a few years and have curbed my use of snowmachines and such to comply with the rights of the majorities in different areas. For example, we used to ride all over town and when the majority of people in town didn't and found it a nuisance we moved our sport out of town. As the population grows, we move farther and farther away.

Now it seems that a minority of people that use an area want to control it. I remember when the only ones to go up into Resurrection in the winter were snowmachiners; then a minority (cross-country skiers mainly) complained. Up until that time, I had never seen a skier up there. Well, we all came to agreement to share. So, what happened? The skiers didn't want the first half of the year because the trails wouldn't be broken, and they would have to pack in wood on their backs. So they got the latter part of the year when there was more snow cover to protect the environment from the snowmachines, and the machines were forced to the time of year when there was too little snow to ride.

Up at Summit, we split again with the minority. They ended up with the side that, once again, would have been better for snowmachiners and the snowmachines ended up cramped against the mountainside.

Now they are talking about Lost Lake, Carter Lake and Crescent Lake, just a few to mention.

Let's be honest with ourselves. How many skiers do you think would ever get to those places if a snowmachine didn't break the trail?

Dear Mister Hug-a-bunny, we have moved out of your back yard so you don't have to listen to us. So, why have you come into my playground trying to bully everyone around?

I realize not everyone who straps on a pair of skis is a hug-a-bunny, and by the same token, not everyone who rides a snowmachine is out to destroy the earth. I live here for the same rights that you are trying to take away from me. Heck, most of you don't even live here. For you that don't, how would you like it if I came to your playground and tried to change your lifestyle and sports?

What do you contribute to the local economy? I'm willing to bet my snowmachine it's not near what anyone in our sport does.

I love quiet and serenity as much as you do. That's why I have a snowmachine -- so I can get back, way back, in the mountains from the likes of you. So, quit following my trail, and you'll never know I'm there.

Roland Gagnon

Sterling



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