Letter to the Editor: Funny River needs a boat launch

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

As a member of the Funny River Community for the past 40-plus years, I have been privileged to know and learn from the few remaining original pioneer builders of this area. They had the rare can-do way about them, along with an untiring spirit to get things done that improved the community here for everyone. Our beautiful community here in Funny River has developed through the years — to the extent that we are now living in the most sought-after place to make a home on the peninsula. Just look at the things that have been done to improve our way of life:

• Community center building with later expansions

• New church

• New fire station

• Natural gas

• Convenience store

• Golf course

• Fish guiding services

These things did not just happen. A lot of effort and heated “battles” were involved. And because of that can-do attitude and get-things-done spirit that lives on in many of our younger residents we won; we improved our way of life.

However, we now find ourselves in a very slow moving project that has been going on for over 18 years — a public boat launch along the 36 Mile Funny River collector road infrastructure. A public boat launch on our side of the Kenai River is absolutely needed. The benefits are clear. For example do you know that:

There are 16 public boat launches on the north side of the Kenai River drainage.

Except for the city of Soldotna’s Centennial Park, there is not one public boat launch along the south side of the Kenai River drainage.

There are 2,153 platted residential lots and a variety of business here, and the number of full-time residents is growing very quickly now that natural gas is available.

The Funny River Chamber of Commerce and Community Association Board of Directors formally endorsed the absolute need for a public boat launch in September 2004 as recommended in the Economic Development Plan for the community

Public bank fishing along the Funny River Road corridor has become very limited to almost nonexistent because of the closure of bank fishing by the state, and without a public boat launch you must drive to the lower river to bank fish.

The most promising site for a public boat launch is, and has always been, where the 146-acre Hansen Ranch property was, which is now owned by the state and now also closed to all bank fishing as it was believed in 2004 that all that was necessary was to improve the existing boat launch site that had been in continuous use since 1947.

And most importantly, access to this state-owned site would not impact upon any established subdivision and, with minor improvements, you could launch your boat off current if the entrance to the launch site was directly across from the Bird Golf Course through the “old horse pasture.” Yes, off current, not like the Pillars or Kasilof.

The way things are now is not RIGHT. We as a community need to stand up, get organized and say enough is enough. My community deserves the same infrastructure as that provided in the lower Kenai and the Kasilof Rivers with new and improved and public boat launches. As a community we need to have legal access to a safe boat launch.

In summary, as a community we need start making “noise” to our elected officials to get this project off of dead zero while the state continues to throw up every excuse and obstacle it can generate or facilitate to simply wear us down and hope we just die and go away.

— John Grunza, Funny River Road

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