Petition to Keep Kachemak Bay Jet Ski Free
A PETITION TO PROTECT KACHEMAK BAY AND THE PEOPLE, WILDLIFE & LOCAL ECONOMIES IT SUPPORTS
WHEREAS, the Kachemak Bay Coalition is comprised of Alaskan businesses, property owners and resource users who are dedicated to protecting and enhancing the unique recreational and natural values of the Kachemak Bay watershed.
WHEREAS, in 2001, citizens from the Kachemak Bay region and throughout southcentral Alaska Secured a ban on jet skis in the Kachemak Bay Critical Habitat Area. Over 1850 people spoke out and over 70% supported the idea of protecting Kachemak Bay from the noise, pollution, disruption and safety concerns of personal watercraft;
WHEREAS, now, however, industry trade and user groups, with support from the Alaska Outdoor Council, are working to undue these sensible and popular safeguards. Despite the fact there are thousands of square miles along the Alaska road system for personal watercraft use, these special interest groups want every waterbody – including Kachemak Bay – to be their personal watercraft playground.
WHEREAS, Kachemak Bay has become known for its quiet beauty. Some of the deep fjords are stunningly scenic and quiet, aside from the occasional passing boat or airplane. Many businesses rely on the “brand” of Kachemak Bay as a place of quiet beauty. Homer is now a kayaking mecca and the non-motorized sports of wind surfing, wind sailing, paddle boarding, and surfing are all growing on Homer’s beaches. Jetskis, and the way they are ridden, will adversely affect the values and uses that make Kachemak Bay unique.
WHEREAS, the State of Alaska already went through a rigorous process. The State of Alaska embraced a thorough public review process before it adopted the jetski rule in 2001. It held three public meetings and two formal hearings, with over 1850 people, businesses and groups participating in the process. Not satisfied with the outcome, special interest groups are now taking advantage of a political landscape that puts less value on habitat protection and quiet recreational settings.
WHEREAS, Jetskis disrupt fish and wildlife and have no place in a State Critical Habitat Area. Unlike boats and planes – which travel from point A to point B – personal watercraft are ridden back and forth for extended periods in discrete locations. Research from across the nation shows such riding patterns disrupt fish, whales and wildlife, and undermine the very purposes of a Critical Habitat Area.
WHEREAS, PWC users already have ample space to ride. In southcentral Alaska alone, PWC riders can access the fresh waters of Big Lake and surrounding systems, and marine waters in Upper Cook Inlet, Seward and Prince William Sound. These areas are accessible from the road system and provide countless miles for PWC use. PWC’s need not have access to every last area in the state, especially areas such as Kachemak Bay, which are prized for their fish and wildlife habitat, and quiet recreational setting.
WHEREAS, Personal Watercraft use results in increased accidents. Due to the manner in which riders use personal watercraft, they are prone to increased accidents and injuries. Furthermore, studies show PWC owners typically share their PWCs with inexperienced users, resulting in even higher risks. Finally, local, state and federal agencies lack the resources to adequately enforce special rules governing PWC use.
WHEREAS, Kachemak Bay is being used for a special interest agenda. The Personal Watercraft Association of Alaska is working closely with the Alaska Outdoor Council to ensure PWC’s can go anywhere and everywhere. The AOC sees Kachemak Bay as a ripe opportunity to start unraveling reasonable safeguards in critical habitat areas across the state. If they can do it here, they will do it elsewhere and eventually, there will be no place in Alaska where the values of quiet, solitude and habitat protection remain.
NOW, THEREFORE, THE UNDERSIGNED DO HEREBY OPPOSE ANY EFFORT TO ROLLBACK THE SENSIBLE AND WELL-DELIBERATED RULE BANNING PERSONAL WATERCRAFT FROM THE KACHEMAK BAY CIRTICAL HABITAT AREA.
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