Letters to the Editor

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2001

Group doesn't practice what it preaches about protecting river

It was a bit of a struggle wading through the story in the Dec. 14 Peninsula Clarion. Yes, it was the piece on the recent subsistence ruling for the Kenai River.

Brett Huber is new to our community and presumes to know what is best for us. I think his quote was "the resource should come before the user." A more accurate statement would be "a client's fun should come before a community's food." Mr. Huber receives a six-figure income to promote a hook-and-release derby in the Kenai River. Every July he acts out the antithesis of his own quote, guiding visiting dignitaries up and down the Kenai River, promoting the (Exxon-Budweiser-sponsored) hook-and-release-a-hog program.

Here, the aforementioned corporate sponsors pay the lucky fisherman $500 toward having a plastic likeness of their king salmon made after some quick measurements are taken.

Brett might respond by saying Kenai River Sportfishing Inc. raised a million dollars for habitat restoration. One year ago, KRSI tended 200 feet of bank. Another habitat organization repaired 2,900 feet with donations and kids. Mostly KRSI creates access under the guise of habitat restoration. Ninety percent of habitat damage is caused by boat wakes.

More troubling is the second quote. "It would allow people from far away to come and fish when locals can't." To this I say only, locals can't. The river now is pretty well blanketed with guides and nonresident clients. If Brett means Native Alaskans from other areas rather than visiting nonresident clients, I thought this is exactly what Gov. Tony Knowles meant when he said "the most important fish is the one on the Alaskan dinner table."

Truthfully, Brett, you hide behind this do-gooder facade of fixing the same habitat you destroy, promoting a derby whose exclusivity and elitism supersede any intrinsic edification to the resource. Your twisted view on the new findings will not endear you to your new community. Merry Christmas.

John McCombs, Ninilchik

Letters to the editor may be mailed to the Peninsula Clarion at P. O. Box 3009, Kenai, AK 99611; faxed to 283-3299 or e-mailed to clarion@alaska.net.

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