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Thread: DNR Meeting

  1. #1
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    Default DNR Meeting

    Went to the DNR meeting last night here in Fairbanks. Outcome of the meeting? The decission has already been made, without public input. May 1st to Oct 31st, no ORVs heavier than 1500 lbs. Nov 1st to April 30th ORVs heavier than 1500 lbs will need a permit. That means during the general hunting season only 4-wheelers, Maxes, and Argos may be used. No Nodwells, Tundras, or Big Tired Trucks. Locals are really upset that their traditional means of access tracked rigs has been jerked out from under them, when they were not the cause of the trail distruction on the Rex. This will have a big impact on future hunting on the Rex Trail. Getting in, then back out with a big Moose, is just too hard for most people with 4-wheelers. Looks like the best way will be fly-in only from now on.
    Gun Control means hitting your target.
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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Hey Roggie...

    Roggie, I see they quoted you in THIS NEWSMINER ARTICLE : "We’ve been using this trail for 30 or 40 years, and we weren’t tearing the trail up,” said Rogge Hunter of North Pole, who owns a track rig and a cabin on the Rex Trail. “It wasn’t until those guys from Anchorage, Eagle River and Wasilla came up here with their big-tired rigs that there was a problem.”

    I know how reporters work, so I'm not sure if that quote is correct. But if it is, what solution would you offer DNR? Something relating to "ground pressure"? If that is the case, wouldn't the big-tired rigs also have such low ground pressure that they'd meet the same guidelines as nodwells etc?

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    Default Rotten Apples

    As with anything, it only takes one person to ruin it for everyone else. Alaska, being a state known for tourism, has been under the gun by many tree hugging organizations, most recently with the Polar Bear being listed. Environmental stewardship is something the majority of us all share in, the key thing is the majority. Quite often, "majority" rules, but when faced with a plethera of opposition from many venues, it is often the humble Joe who takes it in the shorts. Having said that, I think it's each and everyone of our jobs to perserve & protect what we have available. It isn't how a man speaks, it is his actions that speak louder than words. If we want to stop future encroachment/closures we ALL need to participate. Graybeard did mention the decision was already made without public comment. That is the very thing we do not need. Lobbying for the cause seems like too much effort, but without the occassional "push back" we may loose it all, is that what you guys want? I sure don't... Just my 2 cents
    Respect what you do not own but are privleged to enjoy, Mother Earth thanks you...

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    Mark: A tracked vehicle has it's weight spread out over thousands of sq inches. A tired vehicle only has a few hundred sq inches in contact with the ground. A SUSV (Military tracked rig) fully loaded (about 10,000lbs GVW) only has 1.7 psi, the average human has about 8 psi. Smaller vehicles like an ARGO, or my Raidtrak only have .7 psi. A tired rig is not even in the same ballpark. Especially when the bottom of a tire is not flat, but round and exerts pressure towards the front and rear, as well as to the sides, as it presses down on the mud, causing it to sink deeper. A rollagon with 72" wide tires is the only tired vehicle that comes close to the same psi as a tracked vehicle. But when the ground pressure gets that low tires loose traction, someone brought a Rollagon out there in 2001, they did not go far due to them getting stuck in every mud hole. Those big tires just sat there and spun with out getting traction, and moving forward.

    It's really appearant when you sit and watch both go through a muddy section of trail. the tracks of a tracked vehicle sit on top of the mud and does not move in relation to the mud, as the vehicle runs across the non-moving track. While it flattens the mud out, the tracks do not sink into the mud. It's like laying a piece of plywood out and walking across it. Traction for tracks is 20% higher than for tires (per Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Study), therefore they do not spin. You walk across the same area and you will sink in up to your ankles. Then a tired vehicle crosses the same muddy area and sinks in 8 to 10 inches, then starts pushing mud up in front of the tire. As more mud gets pushed up in front the operator has to increase the power, usually causing the tires to spin, digging even deeper. I've witnessed this repeatedly at a big mud hole near the cabin.

    Tires cannot compete with tracks for lowering the footprint of a vehicle. Look at my Kawasaki 4-wheeler and my Ski-Doo snow machine, both weight over 700 lbs. The 4-wheeler can not go through snow more than 10 inches deep without getting stuck. The snow machine weighing the same rides on top of the snow and snow depth is not a consideration. Here also my Raidtrak is at home, it rides on top of the snow like a snow machine, sinking just a few inches in the soft powder, and it has a heated cab. Tracks work in snow, tires don't. The same holds true for soft mud, tracks work tires don't.

    As to what I said at the meeting, I was responding to the frustration I was seeing in the room. Here was people that had been using the Rex since the 1950s and 60s. Other younger men and women that had been going out there all their lives with their parents. They had always used tracks, realizing that tracks were the only practical means of crossing the soft areas of the Rex Trail. Then suddenly in 2001 tired vehicles started showing up and the big cleated tires ripped through the vegetative matter that the tracks crossed without damaging. Then deep rutted mud holes developed. An area that for 30 and 40 years they had seen no change, suddenly in 7 years becoming a virtually impassible quagmire.

    While the 20-A cow hunt is blamed by many for this invasion of tired vehicles onto the Rex Trail, I for one started seeing them showing up in 1998, long before the Cow Hunts. Restrictions were beginning to be put in place against large ORVs down in South Central, and they were looking for somewhere else to go with their big tired rigs. Now that they have been banned from the Rex Trail where are they going to go next? There is winter trails marked on maps going all over the state. I've walked some in the Brooks Range, and seen many more while flying. Several remote villages have winter trails that lead to the road system. All these big tired trucks need is a jumping off spot along the road system. Or some entrapenurial person with one of those small barge type river boats could ferry them across the Nenana, Tanana, or Yukon rivers. Fresh ground, and before they are really noticed by the state the damage will be done there as well.

    The wife just chastised me for being full of Doom and Gloom, she came in and was reading over my shoulder. But you know it happened here, so it can and will happen else where. First they were restricted on the Kenai, then South Central, now the Rex, where next? And I'm not just talking about tired rigs, I'm talking about tracked rigs too. currently they are restricted too. All ORVs over 1500 lbs. Want to hear something really funny? I can legally take my Volkswagen in on the Rex Trail during the summer. It only weighs 1100 lbs. That is the vehicle weight on the title and registration, so it's legal. BUT I will never do that, I have too much respect for the trail. I really did not like taking a 4-wheeler down there. That trail eats up wheelbearing seals. And they really do more damage than my track rig.
    Gun Control means hitting your target.
    "Giving up your gun to someone else on demand is called surrender. It means that you have given up your ability to protect yourself to a power that is greater than you." - David Yeagley
    Calling Illegal Immigrants "Undocumented Aliens" is like calling Drug Dealers "Unlicensed Pharmacists"

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    Default Roggie, thanks for that last post

    Roggie, thanks much for the informative post and thoughts. I was talking with another track-vehicle user recently and he expressed his concern too about the tracked-vehicles being restricted.

    What do you view as a solution here? It seems that numbers alone (of atvs) do their own damage once they get large enough, and that even allowing an unlimited number of atvs out the Rex will allow the trail damage and braiding to continue. As you know, DNR and others are still looking into new statutes on the GAUs of state lands, that will make any offenses citable with fines...but the arguments to come are mostly about what will define "significant rutting" and "thermal erosion" etc. Inre the ground pressure aspect, I've seen a lot of the big-tired 4x4 users claim their rigs have much less ground pressure than atvs...and a push to use ground pressure (instead of vehicle weight) as a new part of the GAU restrictions.

    Anyway, what, if anything, do you view as a compromise solution for the Rex that we can propose to DNR in future?

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    Default

    I feel that a significant unbiased study should be made to determine the true affect of different types of vehicles, tired and tracked, of various weights. Then permits could be issued to vehicles that met the criteria that would leave suitable impact. No vehicle is going to leave no impact, but it can be limited to an amount that the trail can heal itself during the summer growing season. That is the way it had been for the 30 years I had been going out there. During the summer, grass would grow on the trail. Yes the grass was driven over and crushed, but a matt of roots was left, to stabilize the ground underneath. Tracks would not break through this matting layer. Every year some of the mud holes from the previous year would have dried up and become hard ground. A little ditch would change course and a new mud hole would appear, where none had been before. For a few years that would be a bad spot then it would dry up and go away. Once again becoming hard ground.

    From my own research and personnel experience I feel that the tracked vehicles are really less damaging than the 4-wheelers, if used properly.
    I helped a friend take a connex into the woods a couple of years ago. When we got to the location he wanted it he turned off the trail and drove right through the spruce and willows. We were in a Nodwell, no small rig. At the time I was in shock, I just knew it would be years before the damage recovered and that everyone would know where the connex was located. It would be too easy to find with all the brush we crushed down. Anyway we unloaded the connex and drove back to the trail. We made this little trip in the late morning. By evening I went out for a walk, as I passed the trail we had made I was surprised by the fact that the willows were standing back up at a 45 deg angle. It was dark by the time I returned and I did not see if any farther progress had been made by the vegitation. Two days later I again walked by the location and was really surprised. If I had not known where we had driven through the brush and trees I would not have been able to find the spot. Even the spruce trees were standing back upright. With the exception if cleat marks on the tree bark, there was not indication we had driven through there. The ground pressure was so light it did not break the plants off, it just pushed them over. No significant damage was done. Today, if you don't know where that connex is you will not find it.

    I will also say some of the worst damage I have seen was also created by tracked rigs. There is a small lake on the North Side of the Rex. It is about a mile to this lake. For years we had driven 4-wheelers half way, then walked the rest. Usually we found Moose on the lake, and we did not want to spook them off, by driving a vehicle down there. Once we had shot something we would drive down and retrive the meat. Anyway someone in tracked rigs drove all the way to the lake. The little narrow crooked trail was widened, and big Birches was knocked over. When they came to an area where the trees were too big and too numerous to knock over they drove down the side of the hill that was a seeping area. Too soft to be driving anything on. Tracked rigs don't normally leave ruts, but this one did. They camped on the lake, and built fires. Then wondered why they did not see any Moose on the lake.
    Gun Control means hitting your target.
    "Giving up your gun to someone else on demand is called surrender. It means that you have given up your ability to protect yourself to a power that is greater than you." - David Yeagley
    Calling Illegal Immigrants "Undocumented Aliens" is like calling Drug Dealers "Unlicensed Pharmacists"

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    Default +1

    Amen to that whole post Graybeard.
    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 Graybeard View Post
    .....Locals are really upset that their traditional means of access tracked rigs has been jerked out from under them, when they were not the cause of the trail distruction on the Rex.......
    Wasn't it the "locals" who called DNR complaining about "trail destruction" that caused this whole uproar to begin with?

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    Default Green -vs- Hunt

    Quote Originally Posted by Montana Native View Post
    ... Quite often, "majority" rules, but when faced with a plethera of opposition from many venues...
    One reason that the certain groups are SO successful, isn't because EVERYONE feels they way they do... heck many 'supporters' disagree with the various policies of say Green peace, etc. But, they still band together, and make a loud voice.

    The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    IMHO - Next year the ATV's will not be allowed on the Rex trail.
    IMHO - Off-roading in general is going to be 'regulated' in the state, soon

    I can't ride my mountain bike on some public use trails.
    Partly because of the inconsiderate few; mostly because of the other small groups who know how to organize, lobby and get a few lawyers to help in their fight.

    Special Interest groups get things done (en masse); according to THEIR agenda.
    Trouble with hunters - we tend to be 'loaners' or very small 'units' not even enough to count as a group.

    Find a group you believe in, give them your services, your time, your voice, your vote, and maybe even some of your hard earned money.
    But remember this - you will NEVER find a group that has ALL your beliefs.
    Are you 100% Democrat or Republican?
    Are you 100% Left or Right?

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