DCC Supports Denali Borough resolution on Stampede State Recreation Area

stampede-sra-web
Area of SRA as in the Version B resolution.

DB Assembly to consider boundary changes to proposed Stampede SRA at its February 11th meeting

The Borough Assembly will be voting on whether to approve one of two resolutions supporting the creation of a Stampede State Recreation Area. One of the resolutions, Version A, does not include land around Eightmile Lake. The other, Version B, includes all land west of the Panguingue Creek Subdivision, including Eightmile Lake. The resolution, if passed, would be forwarded to local legislators, including newly elected Representative Dave Talerico, to encourage the introduction of a state bill.

DCC encourages our members to submit a brief email of support for Resolution #15-01, Version B. Consider these talking points:

  • We support the inclusion of Eightmile Lake for a variety of reasons, including the high level of use around the lake and the area’s scenic values.
  • A State Recreation Area would continue to allow for motorized and non-motorized use, and provide permanent protection of land valued for recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat.

The Denali Borough has passed numerous resolutions requesting that the state legislature create a Stampede State Recreation Area (SRA), beginning in 2007. These resolutions have recognized the trail corridor’s value for recreation and wildlife habitat, as well as the need to address damage in the area caused by heavy use, Initially, the Borough hoped to obtain land around Eightmile Lake from the state, and excluded the lake from their original Stampede SRA request. Then Senator Joe Thomas responded to the Borough’s request by introducing the first SRA bill during the 2009-10 legislative session.

In 2009, the state determined that the land around Eightmile Lake could not be conveyed to the Denali Borough because of its importance for public recreation and wildlife habitat. Recognizing that the land would remain in state ownership, the Assembly passed a resolution in 2010 to encourage the legislature to include Eightmile Lake in the SRA proposal. The second and third rounds of SRA bills (during the 2011-12 and 2013-14 legislative sessions) have included land along the Stampede Trail corridor up to the edge of the Panguingue Creek Subdivision.

DCC continues to support the inclusion of Eightmile Lake in the proposed Stampede SRA. It is not reasonable to ask for improved management of lands west of Eightmile Lake, without addressing the area around Eightmile Lake. This invites increased conflict between users and land managers, and creates an awkward management conundrum, as this slice of land would remain under the management of the state’s Division of Mining, Land and Water (DMLW). DMLW has not demonstrated that they have the capacity to address heavy recreational use. It was not until after the Rex Trail had been significantly damaged that the state stepped up management and seasonally closed the trail to larger vehicles. Thus far, under DMLW “management,” the state has done nothing to improve trail conditions or address the proliferation of braided trails along the Stampede Trail corridor.

As we wait to find whether newly elected Representative Dave Talerico will introduce another Stampede SRA bill in Juneau, DCC will continue to support the efforts of local residents to address trail damage. In addition to writing a letter of support to the Assembly, you can contact friendsofstampede@gmail.com to find out how you can help support these efforts.

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