Comment Letter: Creamer’s Field Snowmachine Permit

March 20, 2019

From: Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition

P.O. Box 202592

Anchorage, AK 99520

To: Doug Vincent-Lang, Commissioner

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

P.O. Box 115526

Juneau, Alaska 99811-5526

Ref: Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge snowmachine permit

Dear Commissioner Vincent-Lang;

The Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition (AQRC) was unpleasantly surprised to learn that ADF&G had issued a general permit allowing snowmachining on the Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge and a specific permit for a snowmachine tour company.  Recreational snowmachining is incompatible with the resources and values of the Refuge and should not be allowed.  The permits should be revoked or, at the very least, not renewed when they expires in 2020. Note: We are not opposed to snowmachines used for work purposes such as trail grooming.

AQRC is dedicated to protecting the rights of Alaskans to quiet places for the benefit of public land users, property owners, communities, businesses, wildlife, visitors, and future generations.  Alaska’s natural beauty, wildness, wildlife, expanses of undisturbed open space, and peace and quiet are among its most cherished values.

Alaskans, our visitors, and future generations have the right to experience the natural sights, sounds and quiet beauty of our state. In the vast majority of cases, the obtrusive noise, summer landscape degradation and winter snowscape defacement, exhaust, and dangers of motorized recreation are incompatible with those special natural experiences.  Natural quiet and natural sounds–the soundscape–should be recognized by all public land managers as a critical resource that deserves no less consideration than other ecological resources like clean air and water and fish and wildlife and their habitat.

Creamer’s Field Refuge is a real treasure, a refuge, in the generic as well as specific sense, not just for wildlife but also for local residents, other Alaskans, and our visitors.  In Alaska’s third largest city (Juneau beats Fairbanks by a hair) Creamer’s Field is an easily accessible natural retreat from the noise and busyness of the city.  Recreational snowmachines in the Refuge are a safety problem as well as a noise pollution problem, and they damage the trails.  Dog mushers, as well as other non-motorized users, are significantly adversely affected by snowmachines on the trails and nearby local residents suffer from the loss of peace and quiet that all of us deserve at our homes.

We hope that ADF&G will be a responsible steward and a friend to both the vast majority of refuge users and to nearby local residents by ending the unfortunate practice authorized by the permits.


Brian Okonek

President, Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition