I have lived out Funny River Road since we built our house here in 1979. We raised our four kids here. I was not aware there was any thought of a public boat launch until I saw a recent letter opposing it.
The Funny River community has needed a public boat launch for more than 40 years. The letter writer wrote of “seasonal residents” claiming “all” of Funny River wanting a boat launch. She then went on to claim 97% of Funny River opposed the boat launch. (I did not know a river could have an opinion.) I suspect the number of Funny River Road residents in favor and opposed to the boat launch is in between. In Alaska, as in the nation, I doubt you could find 97% of all residents agreeing to anything.
The “seasonal residents,” like the permanent locals, own property, pay taxes and have as much right to government services and consideration as anyone else.
I have driven Funny River Road for 40 years. When I first moved out here it was not uncommon to drive to or from town and not see another soul. This summer, in July, I counted more than 120 vehicles going the other way on a 14-mile drive. They were practically bumper to bumper. I did not count the number of boats being towed, but it was considerable. The letter writer seemed to indicate only “seasonal people” wanted a boat launch. A fair number of the pickups I have seen hauling boats I am also used to seeing haul firewood at other times of the year. I suspect they are permanent folks. I also suspect a lot of them would like to have a local public boat launch. Not everyone is lucky or rich enough to live on the river or have a private boat launch.
The letter writer wrote that if a public boat launch were put in people would drive from town and overload Funny River Road’s capacity. I do not think anyone would drive an extra 11 miles down a twisty, two-lane road to use the Funny River boat launch. There are a number of public launches on the other side of the Kenai River a lot easier to reach. That little inconvenience should lower her fears of overloading Funny River Road’s services.
The letter writer writes of the quirky little bridge over Funny River. Before DOT paved Funny River Road about 18 years ago, the bridge was marked as a one-lane bridge. DOT did not widen it.
Now it is marked as a narrow bridge. We were very courteous to one another, waiting patiently for oncoming traffic to clear. I still treat it as a one-lane bridge because it is so narrow and let other traffic pass. We all used to wave at each other because we were neighbors. I still do.
People are going to use the river whether they can launch conveniently near their Funny River homes or have to drive to town. Putting in a public boat launch in the Funny River community would cut down a lot of the road traffic and make our quirky little bridge more convenient.
Let us learn to live with and accept our neighbors and their views. We can all respectfully agree to disagree with another’s views without condemning them.
I speak for myself. I am a nobody, just another Funny River Fool.
— Bill Parker, Funny River