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Thread: Mat Valley Moose Range/Wasilla Cr. Salmon Habitat Conditions

  1. #1

    Angry Mat Valley Moose Range/Wasilla Cr. Salmon Habitat Conditions

    Land Manager - DNR

    KTUU text version http://www.ktuu.com/content/news/No-...ent-2723813283

    'Travis the reporter' - KTUU news vid can be found here (scroll down to June 7 post to view) https://www.facebook.com/travisthereporter/timeline

    F&G reports diverted stream flow, heavily damaged areas, many juvenile salmon present, and great difficulty in even reaching the crossings to erect signage.
    No solutions for slowing the damages to date - photos taken May 23.
    Multi agency meeting discussed 'short -term' solutions - lasting solutions needed. No dry route through the Moose Range has been found in spite of efforts by uncompromising 'access by any means at any costs' advocates.

    Mud bogging venue or salmon habitat? Laws or no?
    This is how we treat salmon habitat in Mat Su........

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  2. #2

    Default More photos

    (Dozens more on file)
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    That's really sad and disgraceful.

    I'm not familiar with those trails. Would it be feasible to put in a few bridges and trail mats to minimize disturbances. Or is this not a matter of crossing streams but driving up them?

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by HikerDan View Post
    That's really sad and disgraceful.

    I'm not familiar with those trails. Would it be feasible to put in a few bridges and trail mats to minimize disturbances. Or is this not a matter of crossing streams but driving up them?
    Six figures of grant monies for 5 ATV bridges at the crossings , much volunteer work, local residents donating time and equipment, etc. has been spent over the years. These are crossings, not driving up streams, with a few exceptions where fresh waters that feed streams are diverted by rutting.
    The former head of Palmer Soil & Water Conservation District (PSWCD) that began this conservation project years ago was admittedly in near tears upon viewing the recent photos. A planned sixth bridge was cancelled when it became apparent 'moose buggies' with approx. 44in. tires were crossing alongside the bridges and subsequently mowing down barriers (steel posts and that orange mesh stuff) - the bridges rendered moot.
    A $50K ORTAB grant went 'unclaimed' by Wasilla SWCD when they had internal issues, no office, no employees for a period. That grant was for maintenance and to upgrade the bridges to Side by Side width - also rendered moot by the big rigs.
    Trail mats not adequate - this goes on for miles between crossing and I personally doubt the abusers grasp the costs and could ever manage the bill , “Outdoor folks don't mind paying their own way, and if there's a possibility that we can leverage our money from the use of ORV so we can build bridges that would adequately allow all of the legal rigs to go across that and not be in the spawning beds,” said Rod Arno (KTUU News - linked previously) Bridges for moose buggies at many stream crossings?? And the destroyed, multi braided trails between?
    This is a handful of people turning a 'multi-use' trail into single use and harming fish habitat - one cannot even walk w/o difficulty; circumventing multi braids around even the ATV trails that have, in turn circumvented the moose buggy trails. Hard to describe the mess.
    Suffuce it to say F&G had to winch their SXS out twice to reach just two crossings.

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    This a huge failure to protect fish habitat. F&G and Troopers can hardly get to the sites to do their respective tasks.
    Keep in mind DNR is responsible for the trails and F&G virtually powerless since they can only deal with only up to high water on the streams.
    State agencies at cross purposes. Management, Education, Funding, Enforcement - Fail
    "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knofler

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    *sigh*

    that sucks.

    I have trouble with the idea that the Troopers can't afford to prioritize some enforcement, but man why can't people take some pride in their stewardship of our resources.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 68 Bronco View Post
    This is a handful of people turning a 'multi-use' trail into single use and harming fish habitat
    There you said it in a nutshell and this is why I disagree with many of your statements/methods of approach. Complete land closures is not the right answer. Once closed, not only will it never reopen again, but traction will be gained by those far leaning the other way to continue to close, close, close.
    There is no crystal ball to 100% long term forever solve all the issues. When and if a long term solution is found for ALL affected areas it will take YEARS for the bureaucratic red tape to process and then it is too late. Short term solutions need to be worked which include bridges and better enforcement. (trail cams?)

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derby06 View Post
    There you said it in a nutshell and this is why I disagree with many of your statements/methods of approach. Complete land closures is not the right answer. Once closed, not only will it never reopen again, but traction will be gained by those far leaning the other way to continue to close, close, close.
    There is no crystal ball to 100% long term forever solve all the issues. When and if a long term solution is found for ALL affected areas it will take YEARS for the bureaucratic red tape to process and then it is too late. Short term solutions need to be worked which include bridges and better enforcement. (trail cams?)
    Pray tell where did you read " Complete land closures ..." How about responsible use, compatible uses, common sense, even discussion on compromises. Are you in favor of ongoing salmon habitat loss?


    Multiple bridges for 10K lbs. plus on back trails ? $$$$$$$$$ And the trail damages? You buying? Where do we stop buying and practice wise use?
    Trails cams do not help - they get shot, plus the Troopers "need a license number". ORV's do not have plates - lobby for same to support your idea - time is here. Then watch the DA throw it out because of other important cases.
    I'm reminding you enforcement cannot now reach the destinations.

    (Trail cams Were tried in this case.) There are laws on the books regarding salmon habitat.
    "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knofler

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    Bronco:

    Do you believe that the troopers have made an honest, prioritized effort to catch and cite some of these folks for a Class A misdemeanor?

    The threat of a year in jail and a $10,000 fine would catch a bit of attention.

    It's hard for me to believe that it's really that difficult to catch these guys in the act. It's just a matter of prioritizing enforcement. This enforcement seems more important to me than a lot of fish and game enforcement that the troopers engage in.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by HikerDan View Post
    Bronco:

    Do you believe that the troopers have made an honest, prioritized effort to catch and cite some of these folks for a Class A misdemeanor?

    The threat of a year in jail and a $10,000 fine would catch a bit of attention.

    It's hard for me to believe that it's really that difficult to catch these guys in the act. It's just a matter of prioritizing enforcement. This enforcement seems more important to me than a lot of fish and game enforcement that the troopers engage in.
    Of course Troopers are underfunded and have murderers to pursue, etc., but I must say it is high time to ask them your question.
    Due to the recent 'multi agency meeting' inspired by considerable effort and immediate response from the F&G Director (hooray!), perhaps we will see the action you suggest.
    I do not have confirmation, yet, regarding prioritized enforcement - but there is word from an F&G biologist that this 'debacle' constitutes 'enough' and this problem area is a priority.

    Here is how I see this - DNR is allowing/enabling obvious incompatible uses and that is why I have referenced the Rex Tr. decision to the agencies and all involved.
    I think it is time to change up management parameters so that F&G and LE can perform their missions. They are unable to under the present scheme. I can cite other examples.

    Sure would be nice if users wised up and did not make this so hard. That indeed takes the issuance of significant fines to sink in, it seems.
    I also know that no crossing permits have been issued for this area in years.

    I even attempted to talk to folks about giving this area a break while attempts are made to sort this out - no deal.
    "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knofler

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    Quote Originally Posted by 68 Bronco View Post
    Pray tell where did you read " Complete land closures ..."
    A quote of yours from another forum.
    "Push very hard now for a moratorium on Moose Range damaging uses, give the place a break, let it dry out and buy some time to work on solutions - gain respect in the process."



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk-- Ain't technology great!

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derby06 View Post
    A quote of yours from another forum.
    "Push very hard now for a moratorium on Moose Range damaging uses, give the place a break, let it dry out and buy some time to work on solutions - gain respect in the process."
    moratorium |ˌmôrəˈtôrēəm, ˌmär-|noun (pl. moratoriums or moratoria |-ˈtôrēə| )a temporary prohibition of an activity: an indefinite moratorium onthe use of drift nets.• Law a legal authorization to debtors to postpone payment.ORIGIN late 19th cent.: modern Latin, neuter (used as a noun) of late Latinmoratorius ‘delaying,’ from Latin morat- ‘delayed,’ from the verbmorari, from mora ‘delay.’



    " .........The bridge is in the background ........... The truck activity has captured the channel and now only about 25% of the flow goes under the bridge, the rest is now captured by the trail.These two shots are right next to each other. 9 crossings in about 150 feet. Moose Range .............."

    - State agency personnel photo and comment partial





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    I know the definition of moratorium.
    Look again at my post--I said once it is closed, not only will it never reopen again, but traction will be gained by those far leaning the other way to continue to close, close, close.
    In addition, look at you own posted definition, the example is an indefinite moratorium, which makes it permanent.

    I know that your intentions are good, but closing is not the right answer. I even recall you supporting (maybe even spearheading) a 25' easement restricting motorized use within the Knik Public Use area; even though there was no motorized issues or activity in the specific area you wanted restricted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HikerDan View Post
    Bronco:

    Do you believe that the troopers have made an honest, prioritized effort to catch and cite some of these folks for a Class A misdemeanor?

    The threat of a year in jail and a $10,000 fine would catch a bit of attention.

    It's hard for me to believe that it's really that difficult to catch these guys in the act. It's just a matter of prioritizing enforcement. This enforcement seems more important to me than a lot of fish and game enforcement that the troopers engage in.
    Yes, I know they do. But you are talking about 1 or 2 guys in an area who might have time to patrol these areas once a week (maybe only weekend, on overtime hours)... They get special OT budgets through DNR to prioritize, and its still a drop in the bucket. Given the current situation they cannot justify the priority. The second a more high profile crime occurs, and the troopers response is questioned because they were writing a land use or stream crossing violation, oh boy, will the **** hit the fan...

    But you are hitting the nail on the head, and the lack of enforcement is a recurring problem that stops many of these issues from being resolved, but I dont think its the ultimate problem. And its not just underfunded and understaffed Troopers leading to the lackluster enforcement. The "Generally Allowed Uses on State Land" which aside from the stream crossing statues, is the only other piece of law on the books that LE can turn to to enforce, is an unenforceable mess... Its so vague and subjective, its no surprise its basically never enforced. LE does not want to pursue enforcement that a ADA doesn't want to prosecute because its a nebulous law that has lots of grey area, is not high profile, and ends up being considered low priority... Even slam dunk stream habitat violations often go un-prosecuted.

    Efforts to turn these violations into citable offensives (resulting in a hefty fine instead of a court appearance) would help the troopers dramatically, but they have been thwarted when proposed by DNR/ADF&G by the various groups promoting no land use restrictions (one cited in this article). Changes to Generally Allowed Uses on State Land would help, but that would require the legislature to change them (good luck with that!)... Their solution a few years ago was to finally give a handful of DNR employee's the authority to write citations (previously only some F&G staff had that outside the Troopers) for Land Use Violations... But they are not generally out patrolling every day, and the law is still a joke.

    Getting more troopers out there would be great (but unrealistic considering the current belief that the State should still be cutting budgets even further across the board), but I dont believe it would solve anything until the laws on the books are more restrictive, and more clearly enforceable with actual consequences that would affect change in the population (namely, big fines)... The generally allowed uses on the books as it is was fine when ATV's were in their infancy and the population was 2x smaller, but now ownership rates are exponentially higher and they are all out their whooping it up and tearing the **** out of the landscape with no regard for impacts..... And then just as the managing agencies were starting to grasp the scale of ATV use and starting to address the impacts, the SxS's come along and have a bigger footprint, require wider bridges, have more ground pressure and greater impact...

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    Laws do not need to be more restrictive, but do need and more enforcement with actual consequences.

    It never that easy....BUT....
    It would be great to get violations written to as where it was a fine and/or confiscation of rigs used. After a couple of folks lost their 5-50+K Moosebuggy; 4x4; SxS; ATV; etc, and the truck and trailer they used to get it out there, word would spread fast. Following the rules, using the bridges, etc; staying in allowed areas would increase significantly.

    IN EDIT: This would affect a few parents as well--They are responsible until the child reaches 18!

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    Ok "restrictive" may be the wrong word, because depending on your perspective, it could already be defined as restrictive, yet completely unenforceable...
    11 AAC 96.020. Generally allowed uses

    (D) using a highway vehicle with a curb weight of up to 10,000 pounds, including a pickup truck and four-wheel-drive vehicle, on or off an established road easement, if the use off the road easement does not cause or contribute to water quality degradation, alteration of drainage systems, significant rutting, ground disturbance, or thermal erosion;

    (E) using a recreational-type off-road or all-terrain vehicle with a curb weight of up to 1,500 pounds, including a snowmobile and four-wheeler, on or off an established road easement if use off the road easement does not cause or contribute to water quality degradation, alteration of drainage systems, significant rutting, ground disturbance, or thermal erosion;


    Its completely unrealistic to expect a trooper to determine if an activity is causing thermal erosion... I would argue 99% of troopers could not even define thermal erosion, or tell you whether an activity and its resulting impacts is contributing to water quality degradation.
    Even an expert on water quality could not easily defend this... Because what constitutes degradation is not defined..
    One person could interpret this as incredibly restrictive, where basically no activity that alterations to stream flow that create any erosion should occur, while another could interpret it the complete opposite..

    Everyone of the pictures in this thread show an altered drainage system.. There is not a trail in Alaska that doesn't alter the drainage..

    Whats "significant" rutting, and how is it different from "insignificant" rutting... The majority of LE is not going to write tickets based on something so subjective..

    An unenforceable law might as well be no law at all..

    And this doesn't even touch on the problem that is a significant # users being in complete denial about the mere fact that their activities on public lands and resource have long lasting impacts, despite the overwhelming scientific evidence (cognitive dissonance)...

  16. #16

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    Just a quick reminder to all here that Troopers (and anyone) need witness offenses to prosecute.
    The current state of the trail and crossings in the Mat Valley Moose Range is so very bad that F&G and Troopers, by their own admission and experiences, cannot traverse the area to do their jobs.
    9 severely degraded crossing in approx. 150 ft. with 75% of the 'protected by law' salmon stream diverted! And that is just one small pc. of the damages in this one case.
    Let's face the reality.

    Tory Orleck, now retired head of AWT for Mat Su, said years ago, " It is impractical to enforce anadromous stream crossing laws."
    (I can find you the exact date, as I asked him his permission to quote, which he happily gave.)

    Isn't about time we figured out solutions to this corundum?

    Tell me Your ideas for affordable solutions.

    I have been willing to talk compromises, have referenced a case where some compromises have been put in place, etc. while some consistently dig in their heels, harbor conspiracy theories, seem content with the absolutely shamefully degraded condition of Wasilla Cr. in order to protect their 'rights', and offer no reasoned solutions. "I wheel when I want and where I want." A bad attitude - I don't think we need to identify the source, and therefore won't unless someone doubts the veracity.

    I posted this Wasilla Cr. case here because it is just plain nonsense to allow this to continue even another day while divisive, extremist views butt heads, render every personal attack they can conceive, and avoid facing the actual problem. I've seen enough degraded habitat and have had enough.

    Times, population and machines change - salmon habitat is for the future.

    Ah, respect:
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    Ideas for workable solutions:

    1) During the summer institute areas of complete closure to vehicles that are too wide to use the established bridges. Citations to be given at the trail-head. It wouldn't come with the Class-A misdemeanor for anadromous stream destruction, but it would simplify matters. It seems obvious on the face of the matter, given the destruction we see, that it's ridiculous to allow vehicles to use the range that can't use the bridges.

    2) Require all users to sign in/out at the trail head with their name and vehicle type. I don't want to charge the users a fee, but make it a cite-able offense to drive a vehicle in the range without signing in/out.

    3) Install trail cameras at crossings and install a billboard with a wall of shame showing everybody that is photographed illegally crossing streams. I guess I know that the billboard would be shot, burned and buried... but a man can dream.)

    4) Fill popular stream crossings with caltrops that puncture tires. (I know we can't do that, but again a man can dream)

  18. #18

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    On June 13, I proposed a 'short-term' solution to Clark Cox, Regional Manager, DNR MLW to stop the damages now while this is being sorted out - reasonable in light of the extensive damages and growing costs. Also, I believe, within DNR's power to do so per the Rex Trail decision and the responsible thing to do.

    Must point out here that 'seasonal, moratorium, and indefinite' need not be twisted into 'permanent'. None of them have the same definition and to contend so is not only technically wrong, but assumptive, counterproductive, distracting from a situation arguably requiring solutions now, and perhaps indicative of unwillingness to formulate working compromises that ensure healthy salmon habitat. I wish not to indulge in conversation redefining words to suit personal beliefs.

    Stop this obvious destruction now, then give everyone their chance to weigh in on long-term proposals. Fair enough?
    Or is your vote for the status quo ?
    "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knofler

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    Do us both a favor and don't start throwing out derogatory things about folks that disagree with you. I am not being counterproductive, distracting, or unwilling to compromise.
    We ALL have personal belief's and assumptions.
    You believe several areas need to be closed immediately 24/7 to ALL motorized access assuming that there in no immediate alternative.
    I believe that immediate 24/7 closure of areas to ALL motorized access is not necessary. My assumption is once they are closed it will be VERY difficult to reopen end up being permanent closures.

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    Derby:

    I'm curious? What do you think that could be done that has a realistic shot of stopping enough of the destruction so that more draconian measures aren't needed?

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