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Thread: ANWR and the future of Sheep Hunting

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    Default ANWR and the future of Sheep Hunting

    So in the world of politics the ANWR debate centers around drilling. This thread is NOT to discuss that issue.

    I don't hear nor read about other ramifications if it does become Designated Wilderness. But, if by some chance ANWR does become a Designated Wilderness Area, how will that affect hunting guides, transporters and DIY fly in hunters? I have done some research and ANILCA allows for some exceptions in Designated Wilderness but I doubt a guy could hire a transporter and have him drop you on a gravel bar wherever. In the Selway-Bitteroot there are designated landing strips and existing lodges got grandfathered in I think.

    Anyway, this could be yet another issue regarding Sheep Hunting, Guides, etc. in the Brooks. Thoughts or better yet facts of how this would affect things?

    http://www.newsminer.com/news/alaska...011fdb032.html
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    Hunting is currently allowed in designated wilderness areas within ANWR. That wouldn't change. The types of use could certainly change. It would be a sticky political fight with the public against federal control over public lands. Guides can currently be licensed in designated wilderness areas, and transporters and hunters also have access to hunt and fish. What it would mean more than anything politically is limit the mining of natural resources. That's probably going to be the deciding factor.

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    A good chunk of ANWR is already "Wilderness". The Mollie Beattie Wilderness as I recall. That area already covers some of the best sheep hunting and as Larry said, you can currently hunt there.

    Yk

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    Just my 2 cents...this isn't going to happen. This would have to be passed by congress, and as the republicans control the house and the senate and they are generally against this....not going to happen.

    Now looking back, I could see how this could have happened in 2009 or early in 2010 when the democrats controlled the white house, house, and senate...

    In my opinion, this is the democrats trying to play politics in advance of the 2016 elections. They want to start showing the American people that (as an example on this issue), that the republicans are all for destroying the environment in the name of oil exploration. The white house must know this issue will not be passed by the legislative branch, so this is the only explanation that makes any sense at all.

    Again, just my 2 cents.

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    "RAMifications..." Nice play.

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    Yes, I am aware that hunting, guiding, etc. can and does happen in Designated Wilderness areas. But, "wheels down" wherever you want does not happen. It's regulated for both guides and the general public.

    Personally I've never flown into the Brooks but have heard the stories of numerous sheep hunters being flown in by transporters and dropped on top of each other. If the feds designate a certain number of landing strips it seems it could increase crowding between guide/DYI hunters even more, which as we all know is a hot topic now in regards to sheep hunting in Alaska.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    Yes, I am aware that hunting, guiding, etc. can and does happen in Designated Wilderness areas. But, "wheels down" wherever you want does not happen. It's regulated for both guides and the general public.

    Personally I've never flown into the Brooks but have heard the stories of numerous sheep hunters being flown in by transporters and dropped on top of each other. If the feds designate a certain number of landing strips it seems it could increase crowding between guide/DYI hunters even more, which as we all know is a hot topic now in regards to sheep hunting in Alaska.
    What is the access situation currently like in the portion of ANWR that is already wilderness? Are users currently able to fly into that area?
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    What is the access situation currently like in the portion of ANWR that is already wilderness? Are users currently able to fly into that area?
    Generally speaking no motorized access (including airplanes) is allowed in Designated Wilderness with a few exceptions like designated landing strips. However, because of the uniqueness of Alaska and rural/subsistence life styles, ANILCA provides exceptions for "subsistence and traditional" uses. I doubt Joe Schmo resident sheep hunter can fly his plane up there and land wherever he wants/can. Perhaps guides and/or transporters have some exception, I don't know.

    Anyway, I don't know much about all this but it seems that if ANWR becomes Designated Wilderness it will have some type of impact on non-substance/traditional use hunters that currently rely on airplanes to get them to the happy hunting grounds.

    Maybe some around here that are well versed on ANILCA, etc. will chime in. I'm still learning.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    Anyway, I don't know much about all this but it seems that if ANWR becomes Designated Wilderness it will have some type of impact on non-substance/traditional use hunters that currently rely on airplanes to get them to the happy hunting grounds.
    Yeah, I'm familiar with typical wilderness access regs., but I know there can be exceptions to the non-motorized rules. Was hoping someone intimate with the existing ANWR wilderness access situation would weigh in, so we didn't have to just speculate. About half the sheep turf in ANWR is already wilderness....I can't imagine it's not being hunted.
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    I know, and know of, airplane owners who fly in to ANWR to hunt. To my knowledge the only folks "regulated" are commercial users, guides/transporters. Otherwise airplanes go where they like. It doesn't have to be a "wilderness" to get regulated. Crowding and over use of an area resulting in damage to the land can draw managers to close areas as it is now.
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    In Designated Wilderness Areas (DWA) on ANWR hunters and anglers are legally allowed to access by aircraft (albeit motorized by definition). Even motorboats are an acceptable means of access into DWA. The only two things that will be limited with expanding the DWA within ANWR is commercial filming and resource development.

    If you look at the rivers proposed to be included into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers (NWSR) designation, they are the currently the rivers with highest summer and fall visitation on the Refuge. The Atigun is at the top of peak visitation, followed by the Kongakut, then the Marsh Fork and Hulahula. These rivers wont likely make it to the change of NWSR, but if they were to be adopted it would allow ANWR management to allocate (potentially) a full time resource management position to focus on ways to monitor land use and visitation and perhaps recommend ways to limit to use for the management of the wilderness experience on these river corridors specifically. That would mean potentially limiting transporters in some way that fosters the overall experience achievable by its users.

    As the Federal laws are written, there is currently no limit to the allowable # of air transporter applications, which means there is no current limit on land use and access. Something has to change this, lest we continue to see an abundance of access and experience conflicts compounded by over crowding.

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    Thanks Larry. From what I've read, ANILCA is what allows the motorized access in the current Mollie Beattie Wilderness which is a DWA.

    It seems that the more a guy looks into this the more complicated it gets but that limiting access is on the agenda somewhere somehow. At least that's what this statement appears to say....

    http://www.newsminer.com/news/alaska...011fdb032.html

    The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s comprehensive conservation plan and final environmental impact statement for ANWR has three major points:
    • Recommends that 12.28 million acres of ANWR, including the coastal plain, be designated as wilderness. More than 7 million acres of the 19.3 million acre refuge are currently managed as wilderness. Only Congress can grant the wilderness designation, however.
    • Recommends the Atigun, Hulahula, Kongakut, and Marsh Fork Canning rivers be added to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
    • Implements actions to “improve visitor experience and resource conditions” in the Kongakut River valley. These include reducing the number of visitors and increasing the enforcement of permit conditions and refuge regulations.
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    For others like me who are trying to get up to speed on this DWA, Alaska, ANWR, ANILCA, etc. This article is a good summary if one does not want to wade through government legal documents...

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...rticles_id=524

    During the many hearings leading up to the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) of 1980, Congress recognized that Alaskan conservation system units, including designated wilderness areas, must be managed differently to address Alaska’s fledgling economy and infrastructure, and distinctive way of life. Prohibiting modes of access such as snowmachines, dogsleds, motorboats, or airplanes would have effectively closed these areas to all use. It was also recognized that because of the unprecedented acreage of land under consideration as wilderness and because many people lived in and adjacent to these areas, allowances were necessary to accommodate the unique Alaskan lifestyle.
    Therefore, ANILCA allows the use of snowmachines, motorboats, airplanes, and non-motorized surface transportation, such as dog sleds and pack animals, for traditional activities, which include hunting, fishing, trapping, and recreation in Alaskan designated wilderness areas. Subsistence users are allowed to use snowmachines, motorboats, and other forms of transportation traditionally employed for subsistence purposes. Additionally, ANILCA provides for use and construction of cabins within designated wilderness for subsistence uses by local area residents and for public health and safety reasons.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    In Designated Wilderness Areas (DWA) on ANWR hunters and anglers are legally allowed to access by aircraft (albeit motorized by definition). Even motorboats are an acceptable means of access into DWA. The only two things that will be limited with expanding the DWA within ANWR is commercial filming and resource development.

    If you look at the rivers proposed to be included into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers (NWSR) designation, they are the currently the rivers with highest summer and fall visitation on the Refuge. The Atigun is at the top of peak visitation, followed by the Kongakut, then the Marsh Fork and Hulahula. These rivers wont likely make it to the change of NWSR, but if they were to be adopted it would allow ANWR management to allocate (potentially) a full time resource management position to focus on ways to monitor land use and visitation and perhaps recommend ways to limit to use for the management of the wilderness experience on these river corridors specifically. That would mean potentially limiting transporters in some way that fosters the overall experience achievable by its users.

    As the Federal laws are written, there is currently no limit to the allowable # of air transporter applications, which means there is no current limit on land use and access. Something has to change this, lest we continue to see an abundance of access and experience conflicts compounded by over crowding.
    Sounds like there could be a lot of benefit to getting the rest of the ANWR sheep habitat into DW, but it's a moot point, really, because there is zero chance in hell that the current congress would ever do such a thing.
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    Plus the Korth family still lives up there. You would have to keep open access to the couple of places they are at.
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    yep, xactly my thoughts.

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    None of the federal areas have a chance now. Not after all these posts about how they are not overcrowded. .lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    So in the world of politics the ANWR debate centers around drilling. This thread is NOT to discuss that issue.

    I don't hear nor read about other ramifications if it does become Designated Wilderness. But, if by some chance ANWR does become a Designated Wilderness Area, how will that affect hunting guides, transporters and DIY fly in hunters? I have done some research and ANILCA allows for some exceptions in Designated Wilderness but I doubt a guy could hire a transporter and have him drop you on a gravel bar wherever. In the Selway-Bitteroot there are designated landing strips and existing lodges got grandfathered in I think.

    Anyway, this could be yet another issue regarding Sheep Hunting, Guides, etc. in the Brooks. Thoughts or better yet facts of how this would affect things?

    http://www.newsminer.com/news/alaska...011fdb032.html

    Snyd; FWIW, I've spent many years Hunting and Fishing in Wilderness Areas in the Western Lower 48, especially the Selway and the Frank-Church River of No-Return,,,, I've attached below, a Web site for Data/Info: Sheet that will give you some of the answers, to your questions you've posed here, this info: sheet is pretty much on "Par" with most, if not all the area's I've been too. The Selway-Bitterroot was born in 1964, the Frank-Church in 1980.

    Attachment 83032
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    [ Retired and Living the "Dream" in Alaska, Semper-Fi ]

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    Quote Originally Posted by oakman View Post
    Just my 2 cents...this isn't going to happen. This would have to be passed by congress, and as the republicans control the house and the senate and they are generally against this....not going to happen.

    Now looking back, I could see how this could have happened in 2009 or early in 2010 when the democrats controlled the white house, house, and senate...

    In my opinion, this is the democrats trying to play politics in advance of the 2016 elections. They want to start showing the American people that (as an example on this issue), that the republicans are all for destroying the environment in the name of oil exploration. The white house must know this issue will not be passed by the legislative branch, so this is the only explanation that makes any sense at all.

    Again, just my 2 cents.
    Yep.

    True, all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    .....would allow ANWR management to allocate (potentially) a full time resource management position to focus on ways to monitor land use and visitation and perhaps recommend ways to limit to use for the management of the wilderness experience on these river corridors specifically. That would mean potentially limiting transporters in some way that fosters the overall experience achievable by its users.

    As the Federal laws are written, there is currently no limit to the allowable # of air transporter applications, which means there is no current limit on land use and access. Something has to change this, lest we continue to see an abundance of access and experience conflicts compounded by over crowding.
    So, from your perspective:

    What is preventing ANWR management from allocating existing resources (manpower) to monitor land use and visitation now?

    And...as far as 'potentially limiting transporters' why would ANWR managers not consider limiting the users and thus allowing the actual user to decide whether they want to...for example...use their own airplane for access or hire an air taxi?

    It seems this method (limiting the USER) might not require new Federal laws (and a dedicated ANWR management person) you say are both necessary elements required to limit the # of air taxi applications.

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