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Thread: We Need Help, all waterfowlers please read and comment!!

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    Member akblackdawg's Avatar
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    Default We Need Help, all waterfowlers please read and comment!!


    A few of you know that I was asked and accepted a board member position on the APH (Alaskans for the Palmer Hay flats). My reasoning here is that they are a very large and active group working for improvements of the Hay flats, and that we, as duck hunters, need more of a voice in the direction they are going. While there are a number of hunters in their organization, and several other hunters on the board, I did not see much priority for hunting activities in their direction.

    Many of us are not fully in favor of what we see happening. They are discussing and planning larger parking lots, more board walks, viewing towers for birdwatchers, nature centers similar to what is in Eagle River, and much more. And what is more, they have the political power to get grants and other support to mobilize these plans for the future.

    One of our board members made a contact recently while checking out the new bridge at Cottonwood Creek. Julie, the “goose lady” as she is known to many, started hunting the flats with her father in the “50’s” she became and worked as a biologist throughout her life, and still spends 30+ days each fall hunting on the flats. Duck hunting is her passion, as it is ours. I am attaching a portion of a letter she sent to the APH board representing her views, which I agree with fully. I too agree that we are heading towards “development” of the hay flats, rather than protection and safekeeping of what was once a Alaskan Wilderness area.

    ”So, the moment has come....We Are Loving the Hay-Flats to Death! Over ACCESSIBILITY IS KILLING THE REFUGE!

    I long for the foraging of Cottonwood Creek at low tide, the heart beat of the marsh before the advent of the bridge.
    I long for the days for the walk along Cottonwood Creek before the scars of ATV's and plastic tracks and neon trail markers.
    I long for the lost Marsh, that is now displaced with damage and lack of regard.
    I long for limited parking at Rabbit Slough and Cottonwood Ck. parking; when is enough- enough.
    I long for the narrow rutted roads that offer adventure and make us feel alive.
    I long for the Child that once was. Your there-----look. You don't need a social outing.
    I long for Nature's teachings; letting the land come to us.
    I long for acts of attention and receptivity, those not taught in books or discovered through scientific inquiry.
    I long for the passion and humility of this ridge, now The Scout Ridge
    Overlook; I feel only a dull grade of pleasure, I rarely see enthusiasm in watchers.
    I long for quiet dialogue with the landscape that stands before us. After all, it does not take any conceptual knowledge to appreciate a bird migration.

    Though drawn to the Palmer Hay-Flats, we are somehow insensible to it. Our lives are so removed from this gem that it's become just a picture, an image to be captured and taken home. As friends of the Palmer Hay Flats we may not damage the land as mining or timber or oil corporations would, but in one sense we do what they do; we value the land for one of its extractable qualities. We have reduced natural beauty to postcard prettiness, another commodity to be consumed in our dogged pursuit of happiness.

    Yes, this land WAS once a wilderness. Let us not Love it to Death!"


    Sincerely,

    Julie
    ("the goose Lady so I've been told")

    Julie has it right. The hay flats are heading towards development rather than conservation. Soon people will not be allowed to hunt Reflection Lake and ideal spot for those hunters without boats to enjoy their passion. The hunting boundaries will be creeping in, limiting our hunting area on the refuge. At the same time, the refuge has been deemed “multiple use” by the controlling agencies, and as such, other groups besides hunters are demanding access.

    Come join us, we need more board members from the hunting community to help shape the direction of the Palmer Hay Flats Refuge. Let us know what you think, share your ideas.
    Bud
    Wasilla

  2. #2
    Member AK375HH's Avatar
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    I enjoy hunting using to Atv trail. My opinion is keep it. I'll voice that given the opportunity to. Doubt I could haul my gear out to where I like to set up without it.
    It's not skybusting if you fold em'.

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    Sponsor Duckhunter01's Avatar
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    Bud

    We have talked allot on this subject..between you and I. I know a few others on here as well will speak up and defend the use of PHFs. I appreciate what you are doing. Thanks allot from all of the Duckhunters that use that area. We will talk more when I return, I will help out where I can.

    What I want to know is their "END STATE" (They know what it is..washed down version or not) What does the organization have in mind? I know they will pick and choose their next steps carefully as they have in the past..agreed, if there is not resistance they will move forward inch by inch until they reach their ultimate goal. I hope leaving the duckhunters out is not in this ultimate goal, even while they accommodate us on one side of the fence.

    I would like to believe it is out of compassion for the ultimate goal and not for other reasons. I fear access and further restrictions is their goal.. ultimately limiting the hunters access and ability to enjoy what we as hunters have a right too.... I hope I am wrong.
    I along with many others welcome their financial support for enhancing the improvements of the PHFs..but not if their “End State” ultimately is going to restrict the hunters, fisherman, and outdoorsman and women.

    President of Alaska Waterfowl Assoc.
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    AlaskaWaterfowlAssociation@gmail.com
    Gen.1:26
    And God said, let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

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    Member duckslayer56's Avatar
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    Well said Hugh, I too would really like to hear what their agenda is, and what the end plan is. I just found out I'm going to be stationed in Maryland for a year or more, so I would really like that place to still be there to hunt when I get back. I'm an Alaskan resident now, I will do all I can to help fellow duck hunters up here out, even if I am across the country.

    I won't help that marsh become another reflections lake, or potters marsh though.
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
    "Swans are a gift" -DucksandDogs
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    Member akblackdawg's Avatar
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    I talked with Julie for quite a while last night, and she has talked extensively with Joe Meehan about the refuge. What Julie says, and I can believe, is that the end game is "multipal use" for the refuge. No, the APH is not anti-hunting. I do not believe that. But they want a small share of the refuge for their activities. For the bird watchers and those who just want to walk and and enjoy it. Reflection lake is a small part of the refuge they have claimed, but still want to maintain that the hunters can use it in the fall. They want a place people in wheelchairs can go and enjoy. That schools can take kids on field trips to let loose birds or fingerling fish. I don't want to go into a lot more of what I have heard as possabilities for the refuge. I'm sure you have heard they have plans for a nature center at Cottonwood Creek, and museum. Bud
    Wasilla

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    Sponsor Duckhunter01's Avatar
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    Sounds good Bud, we just know how most public offerings can get if not regulated or attention is given to specific needs.

    I see some great potential in the progression and as stated would provide asssitance where needed..as long as it remains a movement represented equally by both or all parties that share the PHFs.

    That being said, I am sure AWA could help with some form of partnership on future programs an projects.They would also benifit from it.

    I look forward to learning more as it moves forward. See ya soon...17 more days

    Quote Originally Posted by akblackdawg View Post
    I talked with Julie for quite a while last night, and she has talked extensively with Joe Meehan about the refuge. What Julie says, and I can believe, is that the end game is "multipal use" for the refuge. No, the APH is not anti-hunting. I do not believe that. But they want a small share of the refuge for their activities. For the bird watchers and those who just want to walk and and enjoy it. Reflection lake is a small part of the refuge they have claimed, but still want to maintain that the hunters can use it in the fall. They want a place people in wheelchairs can go and enjoy. That schools can take kids on field trips to let loose birds or fingerling fish. I don't want to go into a lot more of what I have heard as possabilities for the refuge. I'm sure you have heard they have plans for a nature center at Cottonwood Creek, and museum. Bud
    President of Alaska Waterfowl Assoc.
    http://akwaterfowl.com
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alask...78020265619952
    AlaskaWaterfowlAssociation@gmail.com
    Gen.1:26
    And God said, let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

  7. #7

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    I see no value in the progression. Any and all development will ultimately work against the hunter. The only answer is to slash funding for these greenie projects. Contact your state legislators and tell them you do not wish to see any more of the hayflats lost to development and greenies.

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    I will fight against any action that denies any ATV or hunting access.

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    I just wrote a long post and the electric not only went out but by far this is the hardest site I have even posted on for various reasons. That is why I don't bother most of the time. Lets see if this posts.

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    OK, Here I go, I was on the Alaskans for the Palmer Hay Flats for the last year and a half. I quit this spring because I feel exactly as Julie expressed that it is being "loved" of rather to my way of thinking "agenda" driven to death. There is no doubt whatsoever that the Highest and Best use of the flats is for waterfowl. Historically it has been that way. After WWII one of the greatest of all outdoor writes Russel Annabelle wrote a story about the flats called "Skyfull of Bright Wings, which set the flats in the waterfowlers mind as a very unique place in the history of waterfowl writing. There is nothing besides waterfowl that make the flats unique and all other activities that are agenda driven for the flats are better served and most abundant elsewhere. cont'

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    When I was a board member I got tired of the constant mirco-management talk at the meetings and asked one time if we could discuss board members agenda more as I seldom heard anyone express any. There was a lot of foundering at a retreat they had about the purpose and direction that the group should take and what they should do to attract non-profit dollars. I felt that there was a forced march to bring this organization into the public arena that was not really needed. Someone had a dream of "build it and they will come" but there seems to me to be not much interest. In short, no one seemed interested in expressing a personal agenda of any kind and I believe I brought this up to the director of the club and pointed out how the greatest conservation organization in North America works, ie. Ducks Unlimited and the possibility this type of model could be used for the organization and how they have a very clear direction that fits the environment they work in exactly with a very concise agenda proven to work for 75 years.

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    Member cod's Avatar
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    Welcome to the New World, boys and girls. Agenda 21. If you haven't heard of it, you better start Googling. It's been cranking up across the country for a few years and it took many of us a while to see the pieces being put together. It's about 'control'. Don't let it happen.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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    By far the two biggest attractions for the public at large for the flats are first wildfowling and second salmon fishing. Since the salmon did not return last year in any numbers and the forecast for this year are the same, it may be a very long time til they return if the runs are not harmed permanently. I most likely am on the flats more than anyone and seldom see any other people in the Rabbit slough area except at hunting season. As Julie states in here comments the public is attracted to picture postcard environments which is flats is not unless you are very in touch with the sprit of the land, like some are to the desert. I propose that the flats be made into a World Heritage Waterfowl Site. I know this probably will never happen, but is probably not more pie in the sky than what some folks agenda envision for the flats. The history of the flats is waterfowl and the people that hunt and play a conservation role there way before there was an organization to "protect" the flats. Since I know at least for sure one of the longest running board members is anti-gun, we may wonder to protect in the long run from what.

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    This has gotten a bit long winded and rambling, so I'll cut it short. I was taken aback when one of the main characters of the Hay Flats organization expressed that "What we need are more of our kind of people down there". I think that is a very interesting point to ponder!

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