Story last updated at 6:41 p.m. Thursday, December 26, 2002

CRPC influence dangerous
On Dec. 17, the Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted unanimously to object to the Community Rivers Planning Coalition's use of 30 percent of commercial operators' fees being spent on a CRPC-approved "environmental education" program that CRPC will initiate in cooperation with a seasonal Alaska Division of Parks employee.

While graciously offering to consider chamber of commerce input, Jack Blackwell, the new Parks ranger, refused to include any other nonprofit entity control or oversight authority of this environmental educational service. Instead, the chamber, and all other community organizations as well, was relegated to the role of observer. Thus, there will be absolutely no form of ideological checks and balances available for the residents of the Anchor River area.

This is the first step toward losing control of the Anchor River drainage to CRPC's environmental dogma. CRPC has begun its campaign to control the Anchor River watershed with this most recent attempt to gain a small foothold in the park with their "environmental education" program.

The next step, which has already happened, will be for CRPC to solicit the Parks department for privatizing the Anchor River park by turning over the administration and financing of the Anchor River Park to prevent its "inevitable" closing. Once this happens, CRPC will be in total control of the environmental philosophy in regards to the Anchor River.

This influence will inevitably and quickly spread to the entire Anchor River watershed. The first casualty will be the boat-launch service.

The next casualties will include restricted access to the river for fishermen, the use of the river for boat launching, camping at the mouth of the river, increased and more restrictive building ordinances for those developing upstream riverfront properties and restrictions and closures to ATV use in the upper reaches of the drainage. CRPC is quick to acknowledge that they desire community input. They go out of their way to provide "forums" for public comment and suggestions.

In the end, however, they do things the way that they had always planned. All one needs to remember is how they handled the gravel-pit issue.

Doug Ruzicka, Anchor Point

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