Horsepower issue not all it appears

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Friday, December 29, 2006

OK, let’s get the story straight. The Kenai River Special Management Area Advisory Board’s decision to increase the horsepower limit from 35 to 50 horsepower had nothing to do with safety or protecting the fishery. Raising the limit had everything to do with giving the commercial operators (guides) what they wanted.

Anyone that calls a Kenai River guide a sports fisherman is a fool. Being paid to fish is a commercial enterprise, no matter what any special interest group says.

If the KRSMAAB was interested in protecting the river, they would have left the horsepower limit where it was, reduced the number of guides on the river and increased the number of drift boat days. These steps would guarantee the protection of the river.

Yes, these steps would make it more difficult for the commercial operators (guides) to make a living, but the KRSMAAB was created to protect the fishery, not protect a special interest group’s rice bowl.

The original intent of the 35hp limit was to protect the banks from erosion. Now all of a sudden the KRSMAAB is no longer interested in protecting the riverbanks?

The real intent of the KRSMAAB is to give the guides what they want. Larger motors means faster boats, which means more time fishing and less time traveling (how can this be safer?). This correlates to more fish caught, happier customers, more money in the guides’ pockets. It also means fewer fish on the spawning grounds, which means lower returns and eventually the complete closure of the river.

How will the guides make a living then, by giving tours on the Kenai River and talking about what used to be?

Kevin Walker


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