Public hears some OHV site possibilites

The National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council held two events this week in hopes of sparking another conversation on the search for off-roading access in Juneau, a subject that has faced numerous challenges and proposals over the years.

On Wednesday, a strategy session addressed responsible recreational use of off-road vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles and motorbikes. A public workshop on Thursday addressed the proposed recreational vehicle park at mile 35 on Glacier Highway.

The proposed park is 500 acres between Point Bridget State Park and the Cowee Creek Watershed. It already has 47 acres cleared from logging in the 1950s.

Over the past week, RecConnect, a OHV trails consulting firm, surveyed the site which contains many constraints such as slopes, no slopes and cliffs, while considering comment from riders.

“There's a process in planning and the first process is to develop a vision. What do we want? What do the riders want? The second is to conduct a site assessment. And you can't conduct a site assessment till we have a vision,” Dick Dufourd, a consultant with RecConnect, said. “We had a rough vision before we came here and we've been here all week and we've been to the site and we still had some questions about the vision.”

The Parks and Recreation department believes this is the most viable piece of land for such use.

The idea is to disperse users on well-designed, sustainably constructed, interconnected loops that are mainly sized for two-way traffic. Implementing helmet laws and sound limits, trail passes or a local registration system are proposed are others ways to cater to enhanced rider enjoyability.

Some of the facility might also include a play area, motocross track, a kiddie track and a learner loop, though studies are still being conducted.

“Right now we don't know exactly what that mix is going to be,” Dufourd said.

Following the hour and a half presentation of the site's potential, Assembly member Karen Crane asked for an overall timeline of the project and where the city was in this process, adding: “500 acres is certainly sounding a lot smaller.”

Dufourd said that it would be nice if it were bigger, and while further exploration is needed, the space seemed adequate for riders' needs.

"It could be still a couple years before we get to turning dirt," Dufourd said. "As we get more information, we need to fine-tune the conceptual plan."

About $100,000 for the project would come from the five-year extension of the 1 percent temporary sales tax voted on last year, though the project would cost more than several million.

More than 30 were in attendance at Thursday’s meeting where, among the helmets and Fox Racing jerseys, resident Gail Smith asked about accountability, extra enforcement and the endangerment of the areas that surround the proposed land.

Those issues were addressed as hypotheticals at the meeting with the hopes that users will self-regulate and that authorities will enforce laws even with the nearest police or trooper station some 20 miles or more away.

“I can fully appreciate the need for an off-road vehicle park,” Smith said. "What I really want to know is when is the real meeting? When is the meeting for the community as a whole?”

Contact reporter Kenneth Rosen at 523-2250 or at kenneth.rosen@juneauempire.com.

More

This Day in Juneau History: Jan. 22, 1987

On Jan. 22, 1987, Gov. Steve Cowper prepared to discuss the final part of his fiscal plan: budget cuts. The total amount suggested to be cut by his temporary cabinet was $300 million, which tore funding from a variety of different programs. However, although what propositions Cowper accepted were still a mystery, Press Secretary David Ramseur confirmed that the cuts he did accept totaled at about $200 million. Cowper was to give a speech directly to the Alaska Legislature discussing the specifics of his recommended cuts.

Read more

Fire calls for Jan. 22, 2017

This report contains public information available to the Empire from law enforcement and public safety agencies. This report includes arrest and citation information, not conviction information. Anyone listed in this report is presumed innocent. Anyone with information about a crime can report a tip anonymously to juneaucrimeline.com.

Read more

Man caught with 3 pounds of meth on Southeast Alaska-bound ferry sentenced to 20 months

A 21-year-old man who was caught transporting three pounds of methamphetamine — reportedly the largest seizure in Southeast Alaska in at least 10 years— on the ferry between Bellingham and Ketchikan last May was “a patsy, plan and simple,” his defense attorney argued.

Read more

CONTACT US

  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING