April 30, 2010
Department of Natural Resources
550 West 7th Ave., suite 1050
Anchorage, AK 99501-3579
Dear Ms. Alvarez:
The purpose of this letter is to submit the comments of the Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition (AQRC) on the Chugach Access Plan Public Review Draft (Plan).
AQRC is a state-wide nonprofit organization dedicated to securing quiet places on our public lands for the benefit of the non-motorized recreationist, cabin and home owners, businesses, wildlife, visitors and future generations. We believe natural quiet and natural sounds are resources of our public lands which deserve protection. We seek a fair and balanced allocation of Alaskaâ€™s public lands for both non-motorized and motorized uses. Our members/supporters frequently use Chugach State Park, summer and winter, for quiet recreation.
We support efforts to spread out, and increase, points of access to the Park to alleviate current areas of congestion of both cars and people.Â This will serve to help maintain one of the chief attractions of the Park-the ability to easily and quickly access a natural, quiet, â€œwildâ€ setting in which to recreate. We question, however, whether the goal of an access point every quarter mile is necessary or realistic. In this regard, AQRC believes preservation of â€œtraditionalâ€ access points should be a top priority since such access developed naturally, to serve actual and current neighborhood needs.
We support placing new parking opportunities within the boundaries of Chugach State Park to avoid impacts, particularly noise, to existing neighborhoods. The Plan acknowledges the neighborhood concerns and issues which arise when new vehicular access is developed, but fails to discuss how the Park will get the budget and staffing to monitor and police the new access points, particularly parking areas.Â While public education and physical layout can help regulate inappropriate uses, experience has shown that the physical presence of a caretaker, volunteer host or ranger is the only effective deterrent.Â We recommend that all new vehicular parking lots be built with the necessary ammentities to accommodate summer campground hosts.
Thank you for this opportunity to offer comments.
Susan Olsen, President
Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition