Environmental Assessment for Construction of Replacement Subsistence Cabins is Available for Public Comment
Contact: Kris Fister, 907-683-9583
The National Park Service has released for public comment an Environmental Assessment (EA) which evaluates the impacts associated with replacing two cabins used for subsistence activities within Denali National Preserve. The requested cabins would replace two traditionally used trapline cabins on the Herron River and at Live Trap Lake. These cabins collapsed in the 1970s, rendering them unusable. The applicant started using the traplines in the early 1990s and requested the cabins after years of experience on those traplines. Both replacement cabins would be of the same size and type as the original cabins, and would be built near the locations of the collapsed cabins. Both cabins would be constructed of locally harvested spruce logs. Construction of a replacement cabin is requested to reasonably accommodate the applicant’s subsistence activities and reduce reliance on tent camps along this trapline. On remote and long distance traplines, reliance on tents as primary shelter is potentially dangerous, especially if the trapper is operating alone. The work would begin during the spring of 2008.
The NPS is evaluating a no-action alternative and a preferred build alternative for this project. Under the no-action alternative, neither cabin would be rebuilt, and the subsistence users would have to depend on tents for shelter each winter.
Under Alternative 2 (NPS preferred alternative), the applicant would be issued a permit to construct a replacement cabin near the collapsed cabin at Live Trap Lake, and he would be issued a permit to construct a small cabin in the near vicinity of the collapsed cabin on the Herron River. These cabins are 17 and 27 miles from the applicant’s home at Lake Minchumina.
The permit would authorize one-room cabins of the same size (10’x12') and type (white spruce log). Cabin logs would be harvested randomly in a dispersed manner from the floodplain forest of the Herron River and from the area around Live Trap Lake during the spring of 2008. This permit would authorize the harvest of up to 45 standing spruce trees at the Live Trap Lake cabin site, and 45 standing spruce trees from the floodplain forest of the Herron River. Trees could be taken within a two mile radius from the proposed construction sites and would be randomly cut in a dispersed manner to avoid clear cutting. Logs would be cut and transported to the construction site when snow cover exists to minimize impacts to vegetation. The Herron River cabin site is generally not accessible by airplane or boat during the summer. An airplane could land on Live Trap Lake during the summer to bring in supplies or to work on the cabin.
Trees and brush within a 30’ radius around the cabin could be removed and within a 100’ radius around the cabin could be thinned to “Fire Wise” standards, which would include keeping tree crowns from reaching within 30’ of the cabin and within 20’ of each other.
The cabins would be designated for shared use among subsistence users as required by regulations and the Denali Subsistence Management Plan (SMP).
Printed copies of the EA will be distributed to local libraries, visitor centers, and those who request printed copies. The EA is posted on the new NPS public comment website at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov It will also be posted on the Denali National Park and Preserve web site at: http://www.nps.gov/dena/parkmgmt/planning.htm.
The EA will be available for public review from February 15 until March 14. If you would like to comment in writing on the project, please submit your comments in to Superintendent, Denali National Park and Preserve, P.O. Box 9, Denali Park, AK 99755. Comments may faxed to (907) 683-9612, or may be e-mailed by going to the new NPS public comment website at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov.
The NPS will make a decision about the proposed trails soon after the close of the public comment period.
If you have any questions about the EA, please call the Superintendent’s office at (907) 683-9581, the park’s Subsistence Manager, Amy Craver at (907) 683-9544, or the park’s Compliance Program Manager, Steve Carwile, at (907) 644-3612.
Did You Know?
The vast landscapes of interior Alaska are changing. Large glaciers are receding, permafrost is melting and woody plants are spreading. Comparison of "then-and-now" photographs and data from major vegetation monitoring should allow detection, understanding and potential management of these changes.