January 17, 2013 | Volume 43, No.2

State abandons 25 Mile boat launch

The State of Alaska has abandoned plans to create a new river access point near 25 Mile Haines Highway.

The state Department of Transportation, Department of Natural Resources and Department of Fish and Game had proposed the plan in 2011 that would have eliminated a current put-in site that crosses a fish stream and sometimes puts boat trailers in a salmon-spawning channel nearby.

The idea was to do the work in conjunction with replacement of Wells Bridge. “People are launching boats into a spawning channel. That’s illegal and we have to find ways to stop that behavior. One of the ways is to build a new river access,” regional state parks director Mike Eberhardt said at the time.

Eberhardt said this week that strong opposition, including from Klukwan, halted the idea, although there was money for the job.

Villagers said they feared the new site would increase boat traffic and push aside Native use. Commercial users were divided on the plan, which would have created a new launch site about one third as far from Wells as the existing site. Some suggested improved access sites at locations east of the existing one.

“It turned into a bigger issue than we were able to take care of at this time,” Eberhardt said last week.