Who done it?


Kasilof parking lot/Facebook

Fisher folk are being blamed for a Kenai Peninsula parking lot mess that created such a social-media firestorm that state Sen. Peter Micciche, a former Republican gubernatorial prospect, Tuesday decided to ride to the rescue.

On his Facebook page, Micciche called out the Alaska Department of Natural Resources for an “absolute lack of adequate service” at the state’s Kasilof River Personal Use Area and then blasted those who fish the river for salmon.

“Alaskans (including any locals that may have contributed to this mess), the Kenai is not your dumping ground,” he wrote. “Although we appreciate your desire to come down to harvest this amazing state resource, (we) expect you to honor and respect where we live.”

Exactly who put what in the dumpsters in the parking lot north of the Kasilof is unclear. A widely shared photo of the scene shows overflowing bins and 55-gallon garbage bags stuffed with trash next to them in the lot managed by DNR’s Division of Mining, Land and Water.

Some of the bags would appear to hold more garbage than most fishermen or women would generate over a weekend, and it is not unknown for Alaskans to dispose of their home trash in state dumpsters.

But the photo fanned the passions of those Peninsula residents who view other Alaskans as invaders in a private, outdoor-recreation playground.

“I always appreciate that you grab the bull by the horns and DO what you can to address situations,” a woman identifying as Leah Jackson wrote on Micciche’s page. “Now, can we please stop all of Anchorage from coming to Kenai and doing this to our beach also?”

It was unclear which Cook Inlet beach she was referencing, but the mess in question was wrongly identified as a Kenai River parking area near the Kenai beach when it popped up Monday on the Facebook page of reality TV actor Eivin Kilcher from Homer. 


Kilcher’s post was promptly shared hundreds of times though it made little to no sense. The Kenai River’s personal-use, dipnet fishery – which attracts hundreds of people per day at its height – doesn’t open until Friday.

And though sockeye salmon are now entering the Kenai, their numbers are so low that it isn’t worth fishing with rod and reel at the mouth of the river. When there are no fish to be caught, so few people camp at the mouth of the Kenai that they probably couldn’t fill a single dumpster.

Kenai city webcams that overlook the mouth of the river showed almost no one there on the weekend and into the start of the new week.

The Kasilof, which had more fish, was reported to be busy over the weekend. And there were those commenting on Kilcher’s page who noted that some people there appeared to have tried to do the right thing and leave their trash bagged and near the dumpster. Micciche blasted them for their ignorance.

“If a dumpster is full and the lids no longer close, pack it out!” he wrote. “If you don’t bears, ravens and gulls will spread the trash everywhere, and it will end up on the beach or in our yards. There is a landfill on your way back north just a few miles up the Sterling Highway.”

(Editor’s note: Whether open or closed, the lids on the dumpsters in the photo wouldn’t slow even the littlest bear for a nanosecond. Closed, plastic lids will, however, deter ravens, magpies and gulls.)

The Central Peninsula Landfill is at Mile 98.5 of the Sterling, about 10 miles north of Kasilof. Micciche did not offer any dump advice for those headed south on the Sterling toward Clam Gulch, Ninilchik, Anchor Point or Homer.

He also suggested some people were releaving themselves in the worst way in the parking lot.

“Also, please use the porta-potties,” Micciche wrote. “Defecating on the beach or on the ground in the porta-potty area is unacceptable. Most of us were raised to know better and we respectfully request that you respect our natural resources, our homes and our community.”

His comments appeared to be widely and well-received by his constituents. Some examples;




A fishery limited to Alaska residents, dipnetting is exactly what it sounds like. When the salmon are running thick, Alaskans journey to the banks of the turbid Kenai and Kasilof rivers to dip the fish out of the water with nets up to five-feet in diameter.

dipnet diameter

The most visible group of Alaskans fishing for food to fill their freezers – “food security” as it is now sometimes called – dipnetters are generally unpopular among Kenai commercial fishermen who view them as competition for the resource.

Harvests are limited to 25 salmon per household with 10 additional for each extra household member. Some commercial fishermen believe the limits are too high.

Twenty to 28,000 dipnetters annually harvest an eight to a ninth as many salmon as the Inlet’s 1,100 permitted commercial fishermen. The commercial fishery mainly happens out of public views.

The dipnet fishery is very visible, and unthinking or uncaring dipnetters reguarly give their critics ample ammunition to fuel the fire that burns along the Anchorage-Kenai divide though there is no real evidence one group is any better, or worse, than the other.

It should, however, be noted the north Kenai dipnet beach does not experience the problems seen in the Kasilof photo. The City of Kenai charges a $20 fee to use that beach. The fee covers the cost of policing and maintaining the area and in most years earns the city a profit.

The dumpsters are emptied anytime they approach full, and the port-a-potties are well maintained.



32 replies »

  1. Steve o , commercial sett netting starts june 20 roughly 1/3 mile up beach from dumpsters . Closed if they dont get enough fish in kasilof river. I doubt it was commercial mostly at fault. I just disagree with pointing fingers in this era without proofs – thats to much like our current political cultural situation. Proximity doesn’t cut it .

    • Was the commercial fleet open during the weekend in question? They aren’t typically open during the weekend as far as I know. I’m not pointing fingers at any group, I’m say whoever did it is worth less than the trash they left. I have yet to hear any convincing argument that it was any one but dipnetters. Convince me that a group of soccer hooligans from England did it using some kind of proof and I will get on board with you, but it happened during the 4th of July weekend in an area set up for personal use (dipnet) fishermen and the trash looks mostly like disposable items one would use over a long weekend. If there was a commercial opener and the commercial guys all decided to dump their trash there, or the locals joined together to dump their trash their then it seems the burden of proof is on those who claim such. Some times Occam’s Razor proves true, other times soccer hooligans from England sneak in to the equation.

      • Steve o, you have chosen a strange hill to die on . First occams razar is very failble especially when applied to non mathematical problems. Life is not simple ever and the simple answer is rarely comprehensive. Therefore inaccurate. Occams raxor should be used with a grain of salt. Second i will say your hypothesis could easily be correct but its fools folly to assume it because it either happened or it did not . Third your assumption that disposable trash only indicates dipnetters is fallacy and foolish for a person of your mental magnitude. There is all types of trash in that dumpster of surprising variety. Dippers don’t usually use take out in my past experience be that here or there because times change and who knows. 4th your near complete dismissal of other ideas or possibilities as potential argument is a tunnel vision method that reduces the odds of correctness especially without hard proof – you didn’t inspect and catalogue all trash . 5th your statement commercial fish doesn’t operate during weekends isn’t always accurate but mostly has little bearing on the situation because there are no time lapse pictures of when the trash was dumped before or during weekend and its highly unlikely dippers produced that much trash to overflowing on soley Saturday and Sunday. ( its a truly significant amount of trash ) odds are against your weekend assumption. I could go on but I won’t bore you as I consider you of high intellect and value your thoughts surprisingly much and think I would be quite intrested in your high value thoughts on a more provable stimulating topic without grasping at straws.

      • DPR,

        I haven’t chosen to die upon this hill, not by any means. I’m simply exploring the possibilities of where this trash might have come from. I haven’t dismissed any single group, simply pointed out simple basic facts. I have no vested interest in this matter, other than that of an Alaskan who cares about my commonly shared resource and the access to it. I am not a commercial fisherman, although I have previously been one. I am not a personal use fisherman, although I have previously been one. I don’t even live in the community where this dastardly deed occurred, although I have been there. You on the other hand seem to very much have a vested interest and it appears your opinion is very much skewed by that interest, understandably so.

        After a quick search, it looks like there was a commercial setnet opener on Thursday the 2nd from 7 am until 10 pm, another on Saturday the 4th from 10 am until 7 pm, and another on Monday the 6th from 11 am until 1159 pm. This trash event was reported following the July 4th weekend, so maybe the commercial guys all got together before they went out fishing and dumped their trash instead of getting ready to fish. Maybe the commercial folks dumped a bunch of trash after the opener on the 2nd, maybe they did the same on the 4th, and maybe other members of the sparsely populated and widespread Kasilof community ganged up to dump trash at the area in an effort to blame it all on people from Anchorage…or maybe, just maybe over the long holiday weekend some lazy asshats who happened to be dipnetting threw their trash on the ground next to an already full trash can. Some dipnetters across the state have been known to do such things…literally everywhere and every time dipnetting happens.

        I’m not dying on this hill, just pointing out the patently obvious. If you’ve never read the police or troopers reports during this time of year in these areas, do yourself a favor and do so, it really is eye opening. There are many, many, many, many, many, many scofflaws who do not give a shit about following the laws let alone where their trash ends up…most of them come from the population hub of the state partially by virtue of their sheer numbers, mostly due to their big city don’t give a shit ways.

        So far there has been absolutely zero proof of local Kasilof involvement in a grand conspiracy to paint personal use dipnetters from Anchorage as shitbags, if anything the fact that the Lake Louise campground was shutdown because of shitbags from somewhere else besides Lake Louise. All of the circumstantial evidence supports the notion that the stink is coming from the central stinking cesspool somewhere between Kasilof and Lake Louise known as Anchorage. This isn’t a court of law, but if you can prove the patently obvious wrong please, by all means do so.

      • Steve o , are you emotionally involved with the question at hand ? Feeling defensive? Perhaps considering character attack instead of fact based discussion? Did you have a bad day? Keep following your emotions, perhaps they will lead you to enlightenment. You most certainly must be 100% correct. You sir have convinced us . I yeild . 😉

      • DPR,

        Hahaha, that’s rich, and you are claiming that I am acting like a lefty…way too funny. You’ve pulled just about every lefty card out of the book on this one. Can’t defend the indefensible, blame somebody else. You have no proof, deflect. Can’t provide any basic evidence, change the subject. When all is lost, blame emotions and the person you disagree with.

        As I’ve said since my first post about this, this kind of nonsense is unexcusable, no matter who did it.

        Feel free to blame whoever you want, next time bring some kind of proof for those you are accusing instead of ignoring the literal mountain of evidence that suggest who is actually to blame.

      • Steve o What i find more interesting and educational than the trash pile is that such a simple mundane subject has invoked illogical mental behavior in an otherwise seemingly reasonable person. Your inability to see multiple points of view on such a simple subject and search for additional input beyond your own personal thought is truly fascinating. It definitely shines light on why there is such a current divide and polarization among Americans on complicated topics. You would be a good case study for analysis of someone who is smart and good but cant seek truth beyond their own world view . Fascinating! Study of Your mental disconnect and stiffness of thought could hold some keys to reconciliation of the divide in American society. Thank you for educating me 😊

      • Steve o, btw ive always thought the dippers were mostly to blame for the trash pile . Just because I think it , does not make it accurate. Therefore it’s important to entertain the distinct possibility others are to blame as well, especially when faced with lack of hard evidence. Such as Cameras, documents, eye witnesses, and other factual evidence. Circumstantial Evidence such as proximity to a large trash pile is inadequate to take the step of accusations. Thats a viral method of thinking that does society no benefit. To give a glaring example. Say man (a) is standing in the woods and separately man (b) dies 100 foot away . Should I accuse man (a) of killing man (b) ? Man (a) did carry a gun. What should i do ?

      • DPR,

        Attack me all you want, but you are railing against the wrong person. I bring facts to back up my points, and yet you attack me and accuse me of doing exactly what it is you are doing. When you find any information to back up your claims, please bring it forward. Until then please behave yourself and stop trying to make this about me, when it is about people who have no respect for our shared resource or our common spaces. Cleaning up after ourselves shouldn’t be the contentious issue you are making of it.

      • Steve o, out of curiosity i went to check the site on kasilof beach myself . I stayed the 11 and 12 of July weekend 2020 with a close Freind on tge beach . The Freind picked up a fair amount of trash on the beach and dunes . A white 20 gallon trash bag worth. Claiming there was lots more to find . Interestingly they also found a bag of poop in a trash bag buried in the sand . The beach was being fully utilized by dipnetters. A very large number camped on the beach and a full parking lot . Roughly 100 plus vehicles. Per discussions with dippers many stay about a full 24 hours some less and a few around a week. They were all having fun and providing nutrition for their families and valuable human experiences. I took pictures around the dumpsters. There was very little trash on the ground by the dumpsters. Very little. When I arrived on Saturday the dumpsters were basically empty. When i left on Sunday evening ,the dumpsters were aprx 1/4 full or less . I didn’t see dump trucks come but i may have missed that. The trash varied but there was definitely household trash mixed in . Including but not limited to kitty liter boxes. People utilizing the dumpsters were surprisingly varied. A few were seen coming down the hill from the main road system dumping and leaving apparently not connected to the fishing directly. Household trash was left. It appears steve stine may have been at least partially correct as to users . The dippers left less trash than expected but were primarily main users seen . Though my eyes weren’t on 24 -7 as i slept a few hours ect. A majority of dippers drove away without leaving anything in the dumpsters. So in short i saw evidence that whatever happened on the messy weekend in question ,isn’t simple and may involve a larger time frame than a weekend or a rogue dumper or dumpers . Unknown without a video camera. Another thought occurred and that was your depiction of the violating dumpers was extreme when you said they weren’t worth the trash they dumped. Dumping trash and making a mess is truly a despicable act and should elicit criminal charges perhaps. The question is where does it rank in the scheme of violations and could the dumpers be good people who might save your ass when you need help?

  2. Craig reports that the transfer station is 10 miles outside of town, so obviously lazy locals who did not wish to drive 15 mins and pay the borough fee dumped their trash here. It happens all over the place, which is why most businesses have their dumpsters locked all the time.

    • Trash service is paid for with property tax on the peninsula. The area in question isn’t outside of what passes for a town in Kasilof, it is where dipnetting occurs at the river. The trash cans and portapotties are there specifically for dipnetting season. The 10 miles is in reference to the landfill that is 10 miles away from Kasilof on the way towards Soldotna and Anchorage.

      Did anyone else read the actual article or was it just me?

      • Steve o ,Just You read it 😉Maybe you are right. People drive from Anchorage to bring their trash to kasilof beach and live like hoarders . We should definitely assume they are guilty before solid proof. Why waste time ? Besides its fun to be like left wingers. Point fingers first look like idiots later . Don’t worry I know you arnt that way 😊Btw those dumpsters and porta potties are there for set netting season and drift netting not just dip netting. Lots of dock / fish processing and drift boat folks and general kasilof kenai public beach users drive right by there . Proximity does not guarantee guilt though that would sure simplify the justice departments job . Where did i leave my brain today? Darn it !

      • DPR,

        You’re absolutely correct, we should assume that the dipnetters over the 4th of July weekend have nothing to do with it. Who said people drive from Anchorage to drop their trash in Kasilof? That’s just asinine. If a family of 4+ spends a 3 day weekend camping and dipnetting they will produce more than a grocery bag full of trash. You make a lot of assumptions based upon the picture in the article, where are all these pipes you mentioned? What are dipnets made out of? Is it possible the one pipe looking thing in the first trash can a broken dipnet? Why would you think people with rv’s don’t have large trash bags…strange assumption on your part, pretty sure they sell household trashbags to those who own rv’s. I see a lot of soda cans, water bottles, solo cups, take out food containers and bowls…you know stuff that the locals from Kasilof would drive out of their way to throw around the area used predominately by dipnetters. I’m not saying any specific group dumped all this trash, but the fact you wish to preclude a specific group is very telling. Next time you are in the dipnetting area take a walk into the wildrye and try not to kick the Charmin flowers and human waste.

        I would wager a good sum of money that the number of set netters and drifters who use the facilities in pictures above is somewhere between slim and none. But let’s suspend belief and try and turn this into a partisan issue where you call those you disagree with a lefty.

      • Steve o , just for entertainment i will discuss your statement. First i want to collect money on your wager . For your information i was a set netter this year at kasilof beach towards kenai and i used the facilities, both dumpster and toilet. I saw many do the same . Ive also seen other users than dippers utilize the facility’s. Like you ive got lots of sea experience so we both know fishermen are often a bit sloppy. Especially deck hands . Kasilof is not a high end fishery. Im not going to waste my time debunking the rest of your silliness though i will say i had no intention of calling you left wing. That was a misunderstanding on your part . I was needlessly pigeon holing left wingers for entertainment and to make a point because currently there are many who are un rightfully grouping a large percentage of Americans past and present into racist categories- guilt before factual proof ,utilizing weak standards at best to determine guilt. So I’m partially jokeing when i say you are acting similar to a left winger if you convict before proof . Though i also know you weren’t convicting , you were only implying. P.s if we ever meet you owe me a moose steak dinner with a side of rhubarb and goats milk. May the wind fill your sail and the tide take you where u wish !

      • Though i will admit I wasn’t in kasilof during the week in question 😉( i have witnesses and alibis) so im no more knowledgeable than the anyone else as to the facts in this particular case .

      • Steve O,
        Not everyone on the Peninsula gets a freeride on trash disposal.
        Their website says:
        “Fees are charged for commercial/business waste only…Private individuals are not charged.”
        Maybe all the small businesses are broke with the Governor’s health mandates that discourage tourism & they all got together and dumped their trash there over the weekend?
        Be glad that most trash disposal is free down there…up here in Willow it is like $2 bucks a bag and no freezers or washers are accepted at the transfer station so lazy locals will dump them at the end of a road in the middle of the night.
        Ultimately, all trash removal should take priority in Alaska over inflated budgets like local PD and state F&G.
        The problem with these dumpsters is that they were never hauled out when initially full, not that trash was left in the dumpster.
        It is stupid to even discuss this stuff while guys like Bill Gates and Dr. Fauci lead a bloodless coup in America under the guise of a new Coronavirus.

      • DPR,

        Just to clarify were you personal use setnetting or commercial setnetting, I forgot that there is personal use setnetting allowed in Kasilof. I was speaking about the commercial setnetters and not the personal use variety.

      • Steve,

        Those who pay property taxes for the trash service do not consider it to be free, since it costs money.

    • Kasilof has its own transfer station across from Tustumena Elementary School which most “lazy locals” know about. There are no fees for trash disposal for private individuals in the borough.

      • If Alan Boraas were still alive, he would lead a field trip to the trash bins for an archeological dig. What are we finding here? Fish carcasses? Or plastic crap left by 4th of July beach campers escaping Anchorage to party on the beach who saw the dumpsters full and left their (possibly bagged) trash on the ground only to have it get ripped apart by scavenging birds. Maybe they should post a sign on the beach directing people from Anchorage (and beyond) to the Kasilof transfer station. I know there’s a handmade sign where the road turns to dirt that says “pack it in, pack it out”. Probably made by one of those “lazy locals”. Ha.

      • It certainly wouldn’t hurt to put up a sign telling people that if the dumpsters are full, here or is where to take your trash. Or asking them, “If you’re visiting here from Anchorage and are headed home, please help us with our garbage removal problem by taking your trash with you and dropping it at the Kasilof transfer station.” A little map with the sign might help, too. I’d expect some would be surprised by the number of people cooperating. Most Alaskans AREN”T assholes, and the minority of those who are is – based on my observations – significantly higher over in the Copper Basin than on the Kenai Peninsula.

  3. It would probably be easy to see who is dumping the trash seen in the photo. Just go through a bit of it and there is likely to be identification found somewhere. It certainly does not seem it could be many dip netters from Anchorage since the season is not open yet. Senator Micciche should look toward his neighbors instead of those in Anchorage. But it is easy for the many Kenai folks who have connections to the commercial fishery to blame anyone from out of the area for their problems. Low harvest by them: blame the dip net fishery or the ADF&G or the Board of Fisheries. Anything but take personal responsibility for their over harvest of a finite resource. Senator Micciche, is a commercial fisherman and representative of that attitude.

    • Dipnetting opened on the Kasilof June 25, that’s where this occurred.

      This kind of nonsense is unexcusable, no matter who did it.

    • Of course it is the kasilof, not the kenai. Took a ride down there on the 4th. Every parking spot was taken,and vehicles were parked bumper to bumper on both sides of the road all the way from road end at the river to the bend in the road
      Not much doubt who created this disgusting mess.

      • Gunner, Much as I understand your disgust and respect your opinion a closer look is always required before jumping to conclusions. On first exam of the picture i see packaging boxes and metal pipes ect . A lot of very similar colored and shaped bags that is trash consistent with household debris and not what campers typically have on hand . A very first assumption would present the offer that an opportunist local land/ home owner who didn’t want to pay municipal landfill fees chose to take advantage of free dumping and utilized this easy access site to dump their winters garbage. Yet i have absolutely no guaranteed idea ir true opinion. I agree with Alaskans first that a first step is to sort through trash and determine identification and go from there . Most dipnetters would only produce roughly 1-2 bag of trash per fishing occurrence and thsts easily stored in their pickup until reaching an empty dumpster or garbage can. Thus i say odds are a desperate or irresponsible local dumper with a huge amount of trash helped cause this when combined with evidence of inadequate trash service. Great job Alaska First not falling into the typical culture of jumping to conclusions and falsely accusing anyone for anything without hard evidence and tedious research . A disease that currently runs rampant in humans minds . Dont fall for such foolishness. Minds that look like that dumpster utilize such diseased thinking- conclusion jumping.

      • Every commercial processor on the kenai and kasilof has dumpsters at the dock. Only a damn fool would unload catch, clean up and carry his garbage past the dumpster to his vehicle so he can drive over to the P.U.parking area and dump it.

      • Gunner what you said makes sense . Similar goes for beach campers . Their motorhomes and trailers have trash cans and their are trash cans all the way home .be odd for two day campers to create multiple very large black or clear bags of trash take 3-7 days to make that much trash for average 2-3 person group. Most campers use smaller bags . Something doesn’t add up . They’d be damm fools to throw trash in front of a dumpster and make themselves look like slobs in public eye . Right ? So it might not be as simple as you suspect. If i hated personal use fishermen and i was commercial fishermen i might try to make p/u look like slobs . Shut em down right ? Damn p/u – greedy slobs taking all our god given salmon and trashing the beach ! I suspect it was a conglomeration of users and maybe some late night dumper or drunk . Do deck hands ever get drunk? Gunner if you are who I think you are youve seen some pretty sloppy home owners or non home owners / tree campers who let their trash piles get a little big over the winter. Might look similar to that dumpster site . There used to be people on the kenai who might not bother going to the transfer station. Still i do agree dippers at least own some of the trash

      • DPR,

        “They’d be damm fools to throw trash in front of a dumpster and make themselves look like slobs in public eye” that’s a fact we can all agree upon.

      • Steve o , well spoken. I see you have strong feelings about the subject. Justifiably so . Who on the hubs of hell would do such a thing? Sadly very possibly many people! I would argue they should be prosecuted to the higest extent allowed. I can see why people would be enraged.

    • Or…get rid of the dumpsters altogether and direct people to the Kasilof transfer station. It’s like the broken windows theory of crime applied to trash: if people see trash lying on the ground they’re more likely to throw their trash on the ground. But if there was no trash there? Would they really just leave bags of trash in the dunes? I can see the need for port-a-potties, but not dumpsters

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