Steve Chittock

Another public hunting chance may have been lost in area

The sportsmen of the North Coast may have lost another public hunting opportunity. I was recently made aware that the September Waterfowl and Upland Game Hunting and Other Public Uses on State and Federal Areas had one less state area listed, the Lake Earl Project Area (administered by Dept. of Parks and Recreation) in Del Norte County.

I did not hear of a public announcement of this change and I expect the way other hunters would find out about this change is on opening day when new "Closed to Hunting" signs are posted. It is my understanding that although the area has been opened to public hunting for years, it is now the park's position that hunting is not allowed once an area is designated as a state park.

When Department of Fish and Game staff contacted the North Coast Park Superintendent, Jeff Bomke, about renewing the interagency agreement for allowing Department of Fish and Game to administer the hunting opportunity, they were told that they were ceasing hunting on the park.

Is this decision based on pressure from various environmental groups? I have a great deal of respect for the folks that belong to these groups. The environmental community and its representatives have a great deal of passion for the environment in which they live. The passion these individuals have for the environment motivates them to get involved, to write letters, attend meetings and to call representatives.

I hear the excuse from fellow sportsman that they don't have time. They have to work. They have family responsibilities that have to get done. Well, the environmental groups do too. The difference is they make time. We can't expect Mr. Bomke to continue to allow hunting in Tolowa Dunes State Park if he has only heard from people who want it stopped.

We can't expect the government to act in support of our interests, when they haven't even heard from us. I encourage anyone who has an interest in the use of public lands to get involved. The all-terrain vehicle folks have already lost the use of Kellogg Beach. Call or write your government representatives and if you are not comfortable doing that, support a group that will, like California Waterfowl Association, Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation etc.

Right now state officials need to hear from you unless you want to lose Lake Earl Project Area as a public hunting opportunity.

Cary Japp

Crescent City

Thanks to many unselfish people who helped when boat capsized

On Sunday, Oct. 18, my husband and I went on our first drift boat trip with my dad. My dad has been running the Smith River for many many years so there were many years of experience at the oars.

A wonderful day went bad very quickly. We hit a number of unexpected rocks going through a swift area and the boat leaned into the current and quickly filled up, submerged and floated everyone and everything out.

In the chaotic minutes after, we were moved downriver, at which point we saw people on shore. They are the reason for my letter. I was not able to write down everyone's name that assisted us, and they should all be greatly thanked.

The water was very cold and their quickness to get us out of the water made the outcome so much better then it could have been. They called 911 and everyone responded so quickly it was impressive. A few men in a drift boat came upriver and started gathering all of our things that were floating all over. A person in a kayak helped get the rope to us and the people on shore had their truck warmed up, towels and blankets ready and had taken charge of the situation.

None of these unselfish people woke up that morning knowing that their day would be interrupted by this event, but they all jumped right in and did what they could without any second thought. My view of the human race and the "all of us helping each other" rule has been restored.

I may never have the opportunity to repay everyone that helped us all out of the beautiful Smith River that day, but I do know I will pass on the unselfishness to help others. The wonderful folks that helped us all know who they are and definitely deserve the gold star for the day.

As you are reading this know that your kindness will be passed on and continue on with your good deeds, as they are greatly appreciated and noticed. Be safe, always wear a life jacket and good luck fishing.

Kelli and Ross Costa

Fieldbrook, Calif.