Opposing protection of common resources just doesn’t make sense

We’re concerned about the recent flood of brochures by a Chicago-based organization, the National Association of Realtors, one of the wealthiest special interest groups in the nation.  According to this mailer, we are asked to oppose salmon habitat protections in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.  

But opposing protection of these vital common resources doesn’t make sense, especially coming from an organization out of Chicago, where the Chicago River is nearly dead.  What does this group know of healthy streams and habitats and how important these are to property owners and those who depend on healthy waters? It obviously doesn’t know that healthy streams and rivers enhance property values, not degrade them (as they maintain in their brochure). Everyone using the waters and everyone living along the waters has a deep abiding interest in insuring their protection.

This isn’t an issue of individual rights versus community rights, as has been said, because these are one and the same. Our private individual rights (and property values) are protected when community acts to protect a common resource, the rivers and streams along which our properties lie.

We Alaskans love our salmon and the salmon need healthy habitats to thrive.  Only Alaskans know deep in their hearts the value of all this and only Alaskans can work this out.

On June 18 this debate will continue in the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly when it takes testimony on efforts to repeal the 50-foot salmon protection areas now in place for our salmon streams and lakes. Please support retention of this important protection measure by either testifying in person or sending a quick note to the borough clerk’s office (jblankenship@borough.kenai.ak.us) to voice your views to the assembly.

Mike Hawfield and Beth Graber