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ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Department of Natural Resources is backing away from a planned freeze on the number of Kenai River fishing guides.
The department said it was responding to businesses that filed suit against the proposed two-year moratorium on new permits.
"Under a stipulation agreed to by all parties, the lawsuits are dismissed, and DNR will complete a public-use impact study on the Kenai River before proposing any further administrative action to restrict the number of guide permits issued within the Kenai River State Management Area," the agency said in a press release.
Pete Panarese, acting director of the state Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, said he had no idea when a study might begin.
The division still believes a cap on the number of guides allowed to operate on the Kenai River is a good idea, but it has pledged not to impose one until a study determines a fair number, Panarese said. The cap proposed by former State Parks Director Jim Stratton would have prevented permits from being sold to new guides starting this year.
That idea was generally supported by existing guides but opposed by lodges worried about access to guides and potential increases in guide fees.