Rex Trail Management Program Archives
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Rex Trail Update - August 1, 2011
On July 30, 2010, the Department extended the August 25, 2009 Amendment to allow for issuance of individual permits for certain tracked rigs again for the fall 2010 hunting season.
On May 12, 2008, the Division issued a management decision for the Eastern Rex Trail restricting both the use of highway vehicles between 1500 lbs and 10,000 lbs (previously authorized under Generally Allowed Uses, 11 AAC 96.020) and implementing a decision to not issue permits for off-road vehicles (including both tracked and wheeled vehicles) over 1500 lbs between the dates of April 15 and October 31 annually. ORV's 1500 lbs and under were still allowed, provided the conditions in 11 AAC 96.020 were met.
On August 25, 2009, this decision was amended, allowing for issuance of permits to rubber tracked vehicles from 1500 lbs up to and including Nodwell RN110 or similar sized vehicles between the dates of August 29 and October 31, 2009 (August 25, 2009 Amendment). There was a $100 permit application fee, and permits were issued subject to the following conditions (not a complete list):
- The applicant must describe and provide a picture of their vehicle, report the number of persons in their party, and a general location as to where the vehicle will be used (Parks Highway to Totatlanika River, Parks Hwy to Tatlanika River, Parks Hwy to Wood River, Parks Hwy to beyond the Wood River;
- Permit is valid for rubber tracked vehicles over 1500 lbs up to and including Nodwell RN110 sized vehicles. This would include Nodwells, Weasels, SUSV's such as the Hagglund BV206, or similar, may be articulated, and must utilize rubber type tracks (steel grouser bars and/or cleats are permitted);
- Travel under this permit is limited to the Rex Trail. No travel is authorized off the Rex Trail by vehicles over 1500 lbs, except as authorized below to vehicle parking areas;
- Vehicle operator must keep the signed and approved permit on site and available for inspection in the field at all times;
- No skid mounted or wheeled trailers are allowed;
- Vehicle parking sites may be established on state land within 100 yards of the Rex Trail and sited in naturally occurring or existing clearings;
- And, general vehicle operations shall be conducted in a manner which causes the least amount of impact to the vegetation and soil.
This amendment allowing for permit issuance to certain tracked vehicles was designed to allow the Department to monitor impacts of this additional use. To further this goal, the Department will establish 10 monitoring sites and will evaluate each site for trail condition, rutting occurrence and depth, and braiding. Measurements will be collected both before and after the fall moose season. In addition to the amended decision, permitting, and new monitoring actions, the Department established a ground temperature monitoring station in the fall of 2008 to help establish dates of freeze-up and thawing at both 20 and 30 cm.
Summary of Public Meetings:
On May 13th and 14th, the Division held public meetings in Anderson and Fairbanks to present the Rex Trail administrative decision, provide information about long-term goals and potential future management options, and provide an opportunity for questions and comments.
In Anderson, 16 people attended the meeting. Questions and comments included the extent and nature of DNR's trail research/assessment methods and conclusions, the relative impacts of different vehicles on the trail and surrounding lands, the relevance of existing access management statutes and regulations, implications of this decision for other state lands, and DNR's public notice process for this decision. Many attendees stated that they believed large tracked vehicles should not be restricted, and did not agree with the Division's May 12th decision. Some stated the trail has been in the same condition for years and is not getting worse. Some attendees requested that the decision to restrict be postponed while DNR works with the public on long-term management options.
In Fairbanks, 26 people attended the meeting, and many of the same comments were voiced. A number of attendees noted that they have observed increasing trail degradation, worsening access, unsafe winter travel conditions, and expressed agreement with DNR's decision to seasonally restrict some motorized uses of the Rex Trail. Some people recommended that large tracked vehicles be given permits to operate on the Rex Trail during summer and fall, as long as they stay to the trail and do not travel cross-country.
In addition to comments voiced during the two public meetings, many people have sent written comments to the Division. To date, 37 written comments have been received. Of these, 23 support the Division's decision to seasonally restrict some motorized use of the Rex Trail; 14 commenters oppose the decision. Some of those who oppose the decision have submitted formal appeals.
A more complete description of the comments received during the public meetings is being compiled and will be posted to the website once complete.
We strongly encourage you to get involved by attending a public meeting or sending in your comments to us by email or letter. The Division will be holding two public meetings for the purposes of:
- informing you on the decision under AS 38.04.058;
- informing you on the appeal process for the decision;
- discussing and seeking input on long term management options;
- updating you regarding future plans to review and/or revise Generally Allowed Use regulations as they pertain to motorized access on state land.
The dates, locations, and times of the open house meetings are:
- May 13th Anderson Anderson School Multipurpose Room 7:00-10:00pm
- May 14th Fairbanks Noel Wien Public Library Auditorium 7:00-10:00pm
This site will be updated with news and information about this program. Please check back often.