The National Park Service and the state are starting to collect public comments on the Glacier Bay compensation program.
Congress appropriated $23 million to mitigate the economic impacts of recent rules that restrict commercial fishing in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.
Legislation in 1998 closed commercial fishing in wilderness waters and some nonwilderness waters in Glacier Bay. It also will phase out commercial fishing in the bay as lifetime permit holders retire from the salmon, halibut and Tanner crab fisheries.
Beginning Sunday and Monday with an informal open house in Juneau, the Park Service and the state will ask fishermen, processors, other affected parties and local residents what an equitable compensation program should be.
Participants may also submit formal written or verbal comments for the public record.
The Juneau open house is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday in Room 204 at the Goldbelt Hotel.
Other open houses are scheduled for Haines on Jan. 21, Gustavus on Jan. 27, Pelican on Jan. 28, Hoonah on Jan. 29, Wrangell on Jan. 31, Petersburg on Feb. 1, and Sitka on Feb. 15 to 16.
The Park Service has hired the McDowell Group of Juneau to analyze the economic effects of the fishing restrictions. The agency also hired Resolve, a nonprofit mediation organization, to design a public involvement process for developing the compensation program. Resolve, of Washington, D.C., and Portland, Ore., is assisted by Sheinberg Associates of Juneau.
Resolve has recommended that a public consulting group be established to advise the Park Service. It would have representatives of fishermen, local communities, Native organizations, fish processors and other businesses.
Nominating forms will be available at the open houses, or can be obtained by calling the Park Service at 586-7027 or e-mailing Resolve at firstname.lastname@example.org.