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Thread: Rex Trail Closure

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    Default Rex Trail Closure

    Here is the link to the DNR website notification of the closure of the Rex Trail to off-road vehicles.

    http://www.dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/rextrail/

    I have been huniting this area with track rigs for over fifty years. It was only with the surge in popularity of 4 wheelers and other like vehicles did the damage expand. Oddly enough, most of the recent damage to the environment from use of the trail has been done by 4 wheelers. When trail conditions are bad, wheelers can't travel in the main trail. as most larger rigs can, and they begin to spread out, braiding the trail exponentiallly. Adding to this, is the Fish and Game touting this area as the largest population of moose in the state, and opening several cow moose seasons. This has led to a rapid expansion of use by all. If they close it to one user that opens the door to closure to all users.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dune View Post
    ....I have been huniting this area with track rigs for over fifty years.....
    Oh, well. It was probably good for the half century it lasted.

    .....It was only with the surge in popularity of 4 wheelers and other like vehicles did the damage expand. Oddly enough, most of the recent damage to the environment from use of the trail has been done by 4 wheelers. When trail conditions are bad, wheelers can't travel in the main trail. as most larger rigs can, and they begin to spread out, braiding the trail exponentiallly. Adding to this, is the Fish and Game touting this area as the largest population of moose in the state, and opening several cow moose seasons. This has led to a rapid expansion of use by all.....
    Yup. All that is true.

    And guess who it has been registering complaints with ADFG and DNR? Environmental NGOs?

    Nope. It has been your competition; the folks on the wheelers and the few folks with land in the area.

    ....If they close it to one user that opens the door to closure to all users.
    The history of access restrictions since ANILCA has been selective. Currently there is a war against the "big rigs". While the Feds continue their war against all motorized access, the state has gone more incremental, and is blessing rigs <1500 lbs.

    Of course, that's just temporary. A couple of decades from now that will change, too...............

    But one of the primary driving forces bringing increased access restrictions are locals keeping others out. The Koyukuk Controled Use Area is a case in point. It began as a no-fly zone about 30 years ago, and the driving force were the villages resentful at "city boys" flying in and shooting "their" moose.

    Then riverboaters were increasingly paying the costs in time and fuel to access the area from the railbelt. The complaints grew.

    Now it's a drawing permit scheme, combined with the obligatory subsistence opportunity (which requires cutting antlers up).

    Political games....................

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    Member Matt's Avatar
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    This whole Rex trail issue is becoming great. In one hand, we got some posters claiming that the big rigs are doing all the damage and thus, this is why we are in this position now. However, in the other hand, people who use big rigs and tracked rigs, are claiming that the four-wheelers are doing the damage!

    So, who's lying?

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    From what I've seen the big track rigs actually improve the trail and the LARGE four wheel drive tractor tire vehicles seem to tear it up the most, and I would say ATV's under 1500 lbs. do minimal damage, just my observation.

    P.S. I hunt the Rex with a ATV under 1500 lbs.

  5. #5

    Default Rex

    I built a rig for the Rex or other trails to hunt moose/Bear. Now with the Rex closing I have to wonder what trail is next. Maybe my time and money spent to get out and enjoy the outdoors was wasted ??




    Soon AK will have laws prohibiting anybody from walking on the grass. The Kenai river is already there...

    Remember we are all in this together, The only reason the trails are there was from a Cat digging in a trail to get to an area to Gold mine. That is a pretty big ORV.... Only difference is time.

    I always clean up garbage and leave campsights better than I found them. I live in Alaska so that I have to worry about a bear while taking my midnight leak, not so I have to worry about if a trail is going to be open for the next years hunting season..

    The reason I believe the Rex was closed was the landowners on the trail wanted it to themselves ( My own .02$ )

    Norm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrant View Post
    I built a rig for the Rex or other trails to hunt moose/Bear. Now with the Rex closing I have to wonder what trail is next. Maybe my time and money spent to get out and enjoy the outdoors was wasted ??...
    I'm afraid so, and I'm truly sorry.

    The BOG did it in GMU 13 with ORVs >1500 lbs. at the same time they instituted an income limit for Tier II permits. That stipulation is common in State Game Refuges whether one is hunting or not.

    In time, it will be no motorized vehicles whatsoever:

    In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
    And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
    And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
    And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.
    Remember we are all in this together,
    I used to believe that. Not any more.

    People competing with you for game are as vicious (or more so) than the environmental industry. It's the old hunter/gatherer mentality.

    The reason I believe the Rex was closed was the landowners on the trail wanted it to themselves ( My own .02$ )
    I believe you're correct.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrant View Post
    I built a rig for the Rex or other trails to hunt moose/Bear. Now with the Rex closing I have to wonder what trail is next. Maybe my time and money spent to get out and enjoy the outdoors was wasted ??




    Soon AK will have laws prohibiting anybody from walking on the grass. The Kenai river is already there...

    Remember we are all in this together, The only reason the trails are there was from a Cat digging in a trail to get to an area to Gold mine. That is a pretty big ORV.... Only difference is time.

    I always clean up garbage and leave campsights better than I found them. I live in Alaska so that I have to worry about a bear while taking my midnight leak, not so I have to worry about if a trail is going to be open for the next years hunting season..

    The reason I believe the Rex was closed was the landowners on the trail wanted it to themselves ( My own .02$ )

    Norm

    BINGO!
    Mostly selfishness and greed the way I see it....and not all by the landowners either....others are in the mix with their own agendas!

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    As someone who has run into the mess left behind by rigs like that in the photo with my quad, I agree with the BOG decision. I mean really, man, that monstrosity is like running out there moose hunting in a Abrams tank...maybe it gets the job done but....... OVERKILL!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrant View Post
    The reason I believe the Rex was closed was the landowners on the trail wanted it to themselves ( My own .02$ )

    Norm

    I agree. The landowners are probably Californian transplants, anyways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    As someone who has run into the mess left behind by rigs like that in the photo with my quad, I agree with the BOG decision. I mean really, man, that monstrosity is like running out there moose hunting in a Abrams tank...maybe it gets the job done but....... OVERKILL!!!

    You agree that rules need to be set.

    So that as Alaskans we cannot use a form of transportation that has been used for 60+ years to access a remote part of our state to enjoy it's natural recources. I CANNOT agree with access being taken away, we only have so much then it will all be all gone.

    Every form of transportation has it's enviromental impact.

    Boats, leave oil in water, cause wakes to erode the bank of rivers.

    Airplanes, create landing strips that are (improved) over time and can be plainly seen from the air for many miles. I hate to say it but I have seen allot of garbage around landing strips.

    Four wheelers have to seek alternate methods when water gets too deep or the trail is too muddy. Trail then becomes braided,

    Buggys stay on the trail to attempt to tread lightly, but the holes get deep over time. You can definatly tell if the trail is used.

    I apologise for the lengthy rant, to sum it up. If you travel the backcountry you will leave a footprint. Even covered wagons left two tracks accross the western lower 48. Caribou migration paths can plainly be seen from the air.

    Everything causes a impact, even foot travel.

    We need to quit pointing fingers at each other and keep more trails from getting closed down.

    Norm

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    This in the last paragraph in the DNR Administrative decision. It says if the trail is still messed up they will make further closures. They sure as heck aren't going to re open it. The meeting on this decision are in Fairbanks on the 14th at the Noel Wien library at 7:00 pm
    The other meeting is on the 13th in Anderson at the School at 7:00 Pm.

    If this is allowed to stand we can expect a lot more of this type of management.

    This in not Fish and Game saying you can't hunt with these rigs. This is DNR saying you can't access this land PERIOD.

    Everyone needs to make a comment and a E-mail to the Governor. They are coming for the 4-wheelers make a stand now.
    ________________________________________________
    DNR recognizes the need for more comprehensive evaluation of trail conditions, the relative impacts caused by different vehicles (including the extent of additional trail damage resulting from primarily ATVs), clarity and appropriateness of existing Generally Allowed Use regulations (11 AAC 96.020), and potential long-term management options for the Rex Trail (trail upgrades, realignments, etc). This restriction, therefore, is considered to be temporary. It will remain in effect until new information regarding trail conditions, impacts, or use patterns justify a different management decision. DNR is developing a plan for additional trail assessment to be conducted this upcoming season; however, the nature and extent of such work is contingent upon funding and staff availability.




    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
    Unknown author

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    The Rex Trail from the highway to about half way between the Totatlanika and Tatlanika has been my families trapline since 1974.

    The problem really started in the early to mid eighty's when the gold miners plowed the trail with a D10 in March and April so they could haul their new equipment for the year back to the mine. This damaged the trail in numerous ways. It widened the trail substantially, they pealed the organic layer off exposing more soil, they knocked down a lot of the large trees along the edge of the trail allowing erosion to occur more rapidly. The berms of hard packed snow they left behind acted like dams and held the water in the trail, again speeding up the erosion.

    It's a shame the trail is in the condition it is. On top of the condition of the trail, you have people who don't know what a GARBAGE BAG is. I pick up other peoples garbage every trip out during the season, it gets frustrating after a while. I'm sure the people coming from other areas of the state wouldn't appreciate someone hammering a bunch of beers and throwing the cans on their front lawn.

    Sorry for my little rant, but that area means a lot to me, I've spent a good chunk of my life out on that trail.

    Ted

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    As someone who has run into the mess left behind by rigs like that in the photo with my quad, I agree with the BOG decision. I mean really, man, that monstrosity is like running out there moose hunting in a Abrams tank...maybe it gets the job done but....... OVERKILL!!!
    This is not a Board of Game decision this is the Dept. of Natural Resources. This is not a game management issue.

    My Big track rig cost me less than a new Honda quad. It makes less impact than a quad. I don't even hunt the Rex Trail but I know they are using divide and conquer tactics. You think I would come help next time WHEN they ban quads if everyone says " Ya get rid of those big rigs".

    Reading the DNR literature most of the problem comes from activities that is against the law now. Making new trails, Trespassing, driving in non-motorized areas, and other things that should be dealt with through enforcement.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
    Unknown author

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    I agree. The landowners are probably Californian transplants, anyways.
    Have you even been on the Rex Trail? That has to be one of the funnier things I've read on here in a while

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    So........

    Where's this Rex trail you speak of?

  16. #16

    Default Norm,

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrant View Post
    You agree that rules need to be set.

    So that as Alaskans we cannot use a form of transportation that has been used for 60+ years to access a remote part of our state to enjoy it's natural recources. I CANNOT agree with access being taken away, we only have so much then it will all be all gone.

    Every form of transportation has it's enviromental impact.

    Boats, leave oil in water, cause wakes to erode the bank of rivers.

    Airplanes, create landing strips that are (improved) over time and can be plainly seen from the air for many miles. I hate to say it but I have seen allot of garbage around landing strips.

    Four wheelers have to seek alternate methods when water gets too deep or the trail is too muddy. Trail then becomes braided,

    Buggys stay on the trail to attempt to tread lightly, but the holes get deep over time. You can definatly tell if the trail is used.

    I apologise for the lengthy rant, to sum it up. If you travel the backcountry you will leave a footprint. Even covered wagons left two tracks accross the western lower 48. Caribou migration paths can plainly be seen from the air.

    Everything causes a impact, even foot travel.

    We need to quit pointing fingers at each other and keep more trails from getting closed down.

    Norm
    This is correct......however one of things we need to think about is the impact of our actions. Rights and prior history don't enter into it. It is our own actions, as hunters and outdoorsman that cause many fence-sitters to turn into anti's. These are the people who will get out and vote or put pressure on government officials to close trails or even hunting while many of us will sit around and complain but not vote or put equal pressure on those same government officials. We have the responsibility to police ourselves. And that's where the biggest problem is.......WE DON'T.
    RIDE TALL, SHOOT STRAIGHT AND ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    As someone who has run into the mess left behind by rigs like that in the photo with my quad, I agree with the BOG decision. I mean really, man, that monstrosity is like running out there moose hunting in a Abrams tank...maybe it gets the job done but....... OVERKILL!!!
    Remember, if it wasn't for the big rigs a lot of these trails wouldn't be opened up. I don't like excluding any motorized users. ATV riders must realize that they are next; I believe its better to unite with all motorized users and speak with one voice than to fight amongst ourselves.

    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    This whole Rex trail issue is becoming great. In one hand, we got some posters claiming that the big rigs are doing all the damage and thus, this is why we are in this position now. However, in the other hand, people who use big rigs and tracked rigs, are claiming that the four-wheelers are doing the damage!

    So, who's lying?
    I believe big wheeled rigs do a lot of damage, BUT there aren't a lot of them out there. Look at how many zillions of ATVs you see on the trails compared to big rigs. I think a zillion ATVs (widening/spider-webbing) the trails do more damage than the big rig crowd. Either way, any closure is bad news.

    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by sarge View Post
    .......We have the responsibility to police ourselves. And that's where the biggest problem is.......WE DON'T.
    By "ourselves", I hope you mean "I police myself, and you police yourself", cause you or I don't have the authority to police anybody else.

    And that still isn't the problem. The Knik River Public Use Area is an example of that. Trouble started there with an increasing number of wild teenage drinking and shooting parties, stolen and abandoned vehicles being thrashed and burned, and general lawlessness.

    This was used as political fodder for the "regulators" to come in with a new and expansive land classification scheme when all that was necessary was enforcement of the laws which already existed.

    You or I couldn't legally do anything about the scum thrashing the place, the proper authorities either refused to do so themselves, failed to do so, or actually used the issue to gain expanded regulatory restrictions on the area.

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    Default background and some thoughts

    I was wanting to avoid weighing in on this, but in interest of clarifying things somewhat, here goes.

    For years now DNR has not been able to enforce the statutes governing Generally Allowed Uses (GAUs) on state lands. The GAUs stipulate when access on state lands can occur as long as it "does not cause or contribute to water quality degradation, alteration of drainage systems, signifcant rutting, ground disturbance, or thermal erosion."
    (you can read the GAUs HERE as pdf file)

    Those above stipulations are not "bailable offences" in the statutes, so DNR hasn't really been able to curb any violations. Neither are certain things like "significant rutting" actually defined. So what's been happening politically in the recent past is that bills in the legislature have tried to define what constitutes "significant rutting" and "thermal erosion" and also to make these violations bailable offences that can be enforced by DNR or Troopers.

    (Sidenote: some of this also came to a head when a group of hunters used a SUSV (military tracked rig) out on the Mosquito Flats in the Fortymile country completely tearing up the wetlands habitat.
    Troopers and DNR were called on the SUSV damage as it was happening but could really do nothing to stop those guys. They were eventually fined, but it was clear from this that we needed real defintions and actual enforcement in our statutes. )

    At first, the motorized lobbies and access-oriented orgs supported these bills that would define what constitutes abuse and criminalize it, but when the definition of "significant rutting" and what actually constitutes real abuse and damage was what they thought too stringent, they backed away from this and are now pushing a newer bill next session that will better define these things to their liking.

    DNR does not want to shut down access for the over-1500lb rigs on Rex Trail during the summer. Neither do landowners or miners. But everyone is between a rock and a hard place. The real issue as I see it is that saturation has been reached, and too much use of whatever kind is just too much.

    We all need to recognize that it's very likely the country can only withstand so much use before that use becomes "abuse" that will end up affecting everyone's access. Instead of using handy (and false) scapegoats to place all the blame on...we need to look at the reality of what's going on and try to find real solutions.

    Part of the problem in finding and working toward solutions is that many here on this forum apparently hold to the "100% access by all" line of thought. "We all need to stick together on this." But that belies what is "responsible" use and what is "irresponsible" use. Do all of you who want to stick together with all motorized users want to support the "right" of SUSV owners to use the Rex during hunting season? Over 10,000lb vehicles? Where are you going to draw the line?

    I hear all the time about "responsible" use...yet it only seems logical to say that "Gee, if ten thousand atv-ers used the Rex in August and September, that would not be very responsible." What number is where we reach saturation and the ensuing and untenable trail damage? 5,000? 2,000?

    How do we even regulate this? Many feel we don't need any regulations at all. Emotions tend to rule at public meetings and on this forum, and we all know those emotions often run at redline <grin>. We need to step back, admit that abuse is happening, that the trail and country can't handle it...and figure out some solutions. No solution is going to please everyone.

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