Alaska’s resource management is failing in Cook Inlet

Alaska has the best resource management system in the world.” If you’ve been here a while, you’ve heard that statement in some form or another. But in Cook Inlet, it’s increasingly hard to believe we’re managing our resources in a sustainable fashion. In the 1970s, Kachemak Bay was thick with shrimp, and king and tanner crab, but those populations crashed and have never come back.
While oceanic regime shifts – specifically, temperature – probably played a leading role moving Kachemak Bay from a habitat more conducive for fin fish, like halibut, pollock, and cod, than shellfish, the harvest pressure just before the shrimp and crab populations crashed was significant.

Would a mountain by any other name be appropriate?

We know it’s not McKinley, but is Denali the right name for our mountain?
Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan have created a bill to change Mount McKinley to Mount Denali. It has been Mount McKinley since 1896, when a miner successfully pushed for the mountain to be named after then President William McKinley of Ohio.
Renaming geographic features from their original indigenous names is an act of colonialism: it’s a topographic way of saying “we own you.”

Extreme conditions make it imperative to obey no burning, no fireworks rules

With the second year of little snowfall, the Homer area is seeing unprecedented conditions for wildfire. The recent fires along the Kenai River and in the Mat-Su are vivid demonstrations of how quickly we can be impacted by wildfire.
Due to the prevailing conditions, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and Division of Forestry have suspended all open burning for much of the state — including the entire Kenai Peninsula. This suspension includes all types of fires: burn piles, campfires, cooking fires, warming fires and even signal fires, with the exception of compressed gas grills or camp stoves.

Letters – June 24

Homer invests in its own people Homer has always been a community that prides itself in investing in its children. Its citizens and local businesses provide numerous opportunities to set young people up for success. One of the ways Homer works collectively to do this is by investing in education. Every year, several businesses and […]

Letters – June 17

Tillion maritime tradition continues I would like to thank the Homer Foundation and the Drew Scalzi Memorial Maritime Scholarship Fund for awarding me one of its scholarships. I greatly appreciate the support and plan to attend the California Maritime Academy in the fall to get my degree in marine transportation. I look forward to coming […]

Homer Prevention Project practices Positive Community Norms

“Most Homer High and Homer Flex students don’t drink in a typical month,” says a “Just the Facts” message; a positive community norms campaign run by the Homer Prevention Project. This statistic — along with “78 percent of Homer area adults drink two or fewer drinks on the nights they do consume alcohol,” have papered the town over the past year. They appear on flyers, coffee cups, information cards and in ads on the radio and in print.
Here’s why:

Homer Prevention Project introduces Youth Resource Guide

On June 11, the Homer Prevention Project will officially launch the Youth Resource Guide as a comprehensive list of activities and businesses in Homer and the youth-specific services they offer. Created for and by teens, YRG will be an online “living document for youth.”
Making its debut in time for summer, YRG will be useful to more than teens. With categories like ‘restaurants,’ ‘outdoors,’ and ‘shopping,’ as well as individual pages for each business listing hours and location, people visiting or new to town can use YRG as an easy way to learn what’s around Homer and where to find it.

Every halibut counts

Having worked in Alaska’s fisheries for 40 years, I was surprised to learn only recently that about half of all halibut caught by sport fishermen are released. Anglers let them go because they are too small, too big, would exceed the size or bag limits, or they just enjoy catch-and-release fishing.
Most halibut survive release, but improper handling can injure or even kill a halibut.

Letters – June 3

Stand Down event serves 200 Alaska vets The military veteran event held in Homer this past weekend was a great success, with approximately 200 veterans and many family members attending. I would like to thank the veterans who attended, supported the event and shared their extraordinary military experiences with us. I salute each of you. […]

Building a sustainable future: conversations with Alaskans

Next weekend, Lt. Governor Byron Mallott and I will kick off a series of conversations about the future of our state. The essence of these conversations is: What do we want our state to look like? What services do we want our government to provide? How will we pay for those services?
As most of you know, the price of oil fell precipitously over the past year, and with it, Alaska’s biggest source of revenue. Alaska’s budget for the coming year proposes to spend $5 billion in state general funds. We expect to receive only $2 billion in general fund revenue. That leaves a gap of $3 billion.
When your family’s income plummets, you have two basic options: spend less and earn more. The State of Alaska is no different.

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