Legislature(2001 - 2002)

03/26/2001 01:17 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 165-KENAI RIVER SPECIAL MANAGEMENT AREA                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR SCALZI announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE BILL  NO.  165, "An  Act relating  to  the Kenai  River                                                               
Special Management Area; and providing for an effective date."                                                                  
Number 0093                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KEN  LANCASTER, Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor                                                               
of  HB 165,  explained that  the Kenai  River Special  Management                                                               
Area  (KRSMA) addition  is  "the  winding up  of  a process  that                                                               
started back in 1996."   Public hearings took place in Anchorage,                                                               
Soldotna, Moose Pass,  and Cooper Landing over  about an 18-month                                                               
period,   with   hundreds   of   people   present   to   testify.                                                               
Representative  Lancaster   stated  that  the   properties  under                                                               
discussion totaled  approximately 6,000 acres,  located primarily                                                               
in the Moose Pass and  Cooper Landing areas, with some properties                                                               
in  the upper  and  lower Kenai  areas.   He  mentioned that  the                                                               
properties  in  the lower  Kenai  area  had been  purchased  with                                                               
"Exxon Valdez criminal spill money."                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  LANCASTER  outlined  that HB  165  would  protect                                                               
habitat  and  "wet areas  along  those  different water  bodies."                                                               
Furthermore, the intent of the  bill is to help prevent trampling                                                               
of the areas,  thereby protecting the "small fry,"  the result of                                                               
which will  help both commercial  and sport fishermen  by getting                                                               
the  salmon back  out to  the waters.   Representative  Lancaster                                                               
made note that  there would be some minor  technical changes made                                                               
to the bill.                                                                                                                    
Number 0258                                                                                                                     
CAROL CARROLL,  Director, Division  of Support  Services (Central                                                               
Office),  Department of  Natural  Resources  (DNR), detailed  the                                                               
proposed changes to HB 165.   She noted that the first change, on                                                               
page 3, line 30, was to delete "Lot 2-A of ASLS 80-87".                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  LANCASTER  clarified  that that  was  a  ten-acre                                                               
parcel right  in the  center of Soldotna,  which has  been turned                                                               
over to the city.                                                                                                               
MS. CARROLL  directed the committee's  attention to page  4, line                                                               
5:  "Tract  3, Anglers Acres Subdivision Lowe  Addition, Plat No.                                                             
97-19;".   She  explained that  that tract  was purchased  by the                                                             
Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustees  Council, but was returned to its                                                               
previous  owner to  resolve a  dispute; therefore,  it should  be                                                               
deleted from the bill.                                                                                                          
[At  this  point,  there  was  a  motion  to  adopt  HB  165  for                                                               
discussion purposes, but it was already before the committee.]                                                                  
MS.  CARROLL  apologized for  not  delivering  the changes  being                                                               
discussed to the committee or  the sponsor prior to today, adding                                                               
that  the detailed  analysis resulting  in the  changes had  just                                                               
been  done on  Friday [of  the  previous week].   She  continued,                                                               
saying that  the following should  be deleted from page  10, line                                                               
16:   "19".   She  stated that  the reason  for the  deletion was                                                               
because  that section  of land  does not  contain any  portion of                                                               
Trail River or Trail Lake.                                                                                                      
MS. CARROLL indicated  that the following should  be deleted from                                                               
page 11,  lines 18-20:  "Indian  Creek Township 5 North,  Range 2                                                               
West, Seward Meridian Sections 30, 31".                                                                                         
MS.  CARROLL said  that  work needed  to be  done  in Section  4,                                                               
because some  entire lots had  been added in, when  only sections                                                               
of the  lots should have been  included.  For example,  she cited                                                               
that in Section 13,  line 24 [page 11], "Lots 5,  7, and 9" would                                                               
be  deleted and  the following  language would  be added  for the                                                               
House Resources Standing Committee's  consideration:  "Portion of                                                               
lots 4,  5, and 7 that  are east of the  Seward Highway right-of-                                                               
way and  west of Lower  Trail Lake," and  "Portion of lots  7, 8,                                                               
and 9 that  are within 200 feet of the  Trail Lake ordinary high-                                                               
water mark, or within the  100-year flood boundary, or the river,                                                               
whichever is greater".   She explained that the  intention was to                                                               
include  only land  near  the  water, not  entire  lots, and  the                                                               
management's intent  with the  plans was  to "reduce  the acreage                                                               
and increase the acreage that is  conveyable to the bureau."  She                                                               
stated that some  of the acreage was reselected by  the bureau on                                                               
December 31, 2000.                                                                                                              
Number 0720                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  SCALZI asked  Representative Lancaster  if he  would be                                                               
amenable to moving a committee  substitute that would include the                                                               
changes just discussed.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE LANCASTER concurred.                                                                                             
MS. CARROLL  interjected that DNR  would be willing to  work with                                                               
the sponsor to supply the  committee substitute as expediently as                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  LANCASTER  mentioned  that resolutions  from  the                                                               
Kenai  Peninsula  Borough,  the  City   of  Kenai,  the  City  of                                                               
Soldotna, as  well as from  various groups in the  Cooper Landing                                                               
and Moose  Pass areas  would be provided  to the  House Resources                                                               
Standing Committee before the next scheduled hearing of HB 165.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE stated  that  the municipality  has so  much                                                               
land  that  it can  select.    He asked  if  all  the land  being                                                               
considered  falls  under  the  statute  that  provides  for  that                                                               
municipal land.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  LANCASTER replied  that  he believed  that to  be                                                               
correct.   He added:   "When  this was  first introduced  back in                                                               
1997,   when   Commissioner    Shively   actually   planned   the                                                               
regulations, ... there was a  lawsuit put forward by the borough.                                                               
And that's part of the negotiation,  I think, to come out of [it]                                                               
-   the  last   property,   particularly,   that  Carol   Carroll                                                               
Number 0884                                                                                                                     
CHRIS  DEGERNES,  Park   Superintendent,  Kenai  Peninsula  Area,                                                               
Division  of Parks  & Outdoor  Recreation, Department  of Natural                                                               
Resources, testifying via teleconference,  said that she has been                                                               
working on  Kenai River issues for  many years.  She  stated that                                                               
[HB  165] stems  from almost  1984, when  the Kenai  River stress                                                               
management area was first created.  Ms. Degernes continued:                                                                     
     There were  lands in the  upper drainage, in  the Kenai                                                                    
     Lake, Upper  Kenai River, Upper  Trail Lake,  and Lower                                                                    
     Trail Lake, [which] had not  been selected by the state                                                                    
     at  that  time,  or  [been] in  the  process  of  being                                                                    
     selected,   under  national   forest  community   grant                                                                    
     programs.   It  was intended,  since those  early days,                                                                    
     that once these  lands were selected and  were in state                                                                    
     ... ownership  ... they  would be  available to  add to                                                                    
     the  Kenai River  stress management  area.   So,  we're                                                                    
     basically fulfilling  the intent of nearly  two decades                                                                    
     ago  of   adding  these  lands   for  the   purpose  of                                                                    
     protecting and  preserving important fish  and wildlife                                                                    
     habitat  and resources,  and also  providing recreation                                                                    
     access  and opportunities  for all  the people  who use                                                                    
     these areas.                                                                                                               
MS. DEGERNES  recalled that since  1984, when the  original KRSMA                                                               
was  established,  there  have  been  a  couple  of  more  recent                                                               
extensive  public  support  processes   that  were  mentioned  by                                                               
Representative  Lancaster:    the  revision of  the  Kenai  River                                                               
comprehensive  management  plan,  which   was  adopted  in  1997,                                                               
"following about  a year  and a half  of fairly  intensive public                                                               
involvement"; and more  recently, the Kenai area  plan, which was                                                               
a  way  of classifying  state  land  within the  Kenai  Peninsula                                                               
Borough  and "reiterated  that certain  lands and  waters of  the                                                               
upper Kenai  River drainage  should be added  to the  Kenai River                                                               
Special Management Area."                                                                                                       
MS.  DEGERNES  said that  both  those  public processes  involved                                                               
extensive  meetings,  where   representatives  from  Moose  Pass,                                                               
Cooper  Landing, Seward,  Kenai, and  Soldotna were  heard.   She                                                               
stated,  "There is  resounding support  for adding  these lands,"                                                               
and  urged the  House Resources  Standing Committee  to adopt  HB
165, as amended.                                                                                                                
Number 1099                                                                                                                     
ANN  WHITMORE-PAINTER,  Member,   Kenai  River  Special  Advisory                                                               
Board;  and Chairman,  Moose  Pass  Advisory Planning  Commission                                                               
(for  the  past  11  years), testified  via  teleconference.    A                                                               
resident  of Moose  Pass, she  stated  that the  majority of  the                                                               
people  in  the Moose  Pass  area  have  made it  clear,  through                                                               
numerous  meetings  and  a  community vote,  that  one  of  their                                                               
priorities for the future was to  protect the shores of Upper and                                                               
Lower Trail  Lakes.   She added that  the community  thought that                                                               
the best way to protect the  habitat, as well as the recreational                                                               
and scenic  value [of the area],  was to have the  lands added to                                                               
Number 1200                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR SCALZI mentioned that Ms.  Whitmore-Painter was a former                                                               
long-time  member   of  the  Kenai  Peninsula   Borough  Planning                                                               
Number 1225                                                                                                                     
DALE  BONDURANT testified  via teleconference  in  support of  HB
165.  He stated that the  Kenai River watershed fish and wildlife                                                               
resources are  some of  the most important,  not only  in Alaska,                                                               
but in our nation.  He mentioned  that he'd been in Alaska for 54                                                               
[An at-ease was taken from 1:32 p.m. to 1:38 p.m.]                                                                              
MR. BONDURANT  continued by saying  that many  people participate                                                               
in  [Alaska's] fisheries.   He  said he  has seen  the harm  that                                                               
uncontrolled  development has  on  fish  and wildlife  resources.                                                               
Mr.  Bondurant told  the committee  that he  had served  for many                                                               
years on the KRSMA citizen  advisory board, and believed that its                                                               
input has resulted  in good management decisions.   He encouraged                                                               
the committee to pass HB 165.                                                                                                   
Number 1488                                                                                                                     
CHARLES QUARRE, a property owner  on the [Kenai] River, testified                                                               
via teleconference  in support  of HB  165.   He stated  that the                                                               
bill  provides   additional  protection  of  fish   and  wildlife                                                               
resources and  habitat, as well  as an opportunity to  manage the                                                               
recreational activities  in the  area.   He mentioned  that these                                                               
lands  and waters  were identified  in 1997,  in the  Kenai River                                                               
comprehensive management  plan, and  he urged the  legislature to                                                               
enact HB 165.                                                                                                                   
Number 1541                                                                                                                     
PAUL  SHADURA,   Vice  President,  Kenai   Peninsula  Fishermen's                                                               
Association  (KPFA);  and  Board   Member,  Kenai  River  Special                                                               
Management Area,  testified via  teleconference in support  of HB
165.     He  mentioned  his   support  of  the   Kenai  Peninsula                                                               
Fishermen's Association, the  Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association,                                                               
and  any efforts  to  protect  the Kenai  River  watershed.   Mr.                                                               
Shadura  stated  that  [HB  165]   is  a  "positive  approach  in                                                               
protecting ... the future."  He continued:                                                                                      
     As with  any plan, many  adjustments have been  made to                                                                    
     attempt   to   accommodate   the   interests   of   the                                                                    
     stakeholders.   Adopted,  I hope  that  this spirit  of                                                                    
     cooperation will continue  to accommodate specific uses                                                                    
     and users,  so that all  can enjoy the  natural wonders                                                                    
     of  the  Kenai  watershed,  while  ...  protecting  its                                                                    
     fragile ecosystem for generations to come.                                                                                 
Number 1659                                                                                                                     
BOB  MERCHANT, President,  United Cook  Inlet Drift  Association,                                                               
testified via teleconference as follows:                                                                                        
     On  behalf of  the  250 members  of  United Cook  Inlet                                                                    
     Drift Association,  I wish to  speak in favor  of House                                                                    
     Bill 165.  We believe that  the lands and waters of the                                                                    
     Kenai  Peninsula should  be developed  and settled  for                                                                    
     the greatest benefit to the  people of Alaska, and find                                                                    
     no reason to believe that  the inclusion of these lands                                                                    
     and waters will prevent  the orderly settlement and use                                                                    
     of this property by the people.                                                                                            
     We,  of  course, also  support  any  measures taken  to                                                                    
     protect  the   waters  and  spawning  habitat   of  our                                                                    
     abundant   fishery  resources,   and  feel   our  parks                                                                    
     administration is able to see  that those resources and                                                                    
     habitat are protected.                                                                                                     
Number 1729                                                                                                                     
DAVID RHODE  testified via teleconference,  noting that  he lives                                                               
in Cooper  Landing and  has worked  with the  "APC" in  the local                                                               
community, over the years, on a  lot of planning issues.  He said                                                               
there  has  been  strong  support in  Cooper  Landing  for  these                                                               
additions.  Mr.  Rhode informed members that he  has been working                                                               
with this [issue]  since the early 1980s.  He  said the state has                                                               
done  a  good  job  of  listening  to  the  local  community  and                                                               
incorporating  its input  into  the plan.    Mr. Rhode  indicated                                                               
these additions  fit well  with the  local borough  planning, the                                                               
Kenai Area Plan, and the U.S.  Forest Service planning.  He added                                                               
that  he  agreed  with what  "Chris  [Degernes],  Ann  [Whitmore-                                                               
Painter],  Dale [Bondurant],  Charles  [Quarre], Paul  [Shadura],                                                               
and Bob [Merchant]" had to say.   He offered to answer any "unit-                                                               
specific" questions.                                                                                                            
Number 1788                                                                                                                     
JIM H. RICHARDSON  testified via teleconference in  support of HB
165.   [Although  his  testimony was  indiscernible  for a  short                                                               
time, his letter dated March 26,  2001, stated:  "We own property                                                               
on the Kenai  River in Cooper Landing in the  vicinity of some of                                                               
the parcels  included in the proposed  legislation.  I am  also a                                                               
public member of the KRSMA Board."]                                                                                             
MR.  RICHARDSON reported  that  the addition  of  these lands  to                                                               
KRSMA received  extensive public  review in the  1996-97 revision                                                               
of the  original 1986 Kenai River  Comprehensive Management Plan.                                                               
He noted that  he was involved in some of  those meetings, during                                                               
which the testimony  was favorable.  Mr. Richard  stated that the                                                               
purpose [of  HB 165] is  to provide additional protection  to the                                                               
habitat  and to  fish and  wildlife resources.   Furthermore,  it                                                               
will provide  the general public an  opportunity for recreational                                                               
activity in a larger area of the Kenai River watershed.                                                                         
Number 1885                                                                                                                     
[Dick Mylius  of the  DNR's Division of  Mining, Land,  and Water                                                               
informed  members via  teleconference  that he  was available  to                                                               
answer questions,  especially those relating to  changes proposed                                                               
by Ms. Carroll.]                                                                                                                
Number 1925                                                                                                                     
TED  WELLMAN,  President,  Kenai River  Special  Management  Area                                                               
Advisory  Board, testified  via teleconference  in support  of HB
165,  noting  that  the  KRSMA board  had  unanimously  passed  a                                                               
resolution on  March 15, 2001, in  support of the bill.   He said                                                               
the  bill would  simply implement  recommendations formulated  in                                                               
the 1997  comprehensive plan  after perhaps  two years  of public                                                               
hearings; he  had participated in  all of those  public hearings,                                                               
where, "almost uniformly, the addition  of land was favored."  He                                                               
added that  he could  not recall hearing  any testimony  in those                                                               
hearings  that  expressed  sentiment "against  the  inclusion  of                                                               
those lands."                                                                                                                   
MR. WELLMAN  said the Kenai  River already suffers from  too much                                                               
"bank development,"  which has  had visual  impacts and  has been                                                               
destructive  to  the  habitat.   Over  the  past  several  years,                                                               
property  owners and  public entities  have invested  hundreds of                                                               
thousands of  dollars in maintaining  and improving  the habitat,                                                               
and [HB  165] is  another opportunity to  control the  habitat of                                                               
land that is  currently undeveloped along the  Kenai River, which                                                               
has "significant habitat value."                                                                                                
MR. WELLMAN  turned attention to  the issue of these  lands being                                                               
managed  by [the  Division of  Parks &  Outdoor Recreation].   He                                                               
said he  was first appointed  to the  KRSMA more than  five years                                                               
ago  because he  was the  chairman  of the  Kenai River  Property                                                               
Owners   Association;   he   indicated  he   still   holds   that                                                               
chairmanship.  He  said one of his objectives on  the KRSMA board                                                               
is to  protect private property  rights and access to  the river.                                                               
He reported  that in  his tenure  on the board,  he has  seen the                                                               
[Division of  Parks & Outdoor  Recreation] put  forth "incredible                                                               
effort" to  coordinate with  the public  and to  protect people's                                                               
property rights and the resource.                                                                                               
MR. WELLMAN said  one of the primary purposes of  the KRSMA board                                                               
is to  provide an  opportunity for  the public  to have  input on                                                               
issues relating to  the Kenai River.  He indicated  the board has                                                               
monthly meetings  from September  through May  or June,  with two                                                               
opportunities at  each meeting for  the public to  voice concerns                                                               
about  the use  of  the lands  in  the park.    When people  have                                                               
testified about it,  he said, "we've dealt with it  on a fair and                                                               
equitable basis."                                                                                                               
MR.  WELLMAN said  there have  been very  few complaints,  and he                                                               
himself is  satisfied with the  management of the park  "from the                                                               
perspective  of the  private property  owners."   He assured  the                                                               
committee that the  advisory board would continue  to be actively                                                               
involved in the  management.  Should these lands be  added to the                                                               
park,  [the board]  would be  highly  involved in  how the  lands                                                               
would be  developed or used.   Mr. Wellman encouraged  passage of                                                               
HB 165,  which he said would  be in the public  interest in order                                                               
to protect the  habitat, the property values,  and the commercial                                                               
and sport fisheries.                                                                                                            
Number 2125                                                                                                                     
BOB BALDWIN, Quartz Creek Homeowners'  Association and Friends of                                                               
Cooper  Landing,  testified  via   teleconference.    He  thanked                                                               
Representative Lancaster  and Co-Chair  Scalzi for  "their vision                                                               
in  sponsoring HB  165."    He said  the  parcels  that are  most                                                               
important  to  "us"  are  in the  upper  Kenai  River  drainages,                                                               
including, as specified in the  bill, Cooper Landing, Kenai Lake,                                                               
Quartz  Creek lowlands,  Cooper Lake,  Cooper Creek,  Bean Creek,                                                               
Shackelford  Creek, Quartz  Creek, Daves  Creek, Crescent  Creek,                                                               
Dry Creek, Indian Creek, and the additional Kenai Lake lands.                                                                   
MR.  BALDWIN  questioned  why  Indian  Creek  had  been  deleted,                                                               
because it  is an  anadromous stream.   He  then noted  that [his                                                               
organizations'] members  have participated in the  development of                                                               
the Kenai River Comprehensive Management  Plan and the Kenai Area                                                               
Plan; they believe both should be fully implemented.  He stated:                                                                
     The importance  of the entire Kenai  River watershed to                                                                    
     the  health  of the  river  is  well recognized  by,  I                                                                    
     believe, most  of the public  - certainly  all involved                                                                    
     in  these  planning  processes.     We  believe  it  is                                                                    
     extremely important  to add these parcels  to the Kenai                                                                    
     River  Special Management  Area,  and  we believe  that                                                                    
     [Division of Parks &  Outdoor Recreation] management is                                                                    
     the way to go with this.                                                                                                   
     The  Quartz  Creek Homeowners'  Association  properties                                                                    
     lie  adjacent  to  both Kenai  Lake  and  Quartz  Creek                                                                    
     parcels, and our owners strongly support HB 165.                                                                           
     The Friends  of Cooper  Landing represent  the majority                                                                    
     position of  the Cooper Landing community,  as required                                                                    
     by  its  bylaws, and  we  recognize  the importance  of                                                                    
     preserving public  recreational access to  these waters                                                                    
     and  the  lakeshore.   Additionally,  Cooper  Landing's                                                                    
     tourist-based   economy   is   totally   dependent   on                                                                    
     retaining ... its habitat,  "viewshed," and the overall                                                                    
     natural setting and, of course,  a healthy Kenai River.                                                                    
     The  Friends of  Cooper Landing  also strongly  support                                                                    
     passage of HB 165.                                                                                                         
CO-CHAIR SCALZI informed Mr. Baldwin  that his question regarding                                                               
Indian  Creek would  be addressed  to either  Ms. Carroll  or Mr.                                                               
Mylius of the DNR after public testimony was taken.                                                                             
BILL  STOCKWELL testified  via teleconference,  informing members                                                               
that he  strongly supports HB  165.   He told the  committee that                                                               
important to him  is the Quartz Creek area,  including the Quartz                                                               
Creek lowlands and  the stream corridors along  Quartz Creek, Dry                                                               
Creek, Crescent Creek,  Daves Creek, and Indian Creek.   He noted                                                               
that he  has had a  place along Dry  Creek since 1972,  which has                                                               
been his home since 1993.   When the lands were being transferred                                                               
from the  U.S. Forest Service to  the state, he had  asked why it                                                               
wasn't  being  made a  part  of  KRSMA,  and Chris  Degernes  had                                                               
pointed out  that the lands  hadn't been  selected in time  to be                                                               
included in  the Act in 1984;  however, they were expected  to be                                                               
put in later, and there was a  letter from the DNR to the borough                                                               
indicating [those lands] eventually would be part of KRSMA.                                                                     
MR. STOCKWELL told members that there  is a weir on Quartz Creek.                                                               
In  the early  1980s, all  five  species of  salmon, including  a                                                               
small number  of chums and  pinks, visited the watershed.   About                                                               
10 percent of  the sockeye production for the  entire Kenai River                                                               
drainage comes through  the Quartz Creek area;  300-500 kings are                                                               
produced each  year and there is  a fairly large run  of silvers.                                                               
In  addition,   there  are  Dolly   Varden  and   rainbow  trout.                                                               
Furthermore, lately it has been  shown that the area is important                                                               
as a feeding  area for Kenai Peninsula brown  bear, especially in                                                               
the area where Quartz Creek (indisc.).                                                                                          
MR.  STOCKWELL acknowledged  that  other areas  are important  to                                                               
other  people, and  he  said,  "As far  as  the  other lands  are                                                               
concerned,  I completely  support that."   He  voiced his  belief                                                               
that  [this  bill]   is  good  for  Cooper   Landing,  the  Kenai                                                               
Peninsula, and  Alaska because it  will preserve the  habitat and                                                               
the fish and wildlife.                                                                                                          
MR.  STOCKWELL  returned  to  the  issue of  Indian  Creek.    He                                                               
indicated his  understanding that Indian Creek  "doesn't have 200                                                               
feet of ... state lands available  to it," because some of it has                                                               
been  conveyed  to the  borough;  however,  it is  an  anadromous                                                               
stream that  supports sockeye  salmon and  the spawning  of Dolly                                                               
Varden.   He asked that  (indisc.) be left  as part of  KRSMA and                                                               
that  "those state  lands  that can  be  identified along  Indian                                                               
Creek  should then  be identified  as part  of KRSMA,  within 200                                                               
feet of  Indian Creek."  He  added that the parts  that belong to                                                               
the borough obviously cannot be identified [for inclusion].                                                                     
Number 2491                                                                                                                     
MS. CARROLL,  at the  request of  Co-Chair Scalzi,  addressed the                                                               
Indian Creek  situation, saying  Mr. Stockwell  is correct.   The                                                               
reason  that all  of those  sections cannot  be included  is that                                                               
part of  them have been given  to the Kenai Peninsula  Borough as                                                               
its entitlement.   She asked Mr. Mylius whether  he could address                                                               
the "stream side of an anadromous stream issue."                                                                                
Number 2511                                                                                                                     
MR.  MYLIUS responded  that he  didn't  have the  status plat  in                                                               
order to  check the  exact status.   He  then affirmed  that [the                                                               
DNR's] reason for requesting deletion  was the understanding that                                                               
"most have  land described there  as borough land."   He offered,                                                               
however, to double-check  to see whether any state  land could be                                                               
Number 2565                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR SCALZI said the committee  would appreciate that because                                                               
HB 165 would be held over,  at the sponsor's request, in order to                                                               
prepare  a  proposed  committee substitute  (CS)  that  addresses                                                               
forthcoming amendments.   He suggested that  meanwhile Mr. Mylius                                                               
could seek clarification as to whether Indian Creek is included.                                                                
CO-CHAIR  SCALZI  invited  testifiers  to fax  testimony  to  his                                                               
office.   He then  asked whether anyone  else wished  to testify;                                                               
there was no response.                                                                                                          
Number 2593                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked what the  makeup of the KRSMA board is                                                               
currently, as far as what groups are represented.                                                                               
Number 2671                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  LANCASTER answered  that  there  are 17  members,                                                               
representing the private sector;  landowners; all of the agencies                                                               
that  have control  or  law-abiding authority  in  the area;  the                                                               
borough;  both  cities,  Kenai  and  Soldotna;  and  both  Cooper                                                               
Landing and Moose Pass.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  GREEN  expressed  concern  that  the  bill  would                                                               
exclude mineral exploration, except  for oil and gas development,                                                               
on the last page.  He  asked whether it would exclude any beetle-                                                               
killed  tree   removal,  for  example,  which   would  have  been                                                               
possible, under current operations, more than 50 feet back.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE LANCASTER said no, it doesn't.  He added:                                                                        
     In fact,  your [co-chair] introduced a  bill, before he                                                                    
     got  off the  Kenai Peninsula  Borough, that  delegates                                                                    
     authority if  they go and  mark from ...  what's called                                                                    
     the "Kenai  one-stop shop" in  Soldotna, ... to  go out                                                                    
     and mark trees  in that 100-foot setback  zone that can                                                                    
     be taken if they are  beetle-killed or otherwise rot or                                                                    
     are dead.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  GREEN asked  how that  could be  done before  [HB
165] takes effect.                                                                                                              
Number 2725                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR SCALZI  answered that  anything in  "the KRSMA  area" is                                                               
still subject to  [oversight] by the Alaska Department  of Fish &                                                               
Game and the  DNR.  The KRSMA board is  actually a "guiding body"                                                               
for  lands that  end up  in this  collection of  properties.   He                                                               
     So we still  have to go through all the  agencies.  The                                                                    
     Kenai River  Center that Representative  Lancaster just                                                                    
     spoke to is the "one-stop  shop" where all the agencies                                                                    
     are involved, ... and if  somebody has a water issue, a                                                                    
     mining-rights issue,  a timber  issue that they  need -                                                                    
     if they want  to put a dock on the  river, if they want                                                                    
     to  have a  haul-out facility  - they  go to  the Kenai                                                                    
     River Center.  So, it's  made it easier for the public,                                                                    
     that they don't  have to go to three  or four different                                                                    
     agencies to get a permit; they do it at one place.                                                                         
     The  Kenai  River Center  also  has  ... excellent  GIS                                                                    
     [Geographic Information Systems]  mapping and photos of                                                                    
     every parcel  ... on  the river.  ... Once  these plans                                                                    
     are  put  into  the   Kenai  River  Special  Management                                                                    
     [Area], all  they do  is fall into  an overview  by the                                                                    
     (indisc.) body.                                                                                                            
Number 2780                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GREEN referred  to AS  41.21.508(b) and  said the                                                               
commissioner  may  adjust  the  boundaries  of  the  Kenai  River                                                               
Special Management Area "by adding  state-owned land and water on                                                               
his  own, right  now."   He asked  why additional  legislation is                                                               
needed in order to do that.                                                                                                     
Number 2815                                                                                                                     
MS. DEGERNES responded  that a statute, which she  believed to be                                                               
in Title  38, limits  the DNR  from administratively  adding more                                                               
than 640  acres to  the Division of  Parks &  Outdoor Recreation.                                                               
Since this  volume of land [under  HB 165] exceeds 640  acres, it                                                               
requires legislative approval.                                                                                                  
MS. DEGERNES,  in reply  to a question  by Co-Chair  Scalzi, said                                                               
she believed  he was correct  in describing the function  and the                                                               
advisory  capacity of  the KRSMA  board,  "accommodating all  the                                                               
issues,  whether   they  are  federal  [or]   state  issues,  but                                                               
primarily   to  give   the   Department   of  Natural   Resources                                                               
recommendations ... on our management  of the Kenai River Special                                                               
Management Area."                                                                                                               
MS.   DEGERNES  responded   to  Representative   Green's  earlier                                                               
question regarding how resource  development would be affected by                                                               
the designation:                                                                                                                
     We are  limited by  statute on what  kind of  things we                                                                    
     can  do ...  on these  lands  that become  part of  the                                                                    
     state parks system.  We  can ... conduct timber harvest                                                                    
     and timber removal, but generally,  ... it's to respond                                                                    
     to  a  public-safety   problem,  either  wildland  fire                                                                    
     concerns  ...   of  our  neighbors  or   wildland  fire                                                                    
     concerns  for park  visitors and  recreation users,  or                                                                    
     direct public-safety hazards.   But timber sales per se                                                                    
     would  probably   not  be   permitted  ...   under  our                                                                    
     authority for these park lands.                                                                                            
     But in the Cooper  Landing/Moose Pass area, ... there's                                                                    
     been some resource  development, resource extraction of                                                                    
     some of the  beetle-kill.  But there's an  awful lot of                                                                    
     trees that don't [generate] a  lot of interest, either,                                                                    
     because of the  decline in the quality  of that timber.                                                                    
     So, ... I  would say, honestly, there will be  a lot of                                                                    
     beetle-kill trees  on these  KRSMA lands  that probably                                                                    
     won't be removed - whether  it's KRSMA or not - because                                                                    
     of  the ...  low economic  value of  that timber  right                                                                    
Number 2916                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN,  noting the  number of  dead trees  and the                                                               
lack of  access for the  whole area, asked whether  leaving those                                                               
snags would create a public-safety hazard.                                                                                      
MS.  DEGERNES answered  that  the U.S.  Forest  Service has  done                                                               
quite a  bit of work  in both the  Cooper Landing and  Moose Pass                                                               
communities - beginning  in the early '90s in  Cooper Landing and                                                               
more  recently in  Moose Pass  - to  identify some  public-safety                                                               
issues and  to develop  areas on either  side of  the communities                                                               
where  timber  has to  be  removed  for fire-protection  buffers.                                                               
That   [work]  really   isn't  affected   by  these   KRSMA  land                                                               
designations.  Nobody in the  [communities] has addressed this as                                                               
a problem, she said; however,  she thinks that if it's identified                                                               
that a big  pocket of flammable trees "that happens  to be KRSMA"                                                               
needs  to be  removed in  order to  protect the  communities, "we                                                               
have the  authority to work on  doing that."  She  noted that for                                                               
other  state park  areas on  the Kenai  Peninsula, [the  DNR] has                                                               
been actively working with the borough.                                                                                         
TAPE 01-22, SIDE B                                                                                                              
Number 2995                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN expressed  concern about further restriction                                                               
of areas.   He asked whether the committee had  heard from guides                                                               
- and  other users of  the river areas  - about what  effect this                                                               
might have.                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  LANCASTER answered  that the  guides, as  well as                                                               
the fly fishers,  are [represented] on the KRSMA  board, which he                                                               
had neglected  to mention  earlier.  They  have been  involved in                                                               
the entire  process.  In  response to further questions,  he said                                                               
there   are   340  guides   on   the   river  now,   and   [their                                                               
representative] has one  vote on the board.  He  noted that there                                                               
is a resolution from the board [in favor of HB 165].                                                                            
CO-CHAIR SCALZI suggested that perhaps  after the proposed CS was                                                               
prepared,  some  of  Representative Green's  questions  could  be                                                               
fleshed out a little more before the next hearing.                                                                              
Number 2913                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CHENAULT  commented that  he is  somewhat familiar                                                               
with  the Chugach  [National] Forest  around Crescent  Lake.   He                                                               
asked,  with regard  to  these land  selections,  what the  DNR's                                                               
position  is regarding  through-access  for snow  machine use  or                                                               
other uses of the [Chugach National Forest].                                                                                    
MS. DEGERNES answered  that [the DNR] would have to  go through a                                                               
management plan amendment  in order to designate  how these lands                                                               
would be used.   In general, snow machine use  has been permitted                                                               
in the KRSMA, "just by  practice."  However, all-terrain vehicles                                                               
have not  been permitted nor have  "taken off ... as  an activity                                                               
or use  or demand."  Ms.  Degernes said she anticipates  that the                                                               
management plan would allow snow  machine use on Upper Trail Lake                                                               
and Lower Trail Lake to continue as  it has in the past.  Most of                                                               
the  other areas  are  fairly heavily  timbered,  she noted,  and                                                               
there  hasn't been  any real  interest on  the part  of the  snow                                                               
machine community to use some  of those stream corridors or other                                                               
lands, because there are easier places to go.                                                                                   
Number 2838                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR SCALZI asked  whether there were further  questions.  He                                                               
then indicated  HB 165  would be  held for  further consideration                                                               
and a future proposed CS.  [HB 165 was held over.]                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects