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Thread: Palmer Hay Flats and APH

  1. #1
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    Default Palmer Hay Flats and APH

    I’ve been away from the list, am now catching up on all the PHF/APH postings, and have a few things to say:

    First of all, great thanks to you, Bud, for stepping forward to serve on the APH board and most importantly encouraging waterfowlers to do the same. And, it’s really great to see all the waterfowler related activities represented at the upcoming annual event at Reflections Lake. For years, efforts were made to include retrievers and through them waterfowlers, but none other than Daryl Jones ever stepped forward to educate the public about this wonderful sport.

    There have been some unfortunate, uninformed, undeserving, disparaging remarks made about APH, and I hope over time, with your voice and others with open minds willing to become informed, all the hunters will appreciate their efforts made over the years. When I read inquiries with a suspicious bent wanting to know about their “end game”, I wonder why no one ever asked, let alone stepped forward to participate. When I read posts describing a worst case scenario brought on by APH, which will ultimately shut out hunters, then I know this person is completely uninformed. When I read comments linking any conversation or proposals about ATV restrictions to APH, then I also know this person doesn’t have a clue.

    In reading Julie – the goose lady’s lament, I empathize. I also lament that I can no longer drive to Wonder Lake and camp as long as I want, but now must share a crowded bus with others who are “loving our parks to death”. I’m sure we all can add our own laments of days gone by to these. In 1950, when Julie was hunting with her dad, the population of the Mat-Su Borough was 5,200; Anchorage was 47,000. In 2010, Mat-Su was 92,000; Anchorage 360,000.

    Palmer Hay Flats wasn’t set aside as an exclusive waterfowl hunting reserve. It was set aside to provide and protect habitat for migratory and nesting waterfowl, along with other wildlife and adronomous fish that need its forage, streams and rivers. Waterfowl hunting is a wonderful sport, an important management sport, a great way to commune with the natural world, learn from it, teach our kids about its importance and enjoy its bounty. But, it’s not the only way to enjoy this gem of Alaska’s *public* lands. Those that wish to enjoy it, however they wish, are going to have to share it. The PHF Refuge Management Plan was formulated by a diverse group of citizens. APH was formed by a diverse group striving to find balance in accommodating the diversity of Alaskans who wish to enjoy it while still protecting and conserving the habitat - in addition to cleaning it up(!). Ultimately, in addition to specific on-the-ground habitat enhancement projects, education will be the key to a healthy, respected habitat as the future continues. No one user group can do it all. Birders, fishers, hikers, photographers, skiers – all those other folks out there the other ten months of the year have a stake in the future – not to mention those who care about respecting and preserving the dignity of the past before PHF ever became a refuge – colony farmers and their future generations – Knik-Atnu people, the largest upper Cook Inlet Athabaskan settlement ever found, at Cottonwood Creek – and, yes, those who in the eyes of some only come to be in the postcard picture. They are all entitled. I guess I’m one of those. I don’t hunt (though I enjoy bounty shared by my hunter friends), but walking out on the flats fills me up inside – a warm summer wind whispering through the lush marsh grass, watching my dog joyfully leaping and running like a puppy, walking out among the frozen muskrat mounds on an exquisitely white winter’s day breathing deep, the cold, pure air……. it’s my way of taking what the refuge offers. But, I try not to just be a “taker”, and do what I can to work with others in seeing that it will always be able to offer, to all of us, its incredible, beautiful bounty, however we perceive that bounty.

    As to the person who claimed to have observed the “first mile” of matting for trail building, and being rebuffed when offering to help…………that must have been a long, long time ago before APH. In the past 10 years, the only trail matting (geoblock) laid that I’m aware of was when APH transformed the mud hole of a parking area to a decent parking lot then realigned and laboriously laid geoblock making a new trail *specifically for ATV’s* to access the old bridge during hunting season, and replanted the destroyed vegetation. Had there been anyone show up to help our small crew, we would have *gladly* obliged. Bottom line, I guess, is that asking questions, engaging in dialog, and joining with others who care as much as you do about this place will go a long way toward everyone’s goal – a healthy habitat for waterfowl in perpetuity. Assumptions without facts defeats us all.

  2. #2
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    Well, one of us showed up to help you guys lay that geo matt down anyway. I think what the person who was talking about being rebuffed is when Joe and a few others (looked like ADF&G employees...maybe interns or something) were laying matt out past the old bridge in the first 1/4 mile, right up to the first trees you get too. I was out that day too, and got a very unwelcome feeling from both Joe, and his volunteers when I offered to help as well. That was the beginning of the season before last, so it was 2 years ago. 1 year after we laid the geo matt down from the parking lot up to the old bridge.
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  3. #3
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    It is interesting that the writer mentions Wonder Lake that indeed is now off limits to anyone but "observers of wildlife" mostly. Someone must have felt that observing was the highest and best use of the park it is located in and wanted to keep many users out. Living a subsistence lifestyle in the 70's on the Tanana flats and river, we never went to that park and in fact it and the tourist were a big joke to us. We considered it a fake, contrived environment mostly for urban folk from the lower 48. Where we lived was a Riverine and marsh ecosystem that to most was not postcard pretty. We felt and still do that it was the real Alaska, the real far North. When I first saw the inner Hay Flats, it felt like home to me. I was used to the sloughs, lakes and wetlands fairly remote interior Alaska. I was surprised that here was a place close to the major population centers of Alaska, but yet seemed to be forgotten. It also seemed like the sloughs of the Lower Yukon river where I have also lived. The forgotten part was what made the area interesting. The same mentality that wants to promote the flats seem like the same type of folks that want to make areas of the state for observers only, ie. Wilderness. Why would someone want to promote the flats, but be for more wilderness, more endangered species, more biological diversity and more off limits to things they do not agree with? Some of these folks may be well intentioned, but there may be repercussions they cannot see now, happen down the road. For the record, as I know this will never happen, but there would be nothing wrong with making the inner flats a waterfowl hunting reserve, not just a refuge. Many seem to have no problem with bear viewing tourist parks, let alone bears running wild at Russian river and other places. Just as the anti-trapping minority has destroyed millions of waterfowl and birdlife because now predators roam and eat other wildlife at will, I do fear that feel-good, misguided, illogical, irrational, Disneyworld mindsets of animal behavior that do not exist in real world circumstances will only prevail and get worse in the future.

  4. #4
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    In regards to the Palmer Hay Flats. I've seen posts before of people wanting to improve some of our duck hunting habitat with little if any participation or success. Not all of us have boats to reach those hard to get to hunting spots on the creeks and lakes. The flats are getting extremely grown up with vegetation to the point that decoys become hidden and immobile. Would it be legal if a man went out there with a weed eater and trimmed some "holes" out for some prime hunting areas. I mean before this rain really starts adding up to semi flooded conditions and its too late. What about a weed slinger?

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    Take a chain or poke and drag it behind the ATV.. Works better and provides a food resource.

    sounds to easy to me.. Good luck

    Quote Originally Posted by H2OFwlr View Post
    In regards to the Palmer Hay Flats. I've seen posts before of people wanting to improve some of our duck hunting habitat with little if any participation or success. Not all of us have boats to reach those hard to get to hunting spots on the creeks and lakes. The flats are getting extremely grown up with vegetation to the point that decoys become hidden and immobile. Would it be legal if a man went out there with a weed eater and trimmed some "holes" out for some prime hunting areas. I mean before this rain really starts adding up to semi flooded conditions and its too late. What about a weed slinger?
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  6. #6
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    I do not believe we are allowed ATVs out there. I'd have to walk out with a weed eater or slinger at best. That's if I could find a parking spot on the newly constructed roadway. SMH Should have left well enough alone.
    Quote Originally Posted by Duckhunter01 View Post
    Take a chain or poke and drag it behind the ATV.. Works better and provides a food resource.

    sounds to easy to me.. Good luck

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