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EDITOR, Daily News:
I am writing as the chairman of the Waterfall Foundation, an entity whose entire mission is to raise money for breast cancer care in Alaska and extend funding to our local cancer coalitions and hospitals. We raise money for the Breast Cancer Detection Center in Fairbanks and help with the operation of a mobile unit which services outlying areas in our state. To date, we have donated over $8 million to health organizations, and no monies are sent out of state.
In order to fund our cause, Waterfall Foundation has had a “fishing for charity” event for the past 26 years at Waterfall Resort near Ketchikan. Most of our 92 guests come from outside Alaska to participate.
Last year, approximately two days before our annual event in August, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game placed a closure on king salmon fishing in areas of Southeast, including the Waterfall Resort area. Disappointing to many of our guests, but they did accept the closure for the escapement process. This year, the department instituted a “catch and release” for kings on nonresidents, and a one-a-day limit on residents. This year was the biggest king salmon run in the area in our 26 years! While fishing for silvers, the nonresidents were hooking 10-12 kings a day, only to have to release them all. Then to our surprise and dismay, the ban was lifted just two days after our event, which concluded on Aug. 13.
My group works hard to fill 92 spots on our fishing event. This on and off business makes some of our guests wonder if they should bother to donate to our charity if they can’t bring home their catch. As a born and reared Alaskan, I understand the need for escapement of the species, but I do suggest that the department does better research for your policies. Charities in our state are losing money and closing doors because of the lack of state funding. Please don’t add to the burden.