New management plan for Kachemak Bay State Park adopted and then rescinded

Kachemak Bay – Photo by Shady Grove Oliver/KBBI

The Department of Natural Resources adopted a new management plan for Kachemak Bay State and Wilderness parks earlier this month without an announcement. But the new commissioner of the department rescinded the plan Friday.

The draft management plan, which has been in the works for roughly seven years, will shape recreation and commercial uses in both parks as well as state recreation sites on the southern Kenai Peninsula.

Residents were able to comment on the draft this fall, and the document was due for one more round of public comments. But now former DNR Commissioner Andy Mack signed off on the plan abruptly Sunday, just one day before Gov. Mike Dunleavy was sworn in.

The new commissioner under the Dunleavy administration, Corri Feige, rescinded Mack’s actions.

DNR spokesperson Monica Alvarez says she doesn’t know the reason why Mack signed off on the plan.

“Our offices were closed and remained closed through Tuesday of this week due to the earthquake,” she said. “So we weren’t really alerted or able to notice that action.”

Feige announced that she is reinstating the park management plan from 1995.  Alvarez says DNR will continue to review and respond to comments on the draft plan and the department will present a list of recommended revisions to the public. Alaskans will have a chance to comment on those revisions before the final plan is implemented.

“We got quite a lot of comments and so we are really still processing all that information and I suspect it will take us quite some time,” she said. “We do have a new administration and they may have different ideas about some of the issues that were raised, so we’ll have to work through things and with our other agencies as well, like Fish and Game to kind of work through the issues and be able to deliver that new version of the plan.”

Alvarez says DNR does not know when it will release the proposed final plan.