August 27, 2012
Chugach Access Plan
MOA Community Development Department
P.O. Box 196650
Anchorage, AK 99519-6650
To whom it may concern:
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 and amendments (Plan).
AQRC is a state-wide nonprofit organization dedicated to maintaining and restoring natural sounds and natural quiet in Alaska through advocacy and education for the benefit of people and wildlife.Â We seek a fair and balanced allocation of Alaskaâ€™s public lands for both non-motorized and motorized uses. Our local members/supporters are frequent users of Chugach State Park, summer and winter, for quiet recreation.
We support the Planâ€™s efforts to spread out, and increase, points of access to the Park. We are all familiar with the congestion of cars and people that takes place at Glen Alps on summer weekends and reject the idea that the problem can be solved by simply adding more parking spaces; more access is required. Additionally, more dedicated trail easements and parking opportunities along the border will preserve one of the chief attractions of the Park and of Anchorageâ€™s location: the ability of Anchorageâ€™s residents to easily and quickly access a natural, quiet â€œwildernessâ€ setting in which to recreate.
We believe it is primarily the responsibility of the state, not the city, to provide adequate access to the Park and therefore support placing new parking opportunities within the boundaries of Chugach State Park insofar as possible to avoid impacts, particularly noise, to existing neighborhoods.Â Adoption of this Plan by the Assembly as official policy guidance will enable the Muni to help provide access through pedestrian and parking easements. Additionally,Â we recommend that the Muni work with the state to create access opportunities beyond those pedestrian and parking easements contained in the Plan. What about an inexpensive shuttle to popular spots, like between the Service High School parking to Glen Alps on the weekends ?
We fully support requiring that pedestrian easements identified in applicable municipal plans be dedicated easements in order to insure their permanence. We further agree with the Planning Department that such easements should be at least 20 feet wide to maintain clearance from vegetation and snow, protect the abutting property owners and ensure emergency vehicle access. 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 hope the future adoption of this Plan by the Assembly will begin to resolve the current access and traffic congestion issues faced by users of Chugach State Park.
Thank you for this opportunity to comment.
Susan Olsen, President
Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition