Cotton Wood Creek recreation area
I wanted to express another point of view from a hunter who has huntedboth wildlife refuges and public WMAs (Wildlife managed Areas) in the lower 48.I have no ulterior motives I can hunt by either ATV or boat. Be cautious of those that flat out want to band ATVs as they do have a motive and a deliberate intention to try to band wheelers. Their intentions are obvious in that they make up fictional theories based off those that had strayed off the trail so they could park to recreate and will take pictures as proof of misdoings. I have first-hand knowledge, and the basis of my argument, that goes back to 1998, when I first started hunting this area.The trail was always in bad shape, and in fact there were times I could noteven make it the first mile. I refer to the real bad spot as the “elbow” about 1.0 mile to 2.5 of the trail. The elbow ends when the trail starts to run parallel with Rabbit Slough. There is a big cutout on the right of the elbow caused from the “TIDE” not ATVs for those with some common sense and know the power of water. If we have a tide of approximately 31 feet or better it comes over the top and rushes in the marsh when the outgoing tide goes out and it finds the path of least resistance and also takes soil with it each time. The attack that wheelers caused this is an intellectually vacant argument.
I have had the pleasure of bringing up a childhood friend who is currently a Ducks Unlimited biologist for the state of Montana, to hunt ducks in Alaska. He was impressed with the marsh andits abundance of Sedge grass and the ability to provide nesting areas. He said the condition of the marsh was great considering all is based on mother natureand that there has been no projects set aside for this area. He also mentioned that watersheds are extremely resilient to recover. The trail didn’t even come up other than it’s another access point. All lands that DU rebuild/restore must have access, it’s a critical element due to the funding from private and businesses donors that endorse DUs work. Alaska as well as in most of the U.S., is acultural reason rooted in the North American Model of wildlife conservation. Waterfowl Funds from the sales of state duck stamps, US Fish & Wildlife Service(USFWS) Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration (Pittman-Robertson). Wildlife Management Areas play an important role in providing access and opportunity for the public to enjoy the outdoors and Alaska’s magnificent wildlife heritage.
As I applaud the efforts to try to improve our areas like the new restroom and parking area we can alsohave a dialog on constructive criticism in how and where resources are managed.But Alaskans know from Cotton Wood to over at Mud Lake (Maud Rd) boat ramp is embarrassing to say the least. We deserve better access to our hunting and fishing areas. I hope they improve the Rabbit Slough parking lot to accommodateat least more than 4 vehicles. I was told well that will increase the size of the foot print, not a valid argument it is overdue. They should be embarrassed if they saw any DNR or state run facilities in the lower 48 not asking to beat that, just improve what we have within tolerable limits. Under the Wildlife Conservation Law of 1947, it is required that the State have a proprietary interest in the land or wateron which the improvements are made. My last issue, I do have a motive with and that’s the 1000lb limit that would eliminate almost all side by sides. It’s time to increase the weight limit and to be on par with BLM, Joint Base recreational standards and other states that have adopted (1500lb) to the popularity of the side by side. We do not create more damage than an ATV on the trail. A side by side can carry a passenger so that is one less wheeler. As some states do not allow passengers on ATVs traveling on State, County or Federal land.
In closing I would like to say to fellow wheelers; If ATV users are irresponsible
with the use of their machines, then there will be increasing pressure on land and wildlife management agencies to restrict ATVuse during hunting season. Already there are people, among them other hunters,who are asking for a total ban on ATV use during hunting season. Nobody likes regulations; but if irresponsible ATV use continues to cause unacceptable impacts, then regulations will become necessary to ensure protection of public lands. A better alternative would be for ATV users to recognize the impacts their activity can cause and voluntarily take steps to reduce those impacts. ATV users are not unique in this respect — as more and more people use public lands for recreation, the potential impacts of these activities are growing fast. Let’s take it personal so that public lands can be enjoyed by us and future generations.