Two bills to create a Stampede State Recreation Area (SSRA) were introduced during the first week of the 27th Legislature which began on January 18th in Juneau. Backed by two Denali Borough resolutions of support, Senator Joe Thomas and Representative David Guttenberg introduced Senate Bill 60 (SB 60) and House Bill 113 (HB 113). The bills have been referred to standing committees within the House and Senate. Hearings could be scheduled at any time and will take place first in the Resource Committees.
The Borough’s support of the current SSRA proposal reflects the work of Friends of Stampede, a group that formed in late October. Friends of Stampede members presented at the Assembly and Planning Commission meetings in January, where resolutions of support were introduced and passed. The Denali Borough Assembly sparked initial interest in the SSRA when it passed a resolution proposing the idea in early 2007. Senator Thomas and Representative Guttenberg acted on the Borough’s suggestion and introduced the first SSRA bills during the 25th Legislature which ran from 2007 to 2008. The boundary for the first SRA proposal was drawn west of Eightmile Lake largely because of a pending decision on the transfer of lands from the state to the borough around the lake. Eventually the state decided to retain ownership of lands around the lake, citing the “unique importance of this particular area for wildlife and recreation.”
The area around Eightmile Lake and adjacent to the Panguingue Subdivision is included in current versions of the SSRA bills, SB 60 and HB 113. Including the full area addresses the discontinuity between the previously suggested boundary and the adjacent lands important to wildlife and heavily used for recreation. The Borough’s show of support and the reintroduction of SSRA bills in both the House and the Senate are important milestones towards resolving the status of lands in the Stampede Townships and around 8-Mile Lake.
DCC supports the Friends of Stampede’s efforts to maintain and expand support for the SSRA proposal statewide. SB 60 and HB 113 are important to all Alaskans and visitors to the state that enjoy the Stampede Trail corridor and surrounding state lands. The development of a Management Plan would provide guidance for the use of lands, which are important to a variety of wildlife. Designation would protect traditional uses ranging from motorized and non-motorized recreation, to hunting and berry picking. If you’d like to find out how you can show support, or would like to stay informed on Stampede-related issues, email Friends of Stampede or visit DCC’s webpage on the Stampede State Recreation Area at http://www.denalicitizens.org/stampede-sra/.
Senate and House Bills
Borough Assembly and Planning Commission Resolutions