Enforcement Action in Hatcher Pass

March 12, 2015

Wayne Biessel, Superintendent

Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation

7278 East Bogard Road Wasilla, AK 99654

wayne.biessel@alaska.gov Sent via email

Dear Superintendent Biessel:

I’m writing on behalf of the Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition (AQRC) to thank you for the recent enforcement action taken by the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation (DPOR) to cite six snowmachiners who were riding in a closed area. Many people invested a significant amount of time and energy into the Hatcher Pass Management Plan, which lays out the boundaries of the motorized and non-motorized areas for state lands at Hatcher Pass. If the Management Plan is to be successful and reduce conflicts between user groups, these boundaries need to be respected by the public and enforced by the State. Non-motorized and motorized recreation are two different experiences and considerable public safety issues arise when the two occur in the same area. That is why boundaries were set to separate the two uses in the Management Plan.

Founded in 1996, AQRC’s main mission is to maintain and restore natural sounds and natural quiet in Alaska through advocacy and education for the benefit of people and animals. More particularly, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of all Alaskans to quiet places. AQRC believes that natural sounds and natural quiet are resources of all public lands and should be protected for the benefit of people and wildlife. One of our specific goals is to maintain a fair and equitable balance on state-owned public lands between those managed for motorized recreation and those managed for quiet, truly traditional recreational activities such as hiking, canoeing, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.

Because non-motorized areas are limited and the impacts of motorized trespass so high, we believe enforcement actions such as those recently taken by DPOR, under the Management Agreement with DMLW, are critical when trespass — especially repeated trespass — occurs. For these reasons, we appreciate that the Division has taken action to enforce these boundaries.

Sincerely, Brian Okonek

President of AQRC

cc: Ben Ellis, Director, DPOR Brent Goodrum, Director, DMLW