Check the facts on eagle preserve

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, May 07, 2004

In reading the guest column by ex-governor Hammond in the May 3 edition, I came upon some very misleading so-called facts. First, the eagles do not become habituated to being fed herring. When there is an adequate food supply they will completely ignore thrown herring. An area biologist did not make that statement. A study of the eagles in the preserve by biologist Angie Hodson determined that there was an increase in the survival of eaglets in the nests where the eagles were fed.

Secondly, River Adventures, which Mr. Hammond refers to but doesn't mention, welcomed a study by Dr. Hill to determine the amount of river bank erosion caused by the jet boat wake versus the natural erosion caused by rising and falling of the river. After two years of study no determination has been reached. Also, the study of the Kenai River he refers to eventually rescinded the 35 horsepower rule as it was determined after further study that the smaller motors on jet boats caused bigger wakes. Check the facts.

Thirdly, Mr. Hammond fails to explain the record fish returns of the last few years, including this year's larger-than-average king salmon return in the area where the radical environmentalists, now joined by Mr. Hammond, have been pushing the ban on the jet boat tours.

Fourthly, those of us who believe in our constitution's mandate that resources be managed for the maximum benefit of all Alaskans should urge the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Department of Natural Resources to continue to permit River Adventures to operate as it creates jobs, which the community of Haines and the state of Alaska sorely need. Until it is scientifically proven that River Adventures is doing harm, I would suggest that Mr. Hammond and others mind their own business and get their facts straight before resorting to scare tactics and innuendo to try and harm others.

Gary E. Hess


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