Kenai Peninsula gets 'Rural' Designation: 2000

U.S. Fish and Wildlife: " On May 4th, the Federal Subsistence Board decided that all communities on the Kenai Peninsula are rural for purposes of administering the subsistence priority required by Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. ANILCA requires that a priority be granted to rural Alaska residents for the harvest of fish and wildlife on federal lands and waters in Alaska.

The Board's rural decision only determines who is eligible for the subsistence priority. It does not immediately change the way people hunt and fish on the Kenai Peninsula. For example, current federal subsistence hunting regulations only allow the residents of Ninilchik, Nanwalek, Port Graham, and Seldovia to harvest moose on Federal lands in Unit 15. Subsistence fishing for salmon, trout, char, grayling, burbot, and Dolly Varden on the Kenai Peninsula is not allowed under existing federal subsistence fishing regulations. These harvest regulations are not expected to change until next year, after the annual regulatory cycles for hunting and fishing regulations.

This Board decision resulted from a 1998 petition from the Kenaitze Indian Tribe. Federal regulations require a statewide review of rural determinations every 10 years. The Board decided on an earlier review of the Kenai Peninsula communities when the Kenaitze Tribe provided additional information. This new information pointed to apparent inconsistencies in the way the original 1990 rural determinations were made. The Board's action follows the publication of a proposed rule in February 2000; a public comment period; a public hearing in Kenai, Alaska, on March 1, 2000; the Southcentral Regional Advisory Council's recommended support for the Kenaitze petition; and the Board's eventual decision."

Dick and Mary Bishop: "Federal Subsistence Board rules that all the Kenai is rural. That does not mean all residents have priority as c & t users; that's a second determination by the Federal Subsistence Board. It's also worth taking a look at the Federal Subsistence Board's hunting reg book. The first ten pages or so detail how they make regulations, where non-rural areas are located, what they look into to determine whether or not there is priority use, etc. Note: shortage or need of the resource are not criteria."



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