ticket off-limits snowmachiners

We all hate it, but its forced upon us. Any local political issues we should know about ??

Moderator: john

Post Reply
Posts: 708
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2003 1:03 am
Location: Nordale Road area

ticket off-limits snowmachiners

#1 Post by Darrell » Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:00 am

Rangers ticket off-limits snowmachiners at Denali National Park
$150 FINE: Two groups of riders caught in wilderness zone of 2 million acres.

Anchorage Daily News

Published: April 27, 2006
Last Modified: April 27, 2006 at 03:07 AM

Two snowmachiners have been ticketed for illegally riding in an off-limits area of Denali National Park earlier this month in separate incidents, the National Park Service said Wednesday.

Each of the riders was the apparent leader among a group of riders, said park spokeswoman Kris Fister. Rangers saw the groups riding in the park's wilderness zone, she said.

Thomas Conley of North Pole was cited during the weekend of April 8-9, and Pierre Stragier of Anchorage was cited on the following weekend, Fister said in a phone interview.

The citation carries a fine of $150 plus a $25 processing fee, Fister said.

Conley's group numbered five, with his wife, son, a niece and the niece's boyfriend, according to his wife, Denise Conley.

Stragier said he was snowmachining with two teenage sons.

The groups had entered an area of the 6-million-acre park -- the 2-million-acre wilderness zone -- that corresponds to the former Mount McKinley National Park. Nearly all of the designated wilderness, including lands on both sides of the Alaska Range, is closed to snow vehicles by federal regulation, according to park managers.

Rangers who were patrolling on snowmachines outside the boundary saw the parties coming out of the wilderness zone in the area of Bull River, Fister said.

The location is about a dozen miles west-southwest of Cantwell and easily reached from a wayside at Mile 196 of the Parks Highway.

Both Denise Conley and Stragier said their groups never saw a small sign in the valley warning that "no motorized vehicles" were permitted beyond that point.

"The sign was way the heck over on a ridge," Conley said. "If you had binoculars, you could read it, but we couldn't read it from where we were."

Stragier said, "The Bull River (valley) is a half-mile wide, and somewhere in there, in that rolling terrain -- little hills 20 to 30 feet high, 200 to 300 feet in diameter -- and on one of these little hills, is the sign."

The ranger told him that the boundary is also marked with reflective plastic posts about 4 inches wide, but neither Stragier nor his sons saw those, he said.

Both Conley and Stragier, however, had nothing but praise for the ranger who cited them.

"They were being very nice about the whole issue," Conley said. "They said they could give all of us citations. We were kind of grateful over that (getting only one). They also informed us they could impound our snowmachines."

Stragier said, "The ranger was quite amenable. He could have given me three citations. ... I was treated fairly and very professionally."

Snowmachining is allowed for what is termed "traditional activities" within Denali's other 4 million acres, the 1980 additions to the old park that created Denali National Park and Preserve. Fister said the zone gives snowmachiners "a huge area for (riding) opportunities" when snow conditions allow.

Park managers have enlarged the ranger staff, and that has allowed for increased winter patrols, Fister said.

"We're focusing on the areas we certainly know are being used, where people historically have been coming into the park," she said.

Stragier, a fourth-generation Alaskan, said he puts in from 600 to 800 miles of snowmachine riding every year in the general Cantwell area, where his mother was raised and his grandmother was a teacher.

This is the first time he's been cited, he said.

Conley said her family makes a weekend outing in the area almost every April, driving the 150 miles from North Pole in a motor home.

On the weekend they rode into the old park, the highway wayside was filled with 60 to 70 snowmachiners, she said. People lit fires and enjoyed a picnic atmosphere.

"My husband calls it his Hawaii," she said of the Cantwell region, where lots of snow remains on the mountains. "This weekend, it's supposed to be 50 degrees. You can get sunburned down there."

Information about legal snowmobiling in Denali is available by calling the park at 907-683-2294 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or by going online at www.nps.gov/dena.


Daily News reporter Peter Porco

User avatar
Posts: 2788
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:52 pm
Location: North Pole Alaska

#2 Post by john » Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:24 pm

I'll have to keep my eyes open more next time I go up the Bull River, that's where the wife and I went 2 Sat ago and I never saw a sign anywhere along there.

Maybe take some flagging along so folks will know.

Post Reply