Funny River area needs better Kenai River access

We have lived and raised our family in the Funny River community for the past 43 years. Our property, business and air strip is located on the banks of the Kenai River at mile 11.5 of Funny River Road. I am very familiar with the Hanson property and have followed some of the past discussions in regard to how it will be developed by State Parks. I would like to make the following comments:

The State of Alaska, local travel/trade organizations, Chambers of Commerce and tourist orientated business have spent millions of dollars in advertising to get folks to come to Alaska for vacations and fishing on our beautiful lakes and rivers. This tourist industry has been a huge part of Alaska’s economic development and source of jobs. Yet, the development of proper Kenai River access, especially in the Funny River area via campgrounds or public boat launch have been near nothing in all the years I’ve lived here.

My father-in-law sold the property to the state years ago for the one existing state operated, limited space, campground at Funny River. This small facility has been and remains the only public “fishing hole” in the 17 miles of Funny River Road from Soldotna to the end of the road.

To date, there is not one public boat launch on the south side of the Kenai River, for Funny River area residents or tourists to launch a boat. Excuse me, but I feel that is embarrassing, unacceptable and inexcusable to our residents and tourists. The lack of recreation development and proper access to one of the most famous rivers in North America is totally ridiculous and pointless. I feel that would be comparable to the gathering of folks in Missouri in the1800s and finding a few people standing in the middle of the road protesting the start of the “Oregon Trail.”

Families need a place to recreate with their kids, camp out, build a fire and fish. Decent rest rooms should be provided so they don’t have to go behind a tree. Build proper camping site spacing so privacy can be maintained. River bank stabilization should be constructed for fish habitat and slope integrity. Build and provide quality, safe stairs for river access and fishing. Provide fish cleaning tables and a fresh clean potable water supply for processing fish and camping needs. Aesthetic values should be discussed, planned, protected and provided. They deserve it!

What a lucky break to have such a pristine, large piece of property to develop for public recreation and enjoyment. I truly believe there is plenty of room for good, protective, thoughtful development of this Park property for now and in the future for all folks and our kids to enjoy and generate lasting memories. Isn’t that one of the main reasons we live here?

My family was fortunate to have 13 acres on the Kenai River, to raise our kids and enjoy the wonders of the scenery, the wildlife, the eagles, the glacial waters of the Kenai, the fishing and the beauty and clean “mountain air” of Funny River. We have a great community and fabulous opportunity to safely develop a gorgeous piece of property for everyone to enjoy.