This weekend the annual Kenai River Classic brought together members of Congress, like Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), and heads of major defense companies to help raise $1 million for Alaska salmon habitat preservation.
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The 200 or so participants (who each contributed at least $4,000) were shown a good time. They fished the Kenai River for giant king salmon where a hospitality boat handed out bloody marys and cigars and they wined and dined along the riverfront. The Anchorage Daily News has two great photos you can see here.
The annual event has gone on for 14 years, drawing major corporations as donors, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing and the heavily-investigated BAE Systems.
But some locals have piped up about the invitational, saying it does more harm than good. This year, the Kenai Area Fisherman's Coalition took out an opposition ad in the print edition of the local paper to complain about the environmental and community damage caused by the event. You can see the print ad here. The group, which includes 10 fish biologists, calls the message of the fundraiser disingenuous, arguing that the money ends up promoting non-sustainable growth along the river, ultimately hurting the habitat. The alliance is also rallying against the murky politicking taking place.