As a 40-year resident of the Kenai Peninsula and a recreational fisher, I feel compelled to write this letter regarding the upcoming boat motor restrictions for the Kenai River.
From my conversations, I find that the average recreational fisher is unaware of the fact that he or she will be outlawed off the river in the year 2008 unless they purchase or already own a four-cycle outboard motor.
It goes without saying the recreational fisher is a rapidly disappearing voice on the Kenai River. We have been replaced with the masses of guides, many from out of state that clog the rivers. Now, they want to use larger motors (50hp) to propel their longer and wider boats.
This in affect will shrink the Kenai River even more when larger size boats are used. They hide behind the safety term, when in reality, this whole issue is profit motivated.
The recreational fisher is already in the minority, and the motor type we use will not affect the pollution picture as a whole. The recreational fisher should be grandfathered and should replace his or her motor as it wears out.
The problem is not that the local recreational fisher is using an old technology outboard motor, it’s the fact that we have too many guides on the river. No one wants to admit that, but the fact will not go away.
So, yes, the Kenai River is impaired. And, yes, changes need to be made. But removing the little guy from the river will only fuel the fire that burns between the recreational fishers and the guides. It’s an old fire that’s been burning for many years. Maybe it’s time to quit throwing wood on the fire?
In closing, I hope all recreational fishers who read this letter will spread the word, make phone calls, write letters and speak to all who will listen to prevent this next step in the elimination of the local recreational fisher from the Kenai River. A petition to be signed by local recreational fishers is a natural first step. I would gladly sign one.
Robert E. Taylor
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