917 Acres added to Palmer Hay Flats Refuge
This has made the news in the last week or so, and I am sure some of you are following it and may be concerned. The money raised and the property bought by Great Land Trust and given to the Palmer Hay Flats Refuge for public use. OK, thats a good thing, and we should whole heartedly support this additional marshland being added to the refuge system. The privite party who owned this land had been discussing his option of building homes on much of this marshland, and that is something none of us are interested in.
Now for possible problems, GLT has the idea since they purchased the land, they should be able to make "improvements" to it for public use. They want to put in a boardwalk, aprox 4 miles, from a elementary school to Nelson Rd, for access to the refuge. Primary purpose is letting people see the refuge without tromping through ankle/ knee deep mud and tundra. Big use would be for field trips from the schools, as well as birders, and others just interested in viewing nature, simular to the Potter Marsh walkways. However, this could also be used by hunters to access further into this area of the marsh. I don't think many hunt the upper reaches of Wasilla Creek due to the difficulity. There has been no talk of restricting hunting access in this area, however, it is only common sense that no shooting will be allowed close to the school at the beginning of the trail.
This is all a new development, I really don't know a lot more about it, I do intend to discuss this with Joe Meehan and Doug Hill and see what impact they may forsee to the hunting community on the hay flats. I do want to say, as a board member of Alaskans for the Palmer Hayflats, this was not something done by or with the APH. My primary purpose of being on the APH is to give the hunters a voice in that organization, and I plan to continue to do so. Bud