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Letters to the Editor

Posted: Tuesday, December 05, 2000

Group wants to represent all areas of public land use

As a member of the newly formed Kenai Peninsula -- Public Land Users Group, I would like to express my disappointment in the misrepresentation of our organization on Nov. 29 in the Peninsula Clarion.

While it is true that our group includes snowmachiners, it also includes skiers, snowboarders, fishermen/women, hikers, hunters, mountain bikers, campers, etc. We are working hard to represent all areas of the land use spectrum. To classify us as "snowmachiners," or a "snowmachine group" is not only unfair, but is terribly inaccurate. I tend to believe that sometimes statements are taken out of context to create news, rather than to report what may be matter-of-fact and less controversial.

What our group is trying to accomplish is preventing the Forest Service from restricting ANY more land use to ANY user group that can be found on the Kenai Peninsula. With a very small percentage of the state's land publicly accessible through the road system, our population is extremely limited in our recreation opportunities. That, of course, is assuming we are not pilots or airplane owners (who can also be found in our group). Of this already small percentage, we do not wish to see any more of this land restricted or closed. Haven't we given up enough already?

Instead of dividing into interest groups (such as skiers and snowmachiners), let us all get on the same page and work together, as neighbors and residents of the Kenai Peninsula. Let's open new trails and access for the said interest groups instead of eliminate ourselves from the few areas we have. How much longer until someone from Outside convinces the Forest Service that foot traffic is too environmentally unsafe for OUR public lands?

For more information, or for a membership application, you can contact KP-PLUG at:

KP-PLUG

P.O. Box 1424

Soldotna, AK 99669.

Jeffry Leete

Sterling

Who do you call when crime not in anyone's jurisdiction?

What do you do when the police won't protect you? I was recently ripped off by a local business, actually by their delivery person, and when the business refused to do anything about it, I called the police.

To my surprise, the police didn't even return my call after the dispatcher said they would. Two days later after calling everyone from the Better Business Bureau, the chamber of commerce, the state Ombudsman's office, the local and state police, I'm still waiting for someone to tell me what to do about this but everyone keeps saying "it isn't their job to help with this kind of thing" or it isn't in their "jurisdiction." It must be someone's job to protect me, but I have no idea whose!

At this point, the only recourse I evidently have is to pay $25 to go to small claims just to get my $8, but isn't it a crime to rob people? Certainly there is more I can do! Are there local agencies that I should know about? Just finding the number for the BBB took some time, but what do you do when the authorities won't help? Especially when the owner of the business says he doesn't understand English too well. Who do you call to get someone to translate?

I know that from now on I will NOT be giving any driver money until I make sure I'm getting something in return. But what's worse is that I no longer feel safe knowing the police are there. Maybe it's why some people take the law into their own hands, I don't know. I don't expect special treatment just because I'm disabled, either. Everyone has the right to be protected, even me.

Donna M. Stocks

Soldotna

Critical fish, wildlife areas in Chugach need protection

In Alaska, under Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, Wilderness and Wild River designations are unique because Congress made certain these management tools would reflect the Alaska way of life and allow access for our subsistence activities and aquaculture on wild rivers for fisheries enhancement and riparian restoration projects. My question is: Why is the Forest Service not protecting the critical fish and wildlife areas of the Chugach that need these special designations the most?

The incredible brown bear population of Admiralty Island were given wilderness protection in the Tongass to protect these species and subsistence resources for local communities. Without wilderness, Admiralty's fish and wildlife habitats would have been devastated by clear-cut logging. Timber and mining corporations are still doing everything they can to get into Admiralty. Fortunately, the bears and salmon runs are thriving in a wild state thanks to the vision of land managers and locals.

As an Alaska wildlife biologist and recreational enthusiast of Alaska's national forests, I strongly encourage the Forest Service to rethink its proposed management plan for our northernmost forest. Wilderness should be recommended for the regions of the forest that are the most significant for their outstanding fish, wildlife and scenic values, not the remote rock and ice areas.

By comparison, the Tongass National Forest has 5.8 million acres of designated wilderness (five wilderness areas that were added in 1990), and more than half of the eligible rivers in the Tongass are protected. The Chugach needs wilderness in biologically important areas across the forest now, before developers and cruise ship industries get their way. Ask for wilderness now.

Tania Lewis

Auke Bay

Support makes field trips



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