A new Kenai Peninsula land deal guarantees public access to a popular fishing destination on the Anchor River.
This month, The Nature Conservancy transferred 75 acres at the mouth of the Anchor River to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources for the benefit of long-term habitat management. The area has a devoted following among king salmon and steelhead anglers in Southcentral Alaska.
“This move is absolutely the right thing to do,” said Lynn Whitmore, a local fishing legend and resident of Anchor River. “This is truly a special river, a special piece of land, and a special place to fish for kings. Fishermen are happy to see it publicly-owned and protected from here on.”
Since purchasing the land in 2009, the Conservancy and other conservation partners have worked with the state to acquire private and federal funds that allowed it to purchase these habitat parcels at cost.
While the privately-owned area was previously accessible , that public access was never guaranteed. Now, the land will be managed for habitat and recreation by Alaska DNR.
“This lands transfer is a big victory for all Alaskans,” said Randy Hagenstein, director of The Nature Conservancy in Alaska. “The mouth of the Anchor River has been a treasured fishing hot spot for decades, and has served as vital rearing habitat for salmon and steelhead for thousands of years. Public ownership of this land will guarantee access for all Alaskans for decades to come.”
“This project wouldn’t have been possible without the support from many groups and individuals who care deeply about the long-term health of salmon runs in the Anchor River,” said Marie McCarty, executive director of the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust. “Our community extends a huge thank you to Ducks Unlimited, Clark & Barbara Springer, Wildlife Forever, and all of the local fishermen who walked the banks of the river collecting donations to make this dream a reality.”
Other funding for the project came in the form of a National Coastal Wetlands grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as grant matching funds received from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
The Nature Conservancy in Alaska
Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources
Director, Kachemak Heritage Land Trust
Local Resident and Fishing Legend