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DCC Opposes Suction Dredge mining in Kantishna

June 8, 2016

MapA request to do in-stream suction dredge mining on a small fresh water stream with important grayling habitat has been submitted to the National Park Service, and DCC commented on the Environmental Assessment the service developed.

We opposed this project unequivocally, as a threat to streambed habitat and nearby resources, and because it reverses settled policy supporting willing seller buyout of mining claims in Kantishna.  NPS has had more than 26 years to make the buyout, and because of a failure of vision, has neglected to do so.

Read our comments at the link below.

DCC Comments on Eldorado Mining Plan of Operations FINAL

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DCC submits comments on Denali Trails Plan scoping

October 31, 2015

DCC submitted comments today supporting the existing vision for trails in the Denali National Park backcountry and suggesting that formal (built) trails be analyzed under a Formal Trails Plan.  We suggested some other areas where trails could be developed and gave our position on pets and bicycles.  Feel free to read our comments at the link below.

DCC- Trails Plan Scoping 2015

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COMMENT DEADLINE OCTOBER 31: Denali National Park Trails Plan

October 30, 2015

 Transportation in Denali?
 PLEASE COMMENT ON TRAILS PLAN SCOPING – COMMENTS DUE SAT, OCT 31, 2015

We urge our members, especially those of you with long-term experience in the park, to provide comments during the  scoping process, which seeks input on a variety of issues, the trails vision, formal trails, maintenance issues, pets, bicycles and winter use.

You may comment using the PEPC website, or by email at dena_planning@nps.gov
 

Below are some of the issues and positions DCC plans to raise in our comments:

  • Vision for trails – We support retaining the vision (most recently voiced in the Backcountry Management Plan, 2006) of no formal (built) trails in Denali’s backcountry beyond those already approved in existing planning documents.
  • Social trail mitigation – We support the social trail monitoring program established in the Backcountry Management Plan (2006), and encourage NPS to implement it more fully by 

      –  developing indicators for when social trail formation is approaching impairment of resources.
    –  committing to specific actions it will take to mitigate impairment.
      –  educating bus drivers, guides and local businesses to direct hiking traffic away from more
    impacted social 
    trailheads.
    –  establishing a social trails working group.

  • We generally support the formal trails that have already been authorized – We think that a Formal Trails Plan should focus on taking a comprehensive look at Denali’s formal trails, both existing and proposed, and consider their overall impact on park resources and finances.  
  • Pets and bikes on trails – Family pets, on leash, could be acceptable on formal trails in the headquarters area only, but not the Triple Lakes Trail. Recreational dog mushing is acceptable in winter, subject to impact monitoring. Bicycles are acceptable on the park road, on designated former mining roads in Kantishna, and possibly on some formal trails in the headquarters area, but not Triple Lakes or the proposed Nenana River Trail.
  • Winter trails and river trailsWinter cross country skiing routes in the headquarters or Mt. Vista Rest Stop area could be laid out, subject to available funds. Otherwise, winter and river trails should not be mapped or developed on the north side of Denali Park. All forms of winter recreation must be monitored for impacts on wildlife. Development of any infrastructure to support winter recreation, even if temporary, must be analyzed through NEPA.
  • State and municipal lands at the park boundaries can provide a wider range of trail opportunities, if they are desired. One example of an area where this wider range could be considered is the planned South Denali Visitor Center. Denali National Park should maintain its commitment to wilderness recreation, dispersed, non-mechanical access, and scrupulous prevention of wildlife impacts.
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Denali Trail Plan scoping deadline extended

September 28, 2015

TrailsThe National Park Service is conducting scoping on future trail projects and on visioning for trails in Denali. DCC wanted more time to comment on this complex plan, so we asked for an extension of the deadline, and our request was granted. You now have until October 31st to submit comments.

Read the invitation to provide comment on the park’s planning website at this link.

More information on the history of trails in Denali is at the following link;
http://www.nps.gov/dena/learn/management/trails-management-compilation.htm


Look for alerts including DCC suggestions for comments on trails proposed by this plan and on general visioning for trails in Denali.

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DCC Comments on Draft Alaska Wildlife Action Plan

September 7, 2015

IMG_6278

We suggested that Dall’s Sheep be considered a sentinel species.

The Draft Plan, which seeks to list species of greatest conservation need in Alaska, and use federal funding to monitor and protect them, is available for download here.  Overall, the plan is very comprehensive and interesting, and its listings and concerns are well-presented. The problem of climate change is well-presented and actions to protect and preserve species in the face of climate change are committed to.

Public comment was solicited on the Draft Plan, with a deadline of September 4.  DCC’s comments made suggestions, asked questions and pointed out problems with the scope of this plan.  Read our comments below.

DCC Comments on Draft Wildlife Action Plan 2015-  submitted on September 4, 2015

 

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DCC Comments on Proposal to Rehabilitate 7 Mile Pit on the Park Road

September 7, 2015

Our comments asked for clarifications and modifications regarding a plan to expand the existing gravel pit at 5 Mile along the Park Road and eventually close Mile 7 pit.  The presence of wolves in a den near Mile 7 may complicate the rehabilitation project somewhat. In addition, we made suggestions regarding how to ensure that once rehabilitated this pit would be successfully re-designated wilderness.

Read our comments below:

DCC Comments on Mile 7 Pit RehabFINAL – Submitted August 10, 2015

 

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Read DCC comments supporting ACR #7

July 30, 2015

Map of "no wolf take" area

Map of “no wolf take” area for proposal in 2016

On July 30, 2015, the Alaska Wildlife Alliance and Denali Citizens Council submitted comments in support of ACR #7, to get a wolf buffer proposal onto the Board of Game agenda in 2016.

TO READ OUR COMMENTS click the link below.

AWA-DCC comments on ACR #7

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NPS releases report on trial Winter Road opening at Denali

May 20, 2015

Winter-plowing-coverIn 2014, after completing an Environmental Assessment in 2013, Denali National Park began plowing the road earlier, starting February 1st and continuing on into the spring season when the road is normally cleared.  The early plowing began at park headquarters and ended at the Mt. Vista Rest Stop, where there is a parking lot.

This activity was considered to be a “trial” for 3 – 5 years, while staff would monitor impact on financial and natural resources and visitor experience.  The report attached to this post describes monitoring done by NPS during the 2014 and 2015 seasons of early opening.

Originally, it appeared that early opening of the park road was done to accommodate commercial tourism, including winter visitors brought on tour buses from Fairbanks. So far, most of the use appears to have been by private vehicles and vans, and commercial use, for whatever reason, has not been dominant.

DCC’s concerns have included impacts on wildlife who inhabit this area of the park (including two known wolf dens), impacts on access by local mushers and skiers, and incremental advance of sophisticated infrastructure into the designated Wilderness core park. In particular, we opposed any noise-making infrastructure, such as generators to support plug-ins, for example, at the Mt. Vista rest stop.

This report is illuminating and we recommend clicking on the link below to read it. The report is large and will take a little time to download.

Monitoring Report on Winter Road Plowing

 

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Open Letter to Alaska Director of Wildlife Conservation supports closure

May 9, 2015

From: nancy@denalicitizens.org
Sent: Saturday, May 09, 2015 12:55 PM
To: bruce.dale@alaska.gov
Subject: Denali wolves emergency closure

Dear Mr. Dale,

I spoke with you briefly at the recent Board of Game meeting regarding wolf numbers in Unit 20C overall and adjacent to Denali Park. At that time I mentioned that ADF&G had, in its most recent management report, established a density goal for wolves, and that numbers both inside the park portion of 20C and in the GMU as a whole are well below that density number.

Although it is unclear if the Department intends to adopt management practices to support that density goal, it is nevertheless in print as a goal. Despite this goal, the Board of Game recently increased the hunting bag limit from 5 to 10 wolves in 20C, next to the park, and continues to maintain a late hunting season, until May 31st.  Now, with wolf numbers lower inside Denali and packs vulnerable to hunting in the townships north of the park, the density numbers will fall again.

I, and my organization, the Denali Citizens Council, support an emergency closure of the remaining wolf hunting season on state lands northeast of Denali National Park, as a way to support wolves who den in the park and predictably venture into the Wolf Townships, and as a way for the department to manage for its stated density goals.  This pattern of wolf out-migration from Denali has been in place since the 1980s and happens whether or not the park has a “prey problem,” following late winter cyclic-migration of caribou. It is well known that the East Fork wolves denned close to the northern boundary this year, and the pack has already suffered three trapping/hunting losses, one a pregnant female. There are 22 days left in the season and no guarantee that the alpha female of the East Fork pack will not be shot.

It is well within your purview and authority to do an emergency closure now, based on Fish and Game-stated density goals and management vision for wolves. The fact that the statewide population of wolves is not threatened should not be an impediment to making this closure, as the Department often manages at the subunit level when the situation demands. Many folks have stressed to you the importance of these wolves to those who visit the Denali region. Their importance for the viewing public is not simply a National Park goal, it is a stated goal in published ADF&G documents.

In the history of this issue, there has been a tendency for the biologists to tell us that we must go the board of game and then for the board of game to send us back to the biologists. This reluctance to address the issue of Denali wolves from either side of your department has placed it in a sort of regulatory limbo for almost six years now.  Meanwhile the wolf numbers have declined inside Denali to numbers so low that every single death gains significance, especially if the wolf is pregnant.  Controlling human take at such times can be an effective tool for supporting Department goals.

The Denali Citizens Council is composed of close to 300 members, most of whom have lived or now live in communities around the park. Many of our members recently wrote to the Commissioner asking for this closure.  Please don’t hand this closure off to the Board of Game.  They will not be able to handle it before the end of the season. If you or the Commissioner do not perform this closure, it will not happen.

 

Respectfully,

Nancy Bale
Denali Citizens Council

 

 

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DCC joins others in asking for Emergency Wolf Hunting Closure

May 9, 2015

wolfAfter the loss of three individuals, one a pregnant female, to the East Fork pack, which last year denned very close to the northern boundary of the park, DCC joined a number of local and regional voices in requesting an Emergency Closure to wolf hunting of state lands adjacent to the northeast corner of Denali National Park, for the rest of the season, which ends May 31st.  Although time is ticking along and we’ve heard nothing yet from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, we are watching carefully for word.

 

Dan Bross of KUAC radio has done an excellent series of broadcasts on this topic. See his latest one at http://fm.kuac.org/post/denali-wolf-shootings-add-population-decline

 

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Wolf Monitoring report details three human-caused deaths this spring

May 6, 2015

Denali wolves remained highly vulnerable this spring, with two dens east of the Savage River and one pack, East Fork,  subject to attrition through both hunting and trapping. A report detailing the situation of Denali wolves was made available this week. Read it below.

Denali Wolf Monitoring 2015 – 5-5-2015 Update

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Jan-Feb DCC News now online

April 28, 2015

Cover page DCC NewsRead why we supported a recent emergency petition for wolf buffers, information on small hydro in the Denali Borough, the Community debate on coal, and updated news on the Stampede State SRA proposal. This is a large file, and will take a little time to download.

Jan-Feb DCC News 2015

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