Coal Creek Country Estates Subdivision. (Kenai Peninsula Borough Basic Map Viewer)

Coal Creek Country Estates Subdivision. (Kenai Peninsula Borough Basic Map Viewer)

Assembly rejects resolution supporting privately owned boat takeouts

The resolution was in response to a plan by the State of Alaska to develop a drift boat takeout in the lower Kasilof River

A split Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday defeated a resolution stating support for privately owned boat takeouts on the lower Kasilof River after hearing hours of testimony from people on both sides of the issue.

The resolution, sponsored by Assembly President Brent Johnson, is in response to a plan by the State of Alaska to develop a drift boat takeout on a piece of land it purchased from private property owners in 2015. That’s per a Nov. 3 memo from Johnson, who wrote that the state purchased Old Kasilof Landing from Jim Truijillo that year.

Efforts to develop new takeout facilities on the lower Kasilof River have been years in the making, but have faced setbacks. The Alaska Department of Natural Resources halted the project in 2017, and last summer proposed to improve the site as a retrieval-only facility.

Unlike ordinances, assembly resolutions do not change borough code, but rather formally state the body’s position on an issue. The legislation, if passed, would have formalized the assembly’s support for privately owned boat takeout facilities on the lower Kasilof River and opposed government-owned takeout facilities.

A boat takeout operation on the lower Kasilof River run by Steve and Jeanne Maltby, Johnson wrote, already welcomes “any user” and has “an excellent safety record.” The Maltby’s operation charges $30 per takeout, the memo says. If the state opens a boat takeout at Old Kasilof Landing, Johnson wrote, the Maltby’s business and local residents will be negatively impacted.

“It’s my contention that the State should avoid competing with private enterprise and that these detriments aren’t worth the benefits that lower Kasilof River boaters will receive from the proposed project,” Johnson wrote.

Those who testified in support of the resolution during Tuesday’s said a state-owned takeout facility would cause more traffic and disturbances in the community, while those opposed said a state-owned facility would provide safer takeout options for boaters and better facilities for recreators.

Kasilof resident Carolyn Roush, who said she has lived in the area with her husband for 39 years, said that a public boat takeout facility would be disruptive to the neighborhood and said she’s concerned it would lead to conditions similar to those seen during dipnetting season.

“It’s challenging for us that live here to hear that there could be something that could be so disruptive for our neighborhood — the trash, the people,” Roush said. “What we see at the Kasilof River is horrible. If you go down there to the mouth of the river and you see what it looks like in dipnetting time, it’s disgusting.”

Fishing guide Reubin Payne, who said he has been guiding on the Kenai Peninsula for more than 30 years, called the current takeout options “dangerous” and “super inconvenient.”

“As far as having a private entity-only takeout, the State of Alaska has provided us an entry into that river … but they have not provided us an exit,” Payne said. “I feel like we’re paying a fee to get on that river and then we’re paying a private individual fee to get off the river.”

The assembly ultimately voted 6-3 in opposition to the resolution, with those in favor citing the importance of public access to the river and adequate facilities for boaters.

Assembly member Cindy Ecklund, who represents the eastern peninsula, said that she was conflicted on the resolution because she supports privately owned takeouts, but also thinks safety and access are important.

“I support privately owned boat takeouts on the lower Kasilof River, but I also support safety,” Ecklund said. “I believe if the state allows you to put your boat in on the river, the state should provide you with a spot to take your boat out of the river that’s safe.”

Assembly member Lane Chesley, who voted in support of the resolution, said he hopes that residents in the area can continue working with state leaders to find a facility site that will have less of an impact on a nearby neighborhood. He spoke specifically to concerns about residential disturbances and that the facility would be used as a boat launch.

“I see the potential for the whole neighborhood becoming a parking lot of trailers laying in the roads as people try to access the launch,” Chesley said. “There’s a likelihood that they will (launch), you know, down river and upper river.”

The full meeting can be streamed on the borough’s website at kpb.legistar.com.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

Kasilof resident Thomas Burck testifies in support of private boat takeouts on the lower Kasilof River during a Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Kasilof resident Thomas Burck testifies in support of private boat takeouts on the lower Kasilof River during a Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Kasilof resident Carolyn Roush testifies in support of privately-owned boat takeouts on the lower Kasilof River during a Kenai peninsula Borough Assembly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Kasilof resident Carolyn Roush testifies in support of privately-owned boat takeouts on the lower Kasilof River during a Kenai peninsula Borough Assembly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Fishing guide Reubin Payne testifies in support of a public boat takeout facility on the Kasilof River during a Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 15. 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Fishing guide Reubin Payne testifies in support of a public boat takeout facility on the Kasilof River during a Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 15. 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

More in News

Council member James Baisden speaks in favor of an amendment to the City of Kenai’s budget that would add funds for construction of a veteran’s memorial column in the Kenai Cemetery during a meeting of the Kenai City Council in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai budget amendment allocates funds for veterans’ columbarium in cemetery expansion

A columbarium is an aboveground structure that houses cremated remains

Council member Alex Douthit speaks in favor of an amendment to the CIty of Kenai’s budget that would reduce funds allocated to the Storefront and Streetscape Improvement Program during a meeting of the Kenai City Council in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Funding reduced for City of Kenai’s storefront improvement grant program

Just over a year after the City of Kenai established its Storefront… Continue reading

Mount Redoubt can be seen across Cook Inlet from North Kenai Beach on Thursday, July 2, 2022. (Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion file photo)
Hilcorp only bidder in Cook Inlet oil and gas lease sale

8 million acres were available for bidding in the sale, spread across Cook Inlet and the Alaska Peninsula region

Council member Phil Daniel speaks during a meeting of the Kenai City Council in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
City of Kenai approves budget

A draft of the document says that the city expects to bring in around $19.5 million in the next year, and spend $20.2 million

A sockeye salmon rests atop a cooler at the mouth of the Kasilof River on Monday, June 26, 2023, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
A sockeye salmon rests atop a cooler at the mouth of the Kasilof River on Monday, June 26, 2023, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kasilof River personal use setnet opening delayed

Low counts for Kenai River early-run king salmon motivate restriction

Ben Meyer, environmental scientist and water quality coordinator for the Kenai Watershed Forum, teaches children about young salmon freshly pulled from the Kenai River during the Kenai River Fair at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska, on Saturday, June 7, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River Fair debuts with array of activities and education

Previously called the Kenai River Festival, the newly refocused fair featured booths and activities dedicated to education about the outdoors, wildlife and ecosystems

A sign welcomes visitors on July 7, 2021, in Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Seward Pride Alliance rallies after bomb threat displaces drag story hour

The event was able to continue after a delay and a fundraising effort has brought in more than $13,000

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
City of Kenai Public Works Director Scott Curtain; City of Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel; Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Peter Micciche; Sen. Lisa Murkowski; Col. Jeffrey Palazzini; Elaina Spraker; Adam Trombley; and Kenai City Manager Terry Eubank cut the ribbon to celebrate the start of work on the Kenai River Bluff Stabilization Project on the bluff above the Kenai River in Kenai on Monday.
‘The future is bright for the City of Kenai’

Kenai celebrates start of bluff stabilization project after developing for 40 years

A Kenai Peninsula Food Bank truck in the Food Bank parking lot on Aug. 4, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Peninsula Food Bank’s Spring Festival set for Friday

The event will feature a wide swath of vendors, including lots of nonprofits, who will be sharing information about their services

Most Read