By Eric Muench
January 13, 2011
The reasons for doing so are many and historical. The property and beach have been used for recreation, subsistence gathering, and education almost forever. For 35 years the Borough's Comprehensive Plan and Coastal Zone Management Plans have called for preserving the property for those uses. Comprehensive Plan Goals 102 and 104 call for open space acquisition, mentioning the Coast Guard Beach specifically, while Goals 204 and 901 call for increasing general and handicapped public access to beaches and recreation areas, which the Ketchikan Beaches Association's Community Vision (accessible at www.ketchikanbeaches.org) would do with ongoing and future projects. The Coastal Zone Management Plan echoes those calls with Enforceable Policies RCA-1 and RCA-5, for which Coast Guard Beach parcel is a mapped and named designated area for recreation and shoreline access.
Accomplishing permanent public use will take many years so we should get started quickly.
The Borough's leadership is required. Acquisition can be by many routes, including several that do not involve Borough cash purchase. There are federal, State and private foundation programs that were created to fund acquisition of land for such purposes as open space retention, recreation access and wildlife habitat, all of which the Coast Guard Beach property would provide. The Borough Assembly will consider a resolution at its January 17 meeting that also explores other avenues for public ownership.
To benefit the public and honor its obligation to the Trust, the Assembly is encouraged to work with local interest groups and to support, by whatever means are most promising, the goal of public ownership of this most favored shoreline land.
About: "I am a long time area resident who is interested in preserving the public's access to valuable resource lands "
Received January 12, 2010 - Published January 13, 2011
Viewpoints - Opinion Letters:
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
Your full name, city and state are required for letter publication.