- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 21, 2017

KENAI, Alaska (AP) - The state has decided to hold off on installing a boat ramp on the banks of the Kasilof River on south-central Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula after getting input from the public on the project.

The project, known as the Kasilof Landing, has been in the works for several years, The Peninsula Clarion reported Sunday (https://bit.ly/2l2LVkR).

Boaters have to pay to haul out at the Kasilof Lodge and Cabins, float all the way to the mouth of the river or motor back up to the park at the Sterling Highway bridge.

Residents had requested a drift boat takeout facility and the Legislature appropriated money for the facility in 2011 and 2012.

In December, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ state Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation unveiled plans that included a traditional boat ramp rather than a cable takeout system that would allow people to launch their boats.

After receiving a large number of public comments, the agency announced on its website last week that it was halting the project.

“The division is putting this project on hold while its takes a comprehensive look at the multiple Kasilof River recreation access projects that are in various stages of development,” the announcement states. “We will be reaching out to stakeholders and the community before we make any further decisions.”

The boat landing was planned for two adjacent parcels the state bought from private owners in 2015. Cleanup efforts on the land, including the removal of buried fuel tanks, have been ongoing since last fall and have also been put on hold.

That is likely to delay to the construction of the landing, which was scheduled for fall 2017.

There are several infrastructure improvements planned along the Kasilof River. DNR Commissioner Andy Mack said the department is “going back to the drawing board” on some of those areas as well as on the Kasilof Landing project.

“We’ve stopped the (boat landing) project right now, and . we’re going to go back and rethink what we’re doing and prioritize what our efforts are,” Mack said. “We have limited budgets here at the state.”

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Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, https://www.peninsulaclarion.com


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