This issue of the newsletter contains materials on three distinct, but (very) interrelated subjects: Second Annual Winter Day of Listening; the launching of a campaign to focus attention on the conflicts between non-motorized and motorized users of Alaska’s public lands; and last, but not least, a request to renew your membership.
Have you ever been out on your favorite ski or dog sled trail and had a close encounter with a reckless snowmachiner who acted without regard for your safety? Has your outdoor experience been degraded by seeing once pristine landscapes totally tracked by snowmachines or ugly ATV trails? Or has your solitude been shattered by the whine of a recreational vehicle? In an effort to document the conflicts created, AQRC has developed a conflict reporting form and a master database of pertinent regulations and laws governing the use of recreational motor vehicles on public lands. A copy of the form is enclosed. Please file your conflict report with AQRC so we can develop a database on the location and types of violations or conflicts and, most importantly, track agency response to these specific concerns. The form may be filed electronically on the website, by fax or by mail. However filed, the form will be forwarded to the appropriate agency. Check our website at www.alaskaquietrights.org to download more copies or to read the regulations and laws.
Please note that the database is a work-in progress as we add agency corrections and comments. The ultimate goal of this campaign is to ensure that the non-motorized recreationist will have significant areas in which to recreate, free from the sounds, sights and smells of off-road recreational vehicles, and where NATURAL QUIET reigns.
|In brief, AQRC needs YOU to:
1) Fill out the membership form, write a check and mail them to AQRC;
2) On March 24th, spend at least one hour outdoors listening for natural quiet (or its absence), record your experience and mail the form to AQRC;
3) Take the enclosed conflict form the next time you are out and about and return it to us if you experienced a conflict. Meanwhile, go to AQRC’s website at www.alaskaquietrights.org where you may print copies of the Motor Vehicle Conflict form and peruse the compilation of regulations and laws. Take forms with you when you recreate, give copies to friends and complete and return to AQRC. Read on for the details!
|There is still no final decision on the revised Chugach National Forest Management Plan, which dealt with such controversial issues as snowmachine management and Wilderness recommendations. Originally expected to be released in November 2001, the final plan has been held up by a General Accounting Office investigation requested by Senator Murkowski and Congressman Young. The plan will not be released until after the investigation is completed, which is not anticipated before May 2002.|
Whether the National Park Service’s decision to maintain its closure of the 2 million-acre core Wilderness area of Denali National Park (the Old Park) to recreational snowmachining will remain in effect is still unclear. The lawsuit challenging the closure brought by the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, the Alaska State Snowmobile Association, and others was withdrawn by the plaintiffs several months ago, so that they could pursue a legislative solution (with the help of the Bush administration, presumably). To this point, however, a legislative proposal has yet to surface. AQRC, a cooperating organization for the event, encourages you to attend and help develop recommendations for the protection and restoration of Natural Quiet at the ATV and Snowmachine Management Summit to be held Tuesday, April 2 at the Millennium Hotel in Anchorage. The objectives of the Summit include increasing awareness among the public and top decisionmakers of ORV issues and concerns, making resolving them a top priority for government agencies, and bringing differing interests together to work cooperatively in fashioning solutions. The cost is $55, including lunch, and some scholarship help will be available. For more information, including registration materials, contact Cliff at 274-3647 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A three-day, more narrowly focused Workshop will follow the Summit. AQRC is most effective in influencing public policy decisions when its members get actively involved. Our strength is in our grassroots, not our money bags. If you’d be willing to occasionally testify at public meetings, or call AQRC members and ask them to attend meetings or call or write their legislators, please phone or email us and we’ll put you on our #1 activist list. State law (AS 28.15.011(b)) requires persons driving snowmachines and ATVs upon a highway, vehicular way or area or other public property to have a State driver’s license (in their possession). Representative Vic Kohring, R-Wasilla, recently introduced a bill (HB 397) to repeal this requirement. Check out AQRC’s website at www.alaskaquietrights.org for links to other organizations throughout the country fighting the battle for natural quiet. Share any links you have discovered. E-mail us at email@example.com. Check out AQRC’s website at www.alaskaquietrights.org for links to other organizations throughout the country fighting the battle for natural quiet. Share any links you have discovered. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. LISTEN UP ON MARCH 24TH: SECOND ANNUAL WINTER DAY OF LISTENING Increasingly, the stillness that should fill the Alaskan outdoors in the winter is disrupted by the whine of motors. Many of us have found that areas where we once enjoyed natural quiet have become overrun by recreational snowmachiners. What used to be a utilitarian form of travel for the Alaskan lifestyle has become a joy-riding menace, and opportunities to enjoy natural quiet are rapidly declining. Additionally, these iron dogs destroy pristine powder and shatter the winter solitude. Can you hear the winter on our public lands? The Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition is having our Second Annual Winter Day of Listening March 24th. We want you to record what natural quiet you experience and we plan to continue to document these experiences over the years. We define natural quiet as the natural soundscape with no human-generated sound other than voices. Thanks to all who responded to our Second Annual Summer Day of Listening last July 15th. The responses spanned a major portion of the state, from Tenakee Inlet through Haines, Juneau, Valdez, Kodiak, Homer, Anchorage and Eagle River, the Sutton area, and on north to Isabel Pass and the Gulkana National Wild River Corridor. In that vast geographic area, only one individual heard no planes! Of those who estimated that they experienced natural quiet 20% or less of the time, all were reporting from Eagle River or Anchorage. However, participants in Gulkana National Wild River Corridor; Chugach State Park below Wolverine Peak (Anchorage); Pioneer Ridge Trail (Palmer); Tonsina River Bluff (Valdez); Olds River Trail (Kodiak Island); and Resurrection Pass Trail (10 miles S. of Hope) reported that they experienced natural quiet 98% or more of the time. Most telling comments: “The only time that I am able to enjoy (cherish) my yard is when it’s raining. I pray for rain.” (Hillside area in Anchorage); “Helicopters were clearly audible for 81/120 minutes” (West Glacier Trail, Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in Juneau); “This is great motivation for just sitting…thanks” (Tonsina River Bluff in Valdez).
|Here is our plan:
The Second Annual Winter Day of Listening is March 24, 2002. If you aren’t out and about on March 24th, choose a nearby date and record your data on that day. We ask that you go to a favorite place on Alaska’s public lands (or stay near your home if you like) and do an hour or more of listening. Record your data on the form on the next page and send it in. Don’t be shy about making copies of the form and this notice and giving them to friends!
SECOND ANNUAL WINTER DAY OF LISTENING SUNDAY, MARCH 24, 2002 -Â FORM On March 24, or a nearby date, enjoy some of Alaska’s public land. Pay close attention to the natural and motorized sounds you hear. Complete the following form and mail the results to Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition. We are evaluating the present status of Natural Quiet on public lands. Results will be compared to other areas in the state, other seasons, and other years.
Thanks for listening. Detailed Location on March 24: ___________________________________________________
Time observed (From/To): __________________________________
(At least one hour is recommended.)
Record the number of sounds, and the approximate time they were heard:
|TYPE OF SOUND||NUMBER||PERCENT OF TIME HEARD|
|Other Manmade Sounds:
Please estimate the total percentage of listening time when
Natural Quiet was available
(no manmade motorized sounds): ________%.
Additional Comments: ___________________________________________________________
I would like to be more involved in Quiet Rights. Please contact me. (Check here)
Return to: Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition / PO Box 202592 / Anchorage AK 99520 WHY REPORT MOTOR VEHICLE CONFLICTS? The Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition is tracking conflicts between motorized and non-motorized recreational users. Please report user conflicts, excessive noise, resource damage, wildlife impacts, safety concerns, or motorized trespass in closed areas. If you think it’s a conflict, then tell us about it. Make observations, gather as much information as possible, and pass it on to the Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition. All reports will be forwarded to the responsible authorities. Photos or video are extremely valuable.
PLEASE DO NOT CONFRONT VIOLATORS OR TAKE THE LAW INTO YOUR OWN HANDS!
These incident reports will help retain, promote, and establish new non-motorized areas. By documenting the level, nature, and effects of motorized recreational vehicle use on Alaska’s public lands, you will provide valuable help to non-motorized recreationists interested in maintaining and restoring natural quiet. At this time, it is unlikely that the responsible agencies will take any specific law enforcement actions against individual violators, but they may in the future. Our hope is that this information will lead to changes in land management that will protect quiet rights.
Please carry copies of this form when you recreate, using one form for each incident. You can file by fax, file electronically on our web site, download blank incident forms, or call our message telephone for more forms. The key is to be as specific as possible in your description of the incident and location. Encourage your friends to carry blank forms to help protect our quiet areas and wild lands. Thank you for your time and help!
|We may be reached at:
Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition
fax: (907) 346-1028
|Please check here if you would like
more information about the
Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition:
Please fold, staple, stamp, and mail completed form to:
Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition
P. O. Box 202592
Anchorage, AK 99520
ALASKA QUIET RIGHTS COALITION
P.O. Box 202592
Anchorage, AK 99520
The Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to a fair and balanced allocation of Alaska’s public lands for both non-motorized and motorized use. TIME TO RENEW YOUR AQRC MEMBERSHIP AND HELP CONTINUE OUR EFFORTS
Dear Quiet Rights Supporter,
AQRC needs your monetary help protecting quiet on our public and private lands. Quiet Rights works hard to keep expenses low. This is an all-volunteer organization “no one receives a salary” and we have no permanent office space. We do, however, need to pay for the newsletters and action alerts that keep our supporters informed and involved in public policy decisions concerning quiet. Donations are used to pay for the conflict forms we distribute to demonstrate to skeptical public officials that there is a noise problem out there. We sometimes pay the expenses of volunteers who travel to present the case for quiet at workshops or conferences. And, of course, we sometimes join with other organizations in litigation when our public officials ignore the quiet majority and bow to noisy special interests.
In the past year, Quiet Rights volunteers have spent countless hours to make sure that the new Chugach National Forest Management Plan will provide areas for quiet recreation in winter and summer. We have joined the suit to protect the quiet of the wilderness portion of Denali National Park from recreational snowmachining. We have urged the government to set aside lands that are off-limits to heli-skiing and flightseeing. We have organized summer and winter Days of Listening and have begun a “conflict” campaign to document the noise problems on public and private lands. Please make it possible for this work to continue by renewing your membership now.
Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition
|AQRC’s officers for this year are:||Trisha Herminghaus||President|
|Bob Randall||Vice President|
|Barbara Parker||Barbara Parker|
|The other members of the Board of Directors include Jim Adams, Cliff Eames, Libby Hatton, Heather Ireland, Tom Meacham and Susan Olsen.
The Regional Contacts are: Nina Faust (Homer); Mark Luttrell (Seward); Sue Schrader (Juneau); George Figdor (Haines); Stan Justice (Fairbanks); Dan Elliot (Mat-Su); Michael Allwright (McCarthy/Wrangells); Pam Robinson (Talkeetna); and Ruth McHenry (Copper Center).