Kenai Wildlife Refuge’s Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area DMP/EA

Rob Campellone, Planning Team Leader
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1011 East Tudor Road–MS 231
Anchorage, AK 99503-6199

Dear Mr. Campellone,

This letter is being submitted by the Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition (AQRC) as comment on the Draft Management Plan and Environmental Assessment for Kenai National Wildlife Refuge’s Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area.

AQRC is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the rights of Alaskans to quiet places in their communities, at remote cabins, and during recreational activities on public lands. AQRC also advocates for natural quiet as a natural resource for the benefit of businesses, visitors, wildlife, and our future generations. We believe that quiet recreation deserves a fair share of the public lands, trails, and waters of the state, and that quiet recreation includes watching wildlife. State recreational surveys have shown that a large majority of Alaskans want more quiet trails. A National Forest Service survey of visitors showed that a large majority come for the peace and quiet as well as the scenery. Other surveys indicate that both Alaskans and visitors value wildlife viewing opportunities above many other outdoor activities.

AQRC supports the effort of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide more wildlife viewing opportunities and supports Alternative B (the Preferred Alternative). Since the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge has viewing wildlife as one of its original purposes, and the Kenai Refuge’s Comprehensive Plan for the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area has a specific directive to manage for wildlife viewing, it seems essential that plans for such viewing be carried out in a thorough and timely manner.

Thank you for this opportunity to comment.

Elizabeth Hatton
AQRC Board Member
8601 Sultana Drive
Anchorage AK. 99516