The purpose of this communication is to express the support of the Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition (AQRC) for the proposed management plan as written. We are opposed to any and all attempts to amend the draft plan to allow a motorized corridor through the non-motorized Government Peak Recreation Area.
AQRC is a state-wide non-profit organization whose mission is to maintain and restore natural sounds and natural quiet in Alaska through advocacy and education for the benefit of people and wildlife. Our objective is for a fair and balanced allocation of Alaska’s public lands for both non-motorized and motorized recreational uses. Many of our members recreate in Hatcher Pass both winter and summer. We participated extensively in the state’s recent planning efforts to amend the Hatcher Pass management plan.
This is the third time we have commented on this issue, first, to the Borough Planning Department in support of the plan and ,secondly, to the Borough Assembly opposing Resolution 10-029. We believe the points made previously are still valid today. The key point is that you can’t place a motorized corridor through a non-motorized area and claim that the unit will be preserved substantially as non-motorized. The uses are not compatible. Further, we do not believe that there is any way to “alleviate” the impacts created by allowing snowmachines into the midst of quiet recreation. Nor, in our opinion, can you rationalize a decision to allow such a corridor by arguing that it is only a small change, that the snowmachines will quickly exit the area or that it is a big area so no one will be disturbed, etc. Again, the uses are not compatible.
Moreover, there is no need to accommodate motorized recreation in what has traditionally been designated as a non-motorized area: the revised Hatcher Pass management plan allows snowmachine traffic in over 90% of the area and surrounding state land is entirely open to winter motorized recreation. Finally, allowing a motorized trail through an otherwise non-motorized area can create safety issues plus run the risk of destroying the Borough’s overall plan to develop Government Peak into a major ski development.
Thank you for this opportunity to comment.
Susan Olsen, President
Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition
PO Box 202592
Anchorage, AK 99520