AQRC Questions re: CNF Plan Revisions and Over-Snow Vehicle Rule

January 25, 2016

Terri Marceron, Forest Supervisor Chugach National Forest

161 East 1st Avenue, Door 8

Anchorage, AK 99501

Dear Forest Supervisor Marceron:

As you are aware, the Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition (AQRC) has been participating in the planning efforts currently underway for a revision to the 2002 Chugach National Forest Land Management Plan through attending meetings and offering written comments on the various phases undertaken to date. Our main concerns center on the quiet recreational opportunities available to the non-motorized recreationist, particularly in winter, and the conflict between motorized and non-motorized recreationists. We believe conflicts arise from the failure of land managers to provide adequate and equal allocations when making the trail, road and area designations and to create appropriate separation between the two user groups. And, as indicated in our most recent comment letter (dated June 29, 2015), we also have concerns with what we consider to be the overly broad Forest Service interpretation of “traditional activity” which allows recreational snowmachining in the WSA, an interpretation with which we strongly disagree. Accordingly, AQRC is most interested in how Chugach National Forest intends to implement the new Over-Snow Vehicle Rule (Rule) in the context of the current planning effort.

Our questions are:  1) whether implementation of the Rule is, or will be, part of this current planning effort or a separate process;  2) is it CNFʼs position that the previous planning decisions regarding trails and areas open to snowmachine travel meet the OSV requirements and may be “grandfathered” in;  3) is a new map required;  4) when will the new planning effort begin if you determine that previously adopted decisions are inadequate to meet the requirements of the Rule; and,  5) insofar as the Forest Serviceʼs interpretation of 1110 (a) of ANILCA allows recreational snowmachining in the WSA, does the Rule require that you designate trails and areas for OSV travel in the WSA ?

We understand that your central office is in the process of issuing additional guidance to the national forests regarding implementation of this Rule. We would appreciate being advised when the guidance is available. Answers to the above questions will help inform our comments on the draft plan currently out for public comment. Thank you for your assistance.

Sincerely yours,

Brian Okonek, President Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition

P.O. Box 202592 Anchorage, AK 99516