John and Yvonne Ketelle of Homer pose with one of the two king salmon caught on their boat, Circus Circus, at the weigh-in station during the Anchor Point Calcutta on Sunday, May 12, 2019 in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Photo by Delcenia Cosman)

John and Yvonne Ketelle of Homer pose with one of the two king salmon caught on their boat, Circus Circus, at the weigh-in station during the Anchor Point Calcutta on Sunday, May 12, 2019 in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Photo by Delcenia Cosman)

New board reinvigorates Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce

Calcutta King Salmon Derby scheduled for May

A new board of directors is at the helm of the Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce and is renewing a focus on promoting the areas local businesses and recreation opportunities.

The chamber building closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, while talks began toward the end of last summer about whether to close the chamber down. That’s according to new Board President Dawson Slaughter. He described a group of people coming together who were willing to continue running the chamber, and the new board was installed around November 2020, he said.

“It’s been a big challenge, but it’s been a lot of fun to,” he said of the transition.

The new board has created a new Facebook page for the chamber, and is continuing to work on catching up after the building was closed for the better part of a year. The visitor center remains closed, but Slaughter said the board hopes to get it staffed with volunteers this summer in time for tourists.

Perhaps the biggest change some local businesses will see is that the boundaries of the Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce have changed. Slaughter said that, previously, businesses from outside Anchor Point would also become members. Now, the chamber will limit membership to the immediate area.

The goal is to focus more on the community of Anchor Point and what it has to offer.

“Our area of course, just like any other place, is mainly (focused) on fishing,” Slaughter said.

But there are other opportunities in Anchor Point he thinks can draw visitors in, like recreational ATV trails and camping. Especially if there end up being emergency closures that impact the fishing season, Slaughter said the chamber will shift focus to other ways of getting people to Anchor Point.

The Fourth of July and Memorial Day are always big weekends in Anchor Point for camping and recreation, and Slaughter said the chamber will try to capitalize on those opportunities to funnel more business to local eateries and stores.

Beyond attracting visitors, Slaughter said the chamber will seek to help organize and publicize community events and meetings, as well as act as a public information source. One example of that is the upcoming replacement of the Anchor River Bridge by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Another is ongoing oil and gas exploration in the area. Slaughter said the chamber can be active in hosting community forums where people can ask questions about this work, as well as communicating any potential impacts to local businesses.

One example of how the chamber hopes to make Anchor Point more of a destination is the upcoming Calcutta King Salmon Derby. Any angler who opts for lodging in Anchor Point or shows proof of launching with Anchor Point Tractor Launch will get $20 back from their registration fee.

Now in its 26th year, the tournament is scheduled for May 14 and 15. The derby was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Registration is $100 per angler, which Slaughter said is up from $75 in previous years. There will be prizes for first, second and third place in the tournament, as well as a prize for the average weight fish. The derby also boasts side bets of $50, $150 and $200 with a 60/40 split. Additionally, the top youth angler will win $250, sponsored by Coastal Realty.

If weather turns bad and doesn’t permit fishing on the scheduled day, Slaughter said anglers are asked to stick around and the fishing will get moved to Sunday. If weather is bad the whole weekend, the tournament will be moved to the following weekend and refunds will be issued to anglers who cannot make it back at that time.

The first day of the tournament is reserved for a dinner and auction at the Anchor Point VFW Post 10221. Anglers can register their boats for the auction, and the winner gets a 50/50 split of the winnings with the chamber.

For more information, visit anchorpointchamber.org.

The new Anchor Point Chamber Board of Directors is as follows:

Dawson Slaughter – president

Emmitt Trimble – vice president

Randy Beller – treasurer

Lisa Hanson – secretary

Lauren Isenhour – director

Jeff Hunt – director

Tom Clark -director

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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