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PUBLISHED: 1:15 PM on Wednesday, November 1, 2006
Public comment extended on Cowee Creek pending land swap, public fishing access

Lee Leschper photo
  A land exchange that could affect access to some parts of Cowee Creek is drawing comment and concern from local anglers, who say the creek is the most popular and accessible fishery on the Juneau Road System. Here visiting anglers John and Joyce Thompson battle salmon in the creek last summer. Public comment is open on the land exchange until Nov. 10.
Local fishermen are watching with concern the future of access to the most popular stream available to Juneau anglers.

There's a pending land exchange that will affect land on both sides of Cowee Creek, near the end of the Juneau road system. Cowee is one of the most fished public waters in this region, because it provides easy access to shoreline anglers, especially fly fishermen, throughout the summer. There are strong runs of pink and chum salmon early in the summer, silvers in the fall, and Dolly Vardens all summer.

There's also the real likelihood of seeing a bear or two along the creek while fishing.

The land swap is about 40 acres, to be exchanged between the Department of Natural Resources and Echo Ranch Bible Camp.

The key question is whether ERBC will continue to allow public access on the sections it is receiving. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has expressed concerns about access not been part of the agreement. And representatives of ERBC have not committed to providing access.

The comment period has been extended only until Nov. 10, from an original expiration last Friday, because the Juneau chapter of Trout Unlimited made a strong appeal that the public needed more time.

Public notice on the exchange is online at: http://notes5.state.ak.us/pn/pubnotic.nsf/0/63882c835901d8f5892571f40061352a?opendocument.

The public is welcome to comment on the land swap, by mail to: Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, 400 Willoughby Ave, POB 111071, Juneau, AK 99811-1071; by fax to 907-465-5330; or by email to: Mike_Eberhardt@dnr.state.ad.us..


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