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Seldovia working towards cleaning up Jakolof Bay

Courtesy of the City of Seldovia

There’s a lot of cleaning up to do in Jakolof Bay near Seldovia. Abandoned cars and junk litters the beach near a popular public dock. Seldovia City Manager Tod Larson says the city is working to change that.

“It looks awful to have all those abandoned vehicles there, and it can’t be environmentally sound,” Larson said. “There’s got to be fluid leaking here and there. It just needs to be cleaned up appropriately” 

Unfortunately, the cleanup is not going to be a simple process. While the state signed over ownership of the dock to Seldovia four years ago, the city didn’t file for a tideland lease with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. Without the lease, the city has been unable charge fees to cover maintenance costs for the dock, which spurred it to file the necessary paperwork for the area surrounding the dock in 2015.

When Larson came on as city manager last summer, he decided to expand the lease to the whole bay.

“I got here and said, ‘why we don’t clean up the whole area,’ and I submitted a follow up in September that basically drew a big circle around the area saying this is the lease we want,” Larson explained.

The city has no idea when the lease could come through, and that means the junk littering the beach isn’t going anywhere soon. However, the slow bureaucratic wheels of government aren’t slowing Larsen down. When all the paperwork gets sorted out, he has big plans for how to organize the cleanup.

“Our own public works folks being a small community, we have two employees, and I’d be out there,” he said. “[If] the community really comes out there and we can invite some of the Homer community and make a day out of it and have a barbecue or something, make it a work day and get a lot accomplished in a short time”

But, as the city waits, it’s actively dealing with vandalism and expensive hazards. A boat sank at the Jakolof dock last year and sat on the beach for months after it was pulled from the water. An unknown person set the vessel on fire last week. 

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