CIRI partners with KRSA for land access on Kenai River

Anglers on the middle and lower Kenai River who want to fish from Cook Inlet Region, Inc.’s private banks can pick up permits from a new spot this summer — the Kenai River Sportfishing Association’s office in Soldotna.

Alaska Native corporation Cook Inlet Region, Inc. is changing the process for getting permits to access its lands for angling along the Kenai River. The corporation owns about 7 percent of the land along the Kenai River between Skilak Lake and the mouth, and since last summer has increased efforts to restrict trespassing by putting up “No trespassing” signs and requiring permits to use the land.

This year, the corporation is partnering with the nonprofit Kenai River Sportfishing Association to help issue permits to recreational anglers to use the land. The Kenai River Sportfishing Association has a history of working to protect riverbank habitat, said CIRI Surface Estate Manager Ben Mohr. CIRI similarly partners with the Kenai River Professional Guides Association to grant its members non-exclusive access in exchange for guides’ cooperation in reporting trespassers.

“(For land administration partnerships) we’re looking for entities that have similar interests in our properties or the health of the ecosystem,” Mohr said. “(The Kenai River Sportfishing Association) has been very active. In a similar way, we’re partnered with the KRPGA. Those entities have a self-interest in wanting to preserve that property. I know they’re going to pick up after themselves. I know they’re going to respect the property.”

Bank fishing is popular on the Kenai River, the most heavily used river for sportfishing in Alaska, particularly during the sockeye salmon season in July and August. Cook Inlet Region, Inc. owns a number of undeveloped parcels along the river and has had issues with trespassing and habitat destruction in the past. In 2017, the corporation undertook a major effort to replace “No trespassing” signs that had been damaged or torn down over the years and to tell the public they needed to get permits to use the land. The permits are free but the corporation wants people to get permits and submit a post-activity report online.

Last year, Cook Inlet Region, Inc. staff received more than 200 requests for permits online, which eats up staff time, Mohr said. This year, the corporation is going with hard copy permits and boat stickers.

Since replacing the signs and increasing enforcement last year, the corporation has seen improvement with how the lands are being treated, Mohr said.

“We have seen people taking better care of the land, and leaving less litter and trash and generally taking better care of the property,” he said.

Cook Inlet Region, Inc. staff will also be out doing enforcement for trespassers, checking boat stickers and on activities, he said. Though many people are now obtaining permits, there are others who are still trespassing, he said.

The corporation doesn’t want to block access, though they can deny permits if they so choose and there are still certain behavior expectations for those who have permits, Mohr said. The corporation manages land for two primary goals: increasing shareholder value and preserving them as a heritage asset. They want to keep the lands open for use but still protect them for the future, he said.

“Our shareholders and their ancestors have utilized this river for countless generations to feed their families,” he said. “That’s what Alaskan anglers are doing.”

Permits can be obtained in person at Cook Inlet Region, Inc.’s offices at 725 E. Fireweed Lane in Anchorage or at the Kenai River Sportfishing Association’s office at 35093 Kenai Spur Highway in Soldotna.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at eearl@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce attends the March 2, 2021, borough assembly meeting at the Betty J. Glick Assembly Chambers at the Borough Administration Building in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Former talk-show host to manage Pierce gubernatorial campaign

Jake Thompson is a former host of KSRM’s Tall, Dark and Handsome Show and Sound-off talk-show

Deborah Moody, an administrative clerk at the Alaska Division of Elections office in Anchorage, Alaska, looks at an oversized booklet explaining election changes in the state on Jan. 21, 2022. Alaska elections will be held for the first time this year under a voter-backed system that scraps party primaries and sends the top four vote-getters regardless of party to the general election, where ranked choice voting will be used to determine a winner. No other state conducts its elections with that same combination. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
How Alaska’s new ranked choice election system works

The Alaska Supreme Court last week upheld the system, narrowly approved by voters in 2020.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks to a joint meeting of the Alaska State Legislature at the Alaska State Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, for his fourth State of the State address of his administration. Dunleavy painted a positive picture for the state despite the challenges Alaska has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the economy. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Gov points ‘North to the Future’

Dunleavy paints optimistic picture in State of the State address

A COVID-19 test administrator discusses the testing process with a patient during the pop-up rapid testing clinic at Homer Public Health Center on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Free rapid COVID-19 testing available in Homer through Friday

A drive-up COVID-19 testing clinic will be held at Homer Public Health Center this week.

In this Sept. 21, 2017, file photo, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaks at a rally in Montgomery, Ala. Palin is on the verge of making new headlines in a legal battle with The New York Times. A defamation lawsuit against the Times, brought by the brash former Alaska governor in 2017, is set to go to trial starting Monday, Jan. 24, 2022 in federal court in Manhattan. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)
Palin COVID-19 tests delay libel trial against NY Times

Palin claims the Times damaged her reputation with an opinion piece penned by its editorial board

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID-19 at all-time high statewide

The state reported 5,759 new cases sequenced from Jan. 21-23

Volunteers serve food during Project Homeless Connect on Jan. 25, 2018, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion file)
Project Homeless Connect to provide services, support on Wednesday

The event will be held at the Soldotna Sports Complex on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Schools aim for business as usual as cases reach new highs

On Monday, there were 14 staff members and 69 students self-isolating with the virus

Triumvirate Theatre is seen on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 in Nikiski, Alaska. The building burned in a fire on Feb. 20. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Triumvirate construction on hold as theater seeks additional funding

The new theater is projected to cost around $4.7 million.

Most Read