Cherished Beaches Threatened
By Ardath Piston
November 17, 2006
Coast Guard Beach and South Point Higgins Beach (aka Driftwood
Beach) are beloved places for Ketchikan residents; they are extremely
unique and important to the community as they are basically the
last non-developed beachfront in the area. Located near North
Point Higgins Elementary School, the Coast Guard beach has long
been used as an outdoor classroom for elementary students, the
Boy Scouts, the yearly "Toughies" campout and survival
training, and Schoenbar Environmental Education classes. Both
beaches are used for beachcombing, walking dogs, family camping,
hiking, picnicking, wildlife viewing, collection of edible and
medicinal plants, clam digging, and kayaking. The Beaches have
historical value for the Ketchikan community, as many residents
have intergeneration family memories of enjoying the public space.
What many community members don't know is that Coast Guard Beach
and South Point Higgins beaches are not public land and are currently
threatened by development. The Alaska Mental Health Land trust
(MHLT) owns the land. MHLT is seeking rezoning of the land through
the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. The lands are currently zoned
Public Lands and Institute (PLI), but MHLT is pursuing "zoning
classification of the Parcel that provides the greatest degree
of flexibility in order to create a master plan development that
includes a range of lot sizes and housing unit densities".
Concerned community members are meeting on December 3 to discuss
strategies to keep the land for future community access and use.
For more information feel free to contact me. We welcome all
community members to participate.
Received November 17, 2006 - Published November 17, 2006
About: "15 year Ketchikan resident, business owner, daily
user of Coast Guard Beach, and concerned citizen."
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
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