The Alaska Department of Fish and Game proposes to repeal the ban on personal watercraft use in Fox River Flats and Kachemak Bay Critical Habitat Areas.
The ban was enacted in 2001.
Robert Archibald is the chair of The Kachemak Bay State Park Citizens Advisory Board. Their next meeting is on Wednesday, December 11 at Islands and Ocean Visitor Center in Homer. Archibald says the watercraft repeal is going on the agenda.
"We will be discussing that as a board, whether to pass a resolution for or against that," said Archibald.
The citizen advisory board is inviting the public to come to the meeting and comment on the repeal and contribute to the advisory board's response. Archibald wasn’t on the advisory board when the ban was enacted in 2001 but says he remembers it and thinks that there are issues that ADF&G needs to address.
"Nobody's addressed the fact that they are still an influence on waterborne habitat. Nobody's addressed the fact that when these go out and they break down, who's going to help them out? And if you get word to the beach that you're having a problem, unless it's danger of life and limb, why you're going to be paying somebody to tow you back to the beach," Archibald said.
Captain Shane Blakely of Driftwood Charters on the Homer Spit says his only jet ski issue is making sure they’re visible from a safe distance.
"I don’t object one way or another. They’re making them now all decked out for fishing. I think the only issue is being able to see them. I know a lot of the kayakers and I said, Hey guys, buy a flag because sometimes when it gets a little rough, we just can’t see people out there, said Blakely.
Cook Inlet Keeper issued a statement opposing the repeal. Bob Shavelson works with Cook Inlet Keeper. He’s says apart from the environmental damage to critical habitat areas that he considers this bad government
"We've seen an internal email from the department of fish and game that says the governor's offices already decided to allow jet skis in Kachemak Bay. So Mike Dunleavy, is just ignoring the voice of the people and they don't have a public hearing. It's just going to be an open and shut process where they're going to take comments and then they're going to do what they want," said Shavelson.
Comments on the ban on personal watercraft can be submitted through the Alaska Online Public Notice System at aws.state.ak.us.
Written questions relevant to the proposed action are directed to Rick Green, Special Assistant to the Commissioner at firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions must be received at least 10 days before the end of the public comment period.
Comments must be received not later than 5:00 p.m. on January 6, 2020.
A copy of the proposed regulation changes is available on the Alaska Online Public Notice System.