West Anchorage District Plan

June 10, 2011

West Anchorage Plan

Subject: Comments on Proposed West Anchorage District Plan

To whom it may concern:
The purpose of this email is to submit the comments of the Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition (AQRC) on the proposed West Anchorage District Plan. AQRC is a non-profit, tax exempt state-wide organization which advocates for the non-motorized recreational users of our public lands. We believe land managers have a responsibility to preserve all resources of our public lands, including natural sounds and natural quiet. Many of our members live in Anchorage and use the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail frequently for recreation and travel and value its scenic beauty, wildlife, sense of  wilderness and the fact that it is non-motorized.  It is on this issue that we offer comments.
Accordingly, we support Park Objective 4: “Manage, protect, and enhance municipal parks, greenbelts, and natural open spaces areas (including riparian and wildlife corridors) that support fish and wildlife habitats, and wetland functions” and Park Objective 6: “Acquire and permanently preserve the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail from Kincaid Park to Westchester Lagoon as a well maintained, continuous, public recreation corridor with vegetative buffer.”
In order to make sure these two objectives can be met, we oppose any and all recommendations in the plan to trade or exchange Heritage Land Bank lands or municipal parklands to the airport. We agree that these long-standing land use conflicts between the community and the airport need to be addressed and permanently resolved. However, we fail to see how the proposed exchanges would preserve or enhance the Coastal Trail, its vegetative buffer or wildlife habitat. Trading lands will only lead to  further expansion of the airport, such as a new North-South runway. We do not support such expansion due to its adverse effects on the Coastal Trail.
Thank you for this opportunity to offer comments.

Susan Olsen, President

Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition