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Thanks for questions, here's some answers
Posted by bushrat on May 05 2006
"You say you oppose opening up all of Alaska to orv and atv use, so do I but, will you and your group try and shut down places that have for generations been hunted with orv's?" ---AKHunter45
First, let's define what an "orv" is. According to state regs, it is a land vehicle weighing over 1500lbs gross weight. We also must define "generations." Generally speaking, when you say "that for generations have been hunted with orv's," I can only imagine you mean at least two generations of hunters. Say forty years? Is that what you had in mind?
If our group saw that widespread habitat damage was being caused in an area by orvs, we would most likely (Just as the Upper Tanana Advisory Committee recently did with SUSV damage in the mosquito flats) try to find a solution to the problem. We are not about shutting down areas, but about promoting keeping them as wild and natural and undamaged as possible. In the past, the Board of Game and ADFG has had to close down areas to atvs simply because they were seeeing too much use, too much habitat damage, too much over-hunting. They made them controlled-use areas. Some controlled-use areas allow atv access but only on designated trails. So your question is valid, but it also can be very misleading. I can see times when even you may want to shut areas down or regulate and control the use of orvs, even if they have been used for generations in that area.
As the population of Alaska grows, just because orvs have been used for "generations" in one area doesn't necessarily mean that everyone and their brother should then buy a SUSV or tracked vehicle and be allowed to use them in that area. Do we agree on that principle? There has to be some regulation, doesn't there, either voluntary among that user group or in state regs?
The basic answer to your question is "NO," we will not and do not seek to always close areas down to orvs OR atvs. HOWEVER, there will be instances, I'm sure, when we will advocate that some areas need to have restrictions placed on them as to the type of use. It's a case by case thing. The damage done by just one orv to the Mosquito Flats last fall was amazing! Ironically it brought up the issue of "hunters fighting hunters"---Atv users fighting orv users.
This is an example of the "clash" amongst hunters you mentioned in your post. I agree that in a perfect world there should be some middle ground so we can all advocate the same common goal. Unfortunately that isn't always possible. I have tried to define what ABHA's goals are. You can look up the org on the net for further info. Will we clash with AOC in future? Right now they advocate things we don't think are in the best interests of us all, and for future generations of hunters and anglers. Many hunters (and not surprisingly, MANY ATV users)oppose opening up the haul road to atv/orv access, as do we. Should they not vocally oppose this, "clash" with other hunters? Should they not go to the public hearings and say, "NO! This is not wanted by this hunter!"? There are unfortunately times when hunters must differ with other hunters, and hunting orgs differ with other hunting orgs. That is the reality as I see it. I was in the past a member of the Tanana Valley Sportman's Assn, back in 1980 or '81. I saw that org grow and eventually become the Alaska Outdoor Council. They have indeed done some good things for our state. I respect many of the members and Board.
If "belittling" them includes me saying here that they are promoting and advocating a path we consider not to be in the best interests of future generations of hunters, then I'm afraid I am guilty. I look at it more as a "compare and contrast" thing. This is what they believe. This is what we believe. You and others can then make an informed decision on what path you'd like to take as hunters, which org, if any, to support.
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