Municipality of Anchorage
Anchorage Parks and Recreation Commission
P.O. Box 196650
Anchorage, AK 99519-6650
Dear Anchorage Parks and Recreation Commission;
Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the Alaska State Snowcross Lions Club proposal to open the Jodphur Motocross Track at Kincaid Park to winter snowmachine racing and freestyle practice and events. Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition (AQRC) is opposed to allowing the Jodphur Motocross Track to be used in the winter for snowmachine or other motorized practice and events .
The Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition (AQRC) is dedicated to protecting the rights of Alaskans to quiet places for the benefit of public land users, home and cabin owners, communities, businesses, wildlife, visitors, and future generations. The mission of AQRC is to maintain and restore natural sounds and natural quiet in Alaska through advocacy and education for the benefit of people and wildlife.
Kincaid Park has a cross-country ski trail system that is world class. The rolling terrain and lush forest the finely groomed trails traverse make skiing there a marvelous experience for expert racers and families alike. A snowmachine snocross track and freestyle practice and event area does not mix well with the winter activities that Kincaid Park has become well known for.
1) The Municipality of Anchorage and Kincaid Park have been closed to snowmobiling for years due to safety issues and noise disturbance. Past problems with snowmachine activity have proven that both are legitimate concerns.
2) While aircraft arriving and departing from the Ted Stevens International Airport reminds one that they are skiing in the largest city in the state instead of the wilds of Alaska this does not justify creating a whole other level of noise disturbance to Kincaid Park or the neighboring subdivision.
3) Opening the Jodphur Motocross Track to snowmachine racing will create a level of noise that will have a huge negative effect on the cross-country skiing experience on the trails at Kincaid Park as well as the quality of life in the Sand Lake neighborhood. Noise will not stop at the borders of the Motocross Track. Winters cold air and lack of leaves on the trees allow sounds to carry much further from their source than in the summer. The noise from the race track will be heard far, far away.
4) Stock mufflers do not substantially reduce the noise of snowmachines that are operated at full throttle and repeatedly reved up. The type of high pitched noise created by snowmachine engines is very intrusive. There is no good way to substantially reduce the noise of the snowmachines when they are throttled to accelerate quickly. Th muffler systems of todays snowmachines may make them quieter than the past when at an idle or operated at a slow steady speed, but when accelerated to full throttle the snowmachines are dangerously loud.
5) Placing a motorized race track between a neighborhood and motor free, muscle powered park area does not represent prudent planning. It will only serve to create more conflict. No doubt there will be times when rogue snowmachine riders will tear up the groomed ski trails with their paddle track machines and endanger skiers.
On a technical note, we wish to draw your attention to the following:
A) Anchorage Municipal Code 9.42.020.A.5 prohibits snowmachine operations within 500 feet of an established skiing area or other recreational area where the operation would conflict with recreational use. Does this proposal fall outside this prohibition ?
B) The existing Pt. Campbell/Kincaid Park Master Plan (1983 Anchorage Winter Recreation Development Program) does not mention or authorize snowmachining as an acceptable use. In fact, it contains a number of references and recommendations prohibiting motorized uses. For example, p. 2.11 states “Permanent recreation uses that create significant noise impacts, such as all-terrain vehicles, are inappropriate on the site” or on page 3.6 “…it is recommended that motorized recreation vehicle use not be considered as a program element…due to severe conflicts with existing park use…trails, highly susceptible to damage…noise impact is considerable…” Without amending the Master Plan, we do not believe there is authority to permit snowmachining in any form in Kincaid Park.
C) The current 1997 Areawide Trails Plan contains a suggestion by the local snowmachine club that the O’Malley golf course or the 70 acre tract on the Minnesota-O’Malley curve be made available for a family (snowmachine) riding area. We make the obvious point that a snowcross race track is hardly the same as “a family riding area”. We further assert that, due to noise disturbance to residential areas, neither of these two locations can be considered as a substitute location should the use of the motorcross area be denied.
The Jodphur Motocross Track should remain closed to winter motorized use.
Brian Okonek, AQRC president