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Thread: Access for public

  1. #1
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    Default Access for public

    Here you go for all you who feel you are a part of the entitlement generation for access to your best fishing or camping place! As for me I hope that the places I love to fish the most are never improved. I love not seeing big crowds killing the places I love to fish!

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    It's paved, plowed, and new fire rings just for you! The access entitlement generation has needs too! Do you need a permit to road hunt too?

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    Calling those you disagree with names won't sway any reasonable person and usually doesn't elicit much discussion either.

    You're going to get to a point where you can't climb the mtn anymore. Just cause an older person is all climbed out is no reason to mount an offensive. In person you'd probably show a modicum of compassion and possibly even respect for that older person; just a guess.

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    First, I called no one names! That day has come I have to crawl part way. My dad is 85 and he has a permit to shoot from the road, and can kill any elk cow or bull in the general season in Oregon. This about keeping some areas not so improved to where it still takes effort to get there and use it. I want people to use the areas that they can not put in a tram to get everyone in sheep country! I have compassion for people that understand that there are limitations to land use, public or not! That is why there are areas for foot traffic only, and hose or pack animals no motorized vehicles. Use the areas you can, and have a blast and be safe.

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    I find it interesting that those who want to keep things pretty much as is are selfish, unreasonable, or just misinformed. I do not find that at all. The issue of access to public lands is a very emotional and wide open discussion. Some have a position that "reasonable" access to millions of acres of land is acceptable. But what is reasonable - this view or others with a different view? So how does the Federal Gov deal with that conflict? They write Refuge plans and let everyone come to the table that has an interest in how the refuge is managed. That is the public process and people can make their point and try to have a plan that is consistent with the refuge purpose.

    At refuges across the country during the duck hunting season large areas of the refuges are closed to all other uses/users. As a bird watcher I am prohibited from watching birds in areas that are totally closed except for duck hunting. Why should I not be allowed to walk out and view birders from a blind? Do I have to kill something or say I am a duck hunter just so I can use the area? I could feel really put out with this selective use of the area. I am not. I understand that at times one user can have exclusive and limited use of an area. Not a Federal over-reach or anything but part of a full refuge plan that tries to balance various user needs.

    Part of those plans includes keeping campgrounds and access limited. Within the State of Alaska there is a reason parking lots at campgrounds and use areas are limited. If not the area would likely be damaged and costly to the State. Other areas that are less sensitive can handle the pressure. The 40,000 people who use the mouth of the Kenai River for dip netting from shore is one example. However, 40,000 upstream of the mouth in the wetlands would destroy them. Ask any land use manager and they will tell you that parking and camp sites are designed for the use pattern for the surrounding area. Just part of resource management.

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    Funstastic, you have it all wrong. For what it is worth you are not shut out of pubic lands you just have to access them just like all the other users. I do not like the fact that BLM has granted land that belongs to all people to small groups that close it to the public. I feel that all public lands should be open to all people of this country. If it is open for foot travel only so be it. If it is open for ATV's that is fine to. If there is only 5 parking spots, and you want to stay there be there first. As I have gotten older there are many places I would love to go hunt or fish and can't, so I go when and where and how it is legal. I ask that no change be made that will take from others so I have better access.

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    Ok, I'm confused....

    "As for me I wish they would take out every campground and boat launch in the whole state."
    - MGH55

    "I feel that all public lands should be open to all people of this country." - MGH55


    I'm not wrong MGH55. The area I once trapped was only accessible in winter by snowmobile. I never saw a sole there. But now it is designated wilderness by the Feds and I am shut out. The access to my favorite moose hunting blind has been blocked off by the Feds, without any authority or cause. My buddy and I can no longer access his dad's old mining trail - the Feds say the trail never existed and is not an access. Where 20 vehicles used to park, the Refuge "upgraded" it for 10, and they cite anyone parking outside their designated slots. Just today I had to bag a family Mother's Day camping and fishing weekend at a Refuge campground because the access was inaccessible. It goes on and on. I have no problem getting there first or using the access like everyone.

    Like I said in the other thread MGH55, we can't have a rational discussion with someone who wants to close all the campgrounds and boat launches in the state so he can have access all to himself.

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    Nerka, what you don't elude to is that sportsmen are losing their access to public lands as we speak. With each new plan, review, or proposal the trend has been to lock it up and keep folks out - make access inaccessible - designate it Wilderness. It's all on record. In fact right now the Feds have millions of acres sitting before congress awaiting yet more Wilderness designation. Your idea of keeping things the same has never happened in the history of Alaska's public land management, nor does it make sense considering the gargantuan amount of public land sitting idle while users are increasingly confined.

    The public process for the Refuge's Plan Review is a procedural government scam. I've directly participated in several, and each has left me disgusted. The Feds present the public with pre-ordained proposals that they call Alternatives. They create these Alternatives themselves with an established mindset, by weighting comments however they see fit in order to impose their own agenda. Public comment on the Alternatives is a matter of picking the lesser of the evils, and even then the Feds do what they want. In the last two plan reviews, my comments weren't even included in the record. And when I presented my proposal to open up more access for Alaskans, I was scorned by the Feds. When I kindly asked when was the last time they added an access, they told me to sit down.

    To define reasonable access, we first need to be honest about what is not reasonable. 99+% of Alaska is government owned. Less than 1% is private. .001% is developed. Virtually all access and use will be on public land. One-third of all the nation's Fed lands are in Alaska - larger than the entire state of Texas, encompassing 61% of the State. An area in Alaska the size of Wyoming makes up 55% of all the Wilderness designations in the nation. So considering this incomprehensible amount of public land, and the extremely small number of accesses to it, defining reasonable isn't even necessary.

    The Refuge plans include keeping campgrounds and accesses limited because there's nowhere else for users to go, and funneling and confining everyone into a few areas puts heavy use on those areas. Further restrictions along with letting accesses and facilities get run down only exacerbates the situation. Dispersing users to other new accesses relieves the pressure, and enhances the user experience. Remember, we are talking about gargantuan vast areas of public land sitting idle, ripe for access. Not dip netting upstream on the Kenai River.

    There is such a thing as a reasonable balance. There is compromise for various user needs. But the current situation is not them. And the trend says it's not going to get better. In fact my attempt today to use a Refuge campground and boat launch was a joke. Not because the place was full or crowded. But because the access was inaccessible. And the Feds don't seem to give a rip that users are being shut out of their public access.

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    How was it inaccessible? You stated that you were here before Alaska was a state, so could you tell me how many public camp ground and boat launches have been removed? I am not sure, but I bet we have many more now. I know that some areas have changed to only non motorized use areas, but you can still use it. I know of trappers that go in on dog sleds and do just fine. How do the feds keep your buddy from walking his dads old mining trail. How have you been blocked from you r hunting stand?

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    I think this should be moved to resource management. Sorry for starting this under Fisheries Management.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    How was it inaccessible? You stated that you were here before Alaska was a state, so could you tell me how many public camp ground and boat launches have been removed? I am not sure, but I bet we have many more now. I know that some areas have changed to only non motorized use areas, but you can still use it. I know of trappers that go in on dog sleds and do just fine. How do the feds keep your buddy from walking his dads old mining trail. How have you been blocked from you r hunting stand?
    There are many places along a certain hiway I will not name, that USED to have small pull offs/access pts that are no longer available to those few of us that knew about them and used them for years. It was not closed due to being trashed. As I never saw that happening in any of those places. It was not private property either. In some of the areas where these small access areas were there are NO access areas left for the vicinity. In other places they blocked off it appears their effort was to funnel users to "public" lots.
    The point being... "They" certainly ARE denying MORE access to many areas and ARE restricting many areas to use that was once available.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    How was it inaccessible? You stated that you were here before Alaska was a state, so could you tell me how many public camp ground and boat launches have been removed? I am not sure, but I bet we have many more now. I know that some areas have changed to only non motorized use areas, but you can still use it. I know of trappers that go in on dog sleds and do just fine. How do the feds keep your buddy from walking his dads old mining trail. How have you been blocked from you r hunting stand?
    Does it really matter to you MGH55?...You said you wanted every campground and boat launch in the state shut down, so you could have it to yourself.

    For what it's worth, the access was inaccessible because the road remains impassible. The DOT has been waiting for Refuge funding to fix it for as long as I can remember, yet here we are again. Not to mention sometimes the Feds will keep the campground gated off, eliminating the peaceful early-bird camping we locals cherish. See, it's not public access when you can't get to it.

    The mining trail is not a walking trail (you can't walk mining equipment to the site). It was a motorized trail established prior to it's wilderness designation. There are supposed to be special laws allowing miners to keep their access once the land is designated wilderness; one criteria being that the access existed prior to designation. But when the Feds tell you your access didn't exist prior to wilderness designation (because they never knew it was there - it was rarely used and covered with over-growth) you lose it, or go broke trying to sue them.

    No dog sledder could go where I trapped. The terrain and short daylight would make it a suicide mission. Now, without motorized winter travel, it's an area no one will ever access. We'll have to look at it from the window of an airplane. See, changing land designation eliminates certain types of uses, shutting users out - particularly in Alaska where public land is so gargantuan that it is inaccessible without motorized transportation.

    The access to my hunting stand was blocked by the Feds with 100 yards of gravel. I'll pm you a picture if I find it. They did this during their Refuge Plan "upgrade" project. Problem is the project never authorized, budgeted, or included blocking off this access...or the dozen others on this road. The Feds simply took it upon themselves to shut people out of these accesses and confine them to other "designated" accesses which are few and far. I pressed the issue with the help of congressmen Don Young, but the Feds just said sorry, too bad, we ain't going back.

    There isn't enough time or cyberspace to properly discuss the history of how Alaska's land has been locked up by the Feds, and how the purpose of why we created our public land has transformed from enjoyment and conservation to total preservation. You can do your own homework. Study the Wilderness Act, the Roadless Initiative, and how the Wilderness Society and Sierra Club created the Alaska Coalition which ignited the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act back in 1971...all precursors to Jimmy Carter's executive action with ANILCA - the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act which he signed in 1980. 104 million acres here, 44 million there, another 80 million...more land than the entire size of Texas. And 15 million more in the gates waiting for wilderness designation as we speak. Spend some time reviewing all the Refuge Plan revisions dating way back to now...the trend of locking things up will smack you in the face.

    MGH55, you are welcome to your opinion to give Alaska to the Feds, lock it up, and shut people out. However I want to enjoy my public lands - I own them. And to do that I need access. I'm not saying blow an area the size of Texas wide open. I'm saying open up a little more to disperse folks and provide more opportunity - don't exacerbate user conflicts by confining and constricting more. Or geez, at least repair, upgrade, and make the few we have more usable.

  13. #13

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    Fun, I don't dispute your claim that the feds have shut access down in many areas, especially to motorized or consumptive use. This is apparent not just in AK, but nationwide - part of the 'green agenda'. When you add that in with all the wilderness that our government gave back to our native people only to have them slap up no trespassing signs and in many cases restrict or charge those with different ethnicities for access, we have lost a lot of playground, and have many more people to share it with. So goes life.

    What you don't acknowledge or see is that when our state "upgrades" one of our accesses, it's not necessarily for people (residents) like you or me. That's why along with the paved camping spots that will house a stratoliner comes increased fees and a GATE that is usually locked from September till May. It has become a quest for me to find the more rustic spots like the Tusty access, where you might get away without paying a camping fee, don't have to worry about the gate being locked, and there will hopefully be a few less people. With that comes the risk of potholes, muddy launches, and having to scare off a few more bears, methheads, or caravans of partying teenagers. Life is full of compromises. For those of us who like to enjoy AK year round, ungated campgrounds like the Tustamena are few and far between.

    No one here is trying to restrict your access, but many of use like the wilderness because we enjoy the simple things in life as well as a little solitude. Bigger isn't always better. I have a small boat that works great on our lakes - even the "dangerous" ones. You don't need a battleship to be safe on Tustamena.

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    Default Important Subject - Varying Viewpoints, but let's get one thing clear ...

    ...restrictions on motorized access does not mean access is completely denied.

    And Funtastic ... with all due respect, this quote is pretty strange:
    Quote Originally Posted by Funtastic
    No dog sledder could go where I trapped. The terrain and short daylight would make it a suicide mission.


    I've used dogs and snowshoes exclusively for winter travel for thirty years now. I've been asked many times why I never got into a snowmachine like so many other trappers. One of the reasons is that there is no way I can "access" my trapping grounds with a snowmachine. A snowmachine won't go up the steep terrain I cover, like when I have to walk behind and even push the sled while the dogs pull; a snowgo won't go up the cutbanks, etc. I live a half-degree below the Arctic Circle and daylight is indeed short in winter. I've pulled machines out with my dogteam a few times. Snowmachines have broken trail for me and saved my butt. The bottom line though; if you can access country with a machine, I have no doubt whatsoever, with five to ten dogs, I could cover it as well.

    Moving on to the larger issue of "access," one of the main problems I've encountered over the years in trying to compromise with the ATV/ORV motorized proponents is that they won't compromise. They want "unlimited" access. Sorry, but we will not support a plan that confines us to only certain trails. It's too hard to haul moose out if we can't drive right to the carcass etc.

    At a Board of Game meeting a few years back, the Board once again was asked to weigh in on airboat access ... wait for it... over land! A guy showed pictures of how some dudes built a ramp off a river, drove their airboat up it, and then traveled cross country over tundra for a couple miles. The pics were of what that kind of access left behind on the tundra.

    One of the newer and sadder (to me) arguments I've been hearing the last few years comes from "old" people who claim they can no longer access the country the way they used to ... cuz they are old. And they want/demand some kind of motorized access. Jim Posewitz, in his short yet excellent treatise, Beyond Fair Chase, delved into how it is (was) common when hunters grew older and unable to do what they could in their younger years, moved on to other kinds of hunting, like perhaps waterfowl or other hunts where physical strength and endurance wasn't so necessary, wanting to leave what they had experienced the same for the next generations.

    As far as public access like boat launches, and campground/fire/trash facilities, those are needed in certain places. And there is nothing inherently wrong with that. Neither is anything inherently wrong in creating new facilities in certain places nor limiting the size and scope of those kind of facilities.

    The bottom line with access issues is that not only is human population growing, but the technology and prevalence of motorized vehicles of all kinds (land and water) has expanded along with the ownership and uses of same across Alaska. I am flat out saddened when I look out of a cub window at the Fortymile country, and the Tanana Flats. It is not the Alaska I saw even in 1980 when I moved here, and it is not what I want Alaska to become.

    Public lands are valuable because they belong to us all. Parks and Refuges are valuable because they have differing management values. That isn't saying I agree with all the federal management plans. I'd sure like to see some sheep hunting in National Parks. And among the many books on the shelves here is one titled Mountains Without Handrails, about the hypocrisy of NPS deeming an area worthy of protecting yet building roads and handrails within said Parks for easier and growing public access. The original Yukon Charley plan called for a road up the Kandik River of all things!

    On one side we have the more more more! crowd that all too often wants unlimited access of all kinds. On the other we have the lock it up! crowd that wants nothing allowed but foot traffic after roads and trails are built and maintained in pristine areas. I've argued with both sides for a while now, and have come to find out us moderates (yes, I consider myself a moderate on access issues) are being drowned out. And we're lumped by both sides as the enemy.

    Compromise is hard. But it's necessary if we are to maintain any semblance of the Alaska so many of us have come to love so much.

  15. #15

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    "You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to bushrat again."

    Well stated.

    I'm getting old and tired now, have watched the imbalances supported by 'misinformation' from known 'unlimited access' organizations, witnessed folks too afraid to fight against that ilk - and lost. Some must hope the record will vaporize.
    This is indeed an important topic.



    "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

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    Bushrat, you might feel different if the Feds took away your dog sled access. Say like when skiers complain about teams of domesticated dogs barking, scaring wildlife, pooping, and tracking up the trail - ruining their quiet wilderness experience. The Feds are just looking for an opportunity to restrict more users.

    Your comments deserve attention....

    The fact is when access is made difficult enough, it becomes inaccessible. When reasonable access methods are removed, folks are shut out. And when users are funneled and confined, user conflicts emerge and additional access restrictions are imposed.

    Sure, you can put lipstick on the pig by saying folks aren't "completely" denied, but we both know that is not a reasonable argument - especially given the gargantuan, vast, and remote size of public land we are talking about that's just sitting idle - an area bigger than Texas, and within it Wilderness Designations the size of Wyoming.

    In fact locking up public land by making it inaccessible was the whole point behind the Wilderness Designation...

    Before you came to Alaska, it was the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society who formed the Alaska Coalition, and politically convinced Jimmy Carter to executive order these huge chunks of public land as Wilderness Designations. Remember, Wilderness Designations are bans - not just on vehicles and motorized access, but things like campgrounds, reasonable recreational uses, and with few exception even roads, hiking trails, and public use cabins. The movement ignited by the Coalition eventually resulted in the Alaska Native Claim Settlement Act and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. The State, along with Alaskan's, lost control of their land in one swoop. Over 99% is now government owned - almost 65% by the Feds, making up 1/3 of all Federal public lands in the entire country, and 55% of the entire country's Wilderness Designation. Wilderness Designation = removing uses that make it accessible - lock it up and look at it from an airplane.

    So with all due respect, and since I was the one who first mentioned a "reasonable balance", I find your comment about yourself being a "moderate" strange. While I respect your unique dog mushing enthusiasm, your idea that the public has access because they can simply be a superman dog sledder like you, is not moderate. In my opinion it is rather selfish, and I fear you might be out of touch with the size, diversity, terrain, and public use needs throughout the rest of Alaska. Limiting access to dogsled immediately eliminates most all users, and heavily limits access to vast areas.

    I'm not going to enter into a John Henry pizzing match about dogsled vs. snowmobile. I have no doubt whatsoever that you could not access my old trap line by dogsled. Nothing personal, but with no knowledge about my trap line, your confidence comes across as a little presumptuous and perhaps even ignorant.

    The point about my trap line is that I used to have access to it by snowmobile, and now I don't. The Refuge took it away when they "updated" their Plan. And without winter travel by snowmobile, the area is inaccessible. Mind you this is an area where my access was already established and wasn't harming a thing.

    As far as the motorized issue; it is misleading and deceptive to portray motorized users as folks who want "unlimited access", "won't compromise", and who want to drive "airboats over tundra." That opinion is far from "moderate." It's certainly out of touch with what most motorized users want. It highlights a few morons and uses their stupidity as scapegoat justification.

    No group has been more unwilling to compromise, or want unlimited amounts of public land preserved, or impose unreasonable restrictions for irrational reasons, than the preservationists. When Wilderness Designation went through, it became the preservation group's Holy Grail. No user group has compromised and given up more access than motorized users. The record proves it.

    You're comment about access for "old people" and how they should just move on is disturbing. It is the "old people" who teach our young. It is the "old people" who establish context. We need them to show young outdoorsmen their spots and their ways. The laws requiring access to our public lands make no mention of discrimination to age or ability. Just because "old people" might not be physically able to access their public land via dog sled, does not mean they should be denied access by other reasonable means. Are you saying it's ok for certain people, like native people, to have motorized access, but not "old people?" Why wouldn't you want "old people" to have some motorized access?

    I agree population is growing and motorization is becoming more advanced. However, what you don't elude to is that at the same time, motorized access has decreased. When Wilderness Designations were imposed motorized users immediately lost access to public land the size of Wyoming. And each new plan review/revision takes away more and more, bit by bit, funneling and confining users to areas like the Tanana flats.

    Hypocrisy is not protecting an area by providing access, as gleaned in Mountains Without Handrails. Hypocrisy is providing hundreds of millions of acres of access, and then making it inaccessible. Hypocrisy is establishing public land for public use, and then removing the users.

    Yes, we have the more, more, more crowd and the lock it up crowd. Which leads me back to my original comments in these discussions about finding a balance. That is my goal.

    What we have in relation to public land and access to it, is not a balance. The trend on record of taking more and more access away is not a balance. The idea that Alaska's public land is saturated with use and access, or that it will be ruined if we open more or even maintain and upgrade what exists, is completely irrational. The idea that motorized users are bad, uncompromising, and not necessary as long as we have sled dogs is unreasonable. The idea that I have access and you shouldn't is selfish.

    We haven't even begun to tap the benefits from our public land. There is plenty of it for all users. We don't have to be funneled into confined areas. If more of it was accessible we probably wouldn't even be having this discussion. Again for the extremists here, we aren't talking about blowing everything wide open, or a handful of morons who abuse it. But how about some more access, and repairs and upgrades to the few we have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 68 Bronco View Post
    "You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to bushrat again."

    Well stated.

    I'm getting old and tired now, have watched the imbalances supported by 'misinformation' from known 'unlimited access' organizations, witnessed folks too afraid to fight against that ilk - and lost. Some must hope the record will vaporize.
    This is indeed an important topic.



    Unfortunately the record disagrees. Our public lands have always been and continue to be imbalanced by the extreme preservationist organizations and their misinformation. A quick review of the history of Alaska's public land, along with studying the management plan revisions, and you will be better informed about who has fought the ilk and lost.

  18. #18
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    I am all for public access. I agree with much of what Funtastic has said. I hate it when I get closed out of an area because I am a motorized user and do not have the time to walk/ski into an area for several days just to go see and use our public lands.
    I don't want our lands completly developed but I do wish more of it was bettere accessible to the majority of the public. We cant all ride horseback or dogsleds.
    When the director of the Chugach says he doesn't care what the federal laws says he will make his own rules for the Chugach and it's users that is wrong.And yes he did say just that in a teleconference with the AMA and The GPAA and some other user groups.
    As fgar as the dogsled comments I wholeheartedly disagree though.
    Funtastic have you read the books by Julie and Miki Collins on their dogsled trapline near lake Minchumina?
    From reading their books and what little else I know about dog mushing from various reading and talking to mushers I have to say you are dead wrong. P
    eople like bushrat or the Collins twins would take your old trapline as a challenge and do it just for fun and to prove you wrong.
    The Collins twins take a dog mushing vacation nearly every year deep into the heart of Denali in areas few humans dare to go.
    The challenges they face make my hardest days on a smowmachine trip seem like a walk in the park.
    I know that is why some Alaskans have yet to embrace the snowmachine. Sleddogs don't require a specific octane of gasoline or require special parts. They go place most snowmachines cannot regardless of the weather or the terrain.
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Funstastic View Post
    Unfortunately the record disagrees. Our public lands have always been and continue to be imbalanced by the extreme preservationist organizations and their misinformation. A quick review of the history of Alaska's public land, along with studying the management plan revisions, and you will be better informed about who has fought the ilk and lost.
    May I ask what you mean by '... public lands .... continue to be imbalanced..' ?
    Would you identify for readers verifiable misinformation referenced in your accusation?

    By what measure is my experience and how informed I may or may not be within your grasp?
    "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

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    If I am not mistaken "Wilderness land" does not mean you do not have access to it. I hunted the West Elk wilderness area for years in CO and I could go there anytime of the year as much as I wanted to go. Wilderness land means they limit how you can go into the lands like by foot or horse back no motorized travel.

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