From: Cliff Eames
Subject: Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition Comments on Proposed New Non- motorized Hiking Trail off of the Denali Highway
The following are the comments of the Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition (AQRC) on the proposed new non-motorized hiking trail taking off to the south from near Mile 19.5 of the Denali Highway for about 1.5 miles.
AQRC is a statewide organization dedicated to the protection, and where (too often) necessary, the restoration, of natural quiet and natural sounds on the public lands, and to an equitable balance between those trails and areas of the public lands managed for motorized, and those managed for non- motorized, recreation. Natural quiet and natural sounds, which we believe deserve the same sort of consideration given to fish and wildlife, clean air and water, soils and vegetation, scenic beauty, and wildland values, are–increasingly–either virtually absent, or seriously threatened, on the public lands. These resources need to be far better protected for the benefit of public land users, home and cabin owners, communities, businesses, wildlife, visitors,and future generations.
The great majority of BLM trails and areas in the Copper Basin and throughout the state are managed for motorized recreation, which we believe is both unfair and detrimental to the health of the many important resources and values listed above. Since motorized use can too easily create conflicts with non-motorized public land users, displacing those non-motorized users, and since multi-use trails and areas rarely provide high quality recreational opportunities for quiet recreationists (including hunters who prefer hunting on foot), we wholeheartedly support, and very much appreciate, the proposed new non-motorized hiking trail. This would follow on the heels of the recent hiking trail constructed at the nearby BLM campground. We hope these two trails represent a trend towards a redressing of the gross imbalance between motorized and non-motorized trails and areas on the public lands managed by the Bureau.
Thank you for the chance to comment on this proposal. And thank you also for for what appears to be BLM’s increasing interest in providing high quality recreational opportunities for all public lands users; and, in addition, we hope, better protecting the many ecological resources and social values that can be damaged by the use of motorized recreational vehicles.
Cliff Eames Board Member Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition