FAIRBANKS - Gov. Sean Parnell signed a bill in Fairbanks that permanently designates 2,000 acres in the Goldstream Valley as a public-use area.
The land was made a public-use area by lawmakers in 1990, but a sunset clause in the original bill was set to take effect in July. The bill Parnell signed Thursday strips the sunset date.
The area between Sheep Creek, Goldstream and Ballaine roads is criss-crossed with dog mushing, skiing, skijoring and snowmachine trails. It also is a popular blueberry-picking spot.
The bill signed by Parnell was sponsored by state Sen. Joe Thomas, D-Fairbanks. At the signing ceremony, he highlighted the widespread support the bill received by listing supportive organizations, including everything from the Alaska Miners Association to the Interior Trails Preservation Coalition.
Said state Rep. Mike Kelly, "The motorheads and Birkenstockers both like it."
Alert Goldstream Valley residents notified Thomas about the sunset clause last year. Thomas gathered unanimous support for the bill in both the House and Senate.
One of the constituents who gave Thomas the heads-up was dog musher Shirley Liss, who was in attendance Thursday.
"I have cut brush on every single trail in the valley; I just wish there were more of them," Liss said. "I'm glad we got this much, but we need more trails."
Parnell also signed two bills pertaining to firearms regulations; one of them, House Bill 186, was sponsored by Kelly, a Fairbanks Republican. It exempts anyone manufacturing guns, ammunition or firearms accessories in Alaska from federal regulation as long as the items are used exclusively in Alaska.
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