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No-wake zones pitched for Kenai River

Posted: Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources is taking public comment on several proposals, at least three of which would impact portions of the Kenai River.

"There are only a few things that would affect people living on the Kenai Peninsula, but one of them would be the creation of two new no-wake zones on the Kenai River," said Chris Degernes, chief of field operations for the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation.

The state wants to create the new no-wake zones at river mile 14.7 and at river mile 15.2, around the Castaway Cove and the Riverquest areas, away from the main channel and behind islands.

"People were roaring into the entrance and dragging a wall of water with them. It was a public safety issue and it caused resource impacts, such as erosion," Degernes said.

The new no-wake zones will be designated with signs, similar to those used in other no-wake areas on the river, such is in the Beaver Creek area.

"I don't think it will be a problem at all for users," Degernes said.

In addition to the new no-wake zones, the state also announced proposed changes to park regulations increasing the maximum that may be charged for boat launching, to allow potential launch fee increases in areas where private launch owners cannot compete with the low rates charged at state launches.

"The maximum that may be charged will go up from $10 to $20, but that doesn't mean it will go up to $20 everywhere. We're not intending to raise fees across the board, but we do know that in area such as the Pillars, there are private launches that were charging more and accusing the state of unfair competition," Degernes said.

The general public can comment on the proposed changes until 4 p.m. on Jan. 2, 2008.

"People are welcome to mail them, e-mail them, or attend the upcoming public meeting and give oral testimony," Degernes said, referring to a public hearing scheduled for Dec. 19 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Loussac Library's Public Conference Room in Anchorage.

Written comments may be sent to: Chris Degernes, Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, 550 W. 7th., # 1380, Anchorage, AK 99501; or e-mailed to dnr.parkregs@alaska.gov.

A full copy of the proposed regulations or the public notice can also be obtained by contacting the Department of Natural Resources' Public Information Center in Anchorage at (907) 269-8400, or by visiting their Web site at alaskastateparks.org and looking under "Special Notices."

Joseph Robertia can be reached at joseph.robertia@peninsulaclarion.com.



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