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Copper Center, AK - The Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is proposing to close the Malaspina Forelands and other lands in its Yakutat District to the use of off-road vehicles (ORVs) for subsistence access. The closure is needed to prevent damage to park resources. It would apply to all portions of the Park and Preserve south of the Bagley Ice Field and Seward Glacier, extending east to the western margin of the Hubbard Glacier. A public hearing on the proposed closure will be held at the National Park Service's Yakutat Visitor Center on Tuesday, April 17, 2012, from 4 PM to 6 PM.
Local users including the Wrangell-St. Elias Subsistence Resource Commission have recommended that the Park Superintendent implement this closure to prevent damage to park resources on the Malaspina Forelands. The use of ORVs on the nearby Yakutat Forelands, even in the presence of regular monitoring and enforcement, has led to extensive resource damage in a relatively short period of time. Current NPS staffing in Yakutat does not allow for monitoring at the frequency needed to successfully address and prevent resource damage. This closure would be in effect until a determination by the Superintendent concludes that ORV use in this area no longer represents an unacceptable adverse impact on the resource.
Less restrictive measures will not be effective are because the park does not currently have the capacity to effectively monitor use or enforce permit conditions.A complete closure is the only option that can be adequately enforced at this time.
This closure would be a seasonal closure in effect only during summer months. During winter periods in which there is 6-12 inches of snow or more, or a combination of snow and frost depth sufficient to protect underlying vegetation and soil, these areas will be open to over snow vehicles. Use of ORVs will still be authorized for commercial fishermen under the authority of 36 CFR 13.40(c), and/or by permit issued by the Superintendent.
A map of the closed area is available for public inspection at the park headquarters in Copper Center, at the NPS Yakutat Visitor Center, at the Yakutat Post Office, and on the park web -- click Here for more info.
Additional information may be obtained by calling Rick Obernesser, Superintendent, 907-822-5234.