Legislature(2015 - 2016)BARNES 124

03/25/2016 01:00 PM House RESOURCES

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01:01:09 PM Start
01:02:04 PM HB213
02:30:15 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
       HB 213-RESTRICT ACCESS ST. LAND; FINDINGS; NOTICE                                                                    
1:02:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TALERICO  announced that the  only order of  business is                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.  213,  "An Act  requiring  the  commissioner  of                                                               
natural  resources to  make specific,  detailed written  findings                                                               
before restricting  or prohibiting a traditional  means of access                                                               
to  state  land, water,  or  land  and  water for  a  traditional                                                               
outdoor  activity;  and  requiring  certain public  notice  of  a                                                               
proposed  restriction or  prohibition of  a traditional  means of                                                               
access to state land, water, or  land and water for a traditional                                                               
outdoor activity."                                                                                                              
1:02:23 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
1:02:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HERRON  moved  to adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB   213,  Version  29-LS0710\E,  Bullard,                                                               
3/16/16, as the working document.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  objected  for  discussion  purposes  and                                                               
noted he would like to see a summary of the changes.                                                                            
1:03:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CATHY TILTON,  Alaska State  Legislature, as  the                                                               
prime sponsor offered to provide  testimony or go straight to the                                                               
changes in the bill.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON said he would like to hear the changes.                                                                  
CO-CHAIR  TALERICO requested  Representative  Tilton to  describe                                                               
what the bill does and then offer a summary of the changes.                                                                     
1:04:13 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TILTON  asserted that  access to  state land  is a                                                               
fundamental precept  of the  state's constitution  within Article                                                               
VIII, Sections 2-4, and perhaps the most relevant to this bill                                                                  
is Section 4 which states:                                                                                                      
     § 4. Sustained Yield                                                                                                       
     Fish,  forests,  wildlife,  grasslands, and  all  other                                                                    
     replenishable  resources belonging  to the  State shall                                                                    
     be   utilized,  developed,   and   maintained  on   the                                                                    
     sustained  yield  principle,   subject  to  preferences                                                                    
     among beneficial uses.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE TILTON read her testimony as follows:                                                                            
     Members of  the committee,  this has been  a tremendous                                                                    
     week  for Alaskans  with the  affirmation that  we have                                                                    
     the  right to  access our  lands.   First, the  Supreme                                                                    
     Court  of the  United  States  unanimously agreed  with                                                                    
     John Sturgeon's interpretation of  ANILCA, and only two                                                                    
     days ago,  your own bill,  Mr. Chairman, HB  216 passed                                                                    
     the House unanimously, as well.                                                                                            
     While not  as broad as HB  216, HB 213 is  another bill                                                                    
     intended  to confirm  and  clarify  Alaskan's right  to                                                                    
     access Alaska's public  land through traditional means.                                                                    
     For  nearly   a  decade,  user  groups   have  been  in                                                                    
     disagreement with  the Department of  Natural Resources                                                                    
     over  the  management  of  the Rex  Trail,  up  to  and                                                                    
     including a lawsuit that ultimately  was decided by the                                                                    
     Supreme  Court.   House  Bill  213  was drafted  to  be                                                                    
     specifically responsive  to the points of  law ruled in                                                                    
     that case, which you have a  copy in your packets.  Mr.                                                                    
     Chairman  and members  of the  committee it  is clearly                                                                    
     the   court's   responsibility  to   interpret   Alaska                                                                    
     statutes,  but it  is  our  right, responsibility,  and                                                                    
     privilege to  change the law  when we observe  it being                                                                    
     used in a  way that the legislature  did not originally                                                                    
     intend or envision.                                                                                                        
     Plainly stated,  HB 21[3] requires the  commissioner of                                                                    
     Natural Resources to  provide detailed written findings                                                                    
     addressing   specific   points  when   restricting   or                                                                    
     prohibiting traditional means of  access to state land.                                                                    
     And  it  further  requires the  Department  of  Natural                                                                    
     Resources to  provide adequate public notice  when such                                                                    
     restrictions or prohibitions are adopted.                                                                                  
1:06:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  asked whether  Version E omits  one key                                                               
part  of this  bill  and referred  to AS  38.04.200(a)(1)(C)(ii),                                                               
page 2, lines 12-15, which state:                                                                                               
                         (ii) a reasonable alternative for                                                                  
          the traditional means of access across the land,                                                                  
          water, or land and water for traditional outdoor                                                                  
          activities on other land, water, or land and                                                                      
          water   is   available   and   approved   by   the                                                                
          commissioner; or                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON  noted  that  it appears  to  tell  the                                                               
commissioner  that if  he/she  is blocking  an  entrance along  a                                                               
right-of-way due to a safety  consideration, the commissioner had                                                               
better  find another  means  of  access.   In  other words,  this                                                               
access will happen  period.  He asked  whether his interpretation                                                               
is incorrect.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE TILTON deferred to her staff.                                                                                    
HEATH HILYARD,  Staff, Representative Cathy Tilton,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  replied that  the aforementioned  interpretation of                                                               
that provision is correct.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON posited  that if he is  correct the bill                                                               
should have  something other than  a zero fiscal note  because it                                                               
necessitates the building of trails.                                                                                            
MR. HILYARD  responded that the  fiscal note was prepared  by the                                                               
Department  of Natural  Resources (DNR),  and apparently  at this                                                               
juncture DNR believes  a fiscal note with  a dollar appropriation                                                               
is not needed.                                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR TALERICO noted that in  his district, DNR does not build                                                               
a trail but does offer an alternate route.                                                                                      
1:08:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON commented  that clearly  the design  of                                                               
this bill is to remove some power  from DNR, which it has had for                                                               
a  long time,  and give  it  to the  legislature.   He asked  Mr.                                                               
Fogels why DNR concluded there was a zero fiscal note.                                                                          
ED  FOGELS,  Deputy  Commissioner, Office  of  the  Commissioner,                                                               
Department  of   Natural  Resources  (DNR),  answered   that  the                                                               
Department of  Natural Resources  did not interpret  this section                                                               
to say  the department had  to build  new trails, but  rather the                                                               
department could  not restrict for  aesthetic values  unless some                                                               
conditions are met or that  alternative access was already there.                                                               
He reiterated that the department did  not see a fiscal impact to                                                               
itself on this because it  typically does not restrict access for                                                               
aesthetic values in any case on general state lands.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE   JOSEPHSON  said   his  interpretation   of  sub-                                                               
subparagraph (C)(ii)  and subparagraph (D), page  2, lines 12-19,                                                               
of the  bill is  that the department  must participate  in making                                                               
another  reasonable alternative  available.   He  asked what  Mr.                                                               
Fogels interprets these provisions to mean.                                                                                     
MR.  FOGELS responded  that if  DNR is  embarking on  restricting                                                               
traditional means  of access for  aesthetic values then  DNR must                                                               
ensure  that alternative  access is  available before  making the                                                               
restriction.   In the  event there isn't,  the department  may be                                                               
prohibited under the  statute from making that  restriction.  The                                                               
department is  certainly not  in a position  to build  new trails                                                               
without  a  capital  appropriation  from  the  legislature  or  a                                                               
specific funding source, he pointed out.                                                                                        
1:11:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HERRON  asked  whether  the  fiscal  note  is  on                                                               
Version E or the original Version W.                                                                                            
MR. FOGELS believed it is on Version  W, but held it would be the                                                               
same  for   Version  E   because  the   department's  fundamental                                                               
assumption  is  that  the  bill  restricts  the  department  from                                                               
restricting traditional  means of access in  protecting aesthetic                                                               
values.  He  reiterated that the department normally  does not do                                                               
that on  general state land  and, if  it did, it  certainly would                                                               
seek public involvement and perform some sort of finding.                                                                       
1:12:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON referred  to AS  38.04.200(a)(1), page  2,                                                               
lines 1-2, of the bill, which states:                                                                                           
           (1) commissioner makes specific, detailed                                                                        
      written findings that the restriction or prohibition                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  referred  to AS  38.04.200(a)(1)(C),  and                                                               
(C)(i), page 2, lines 8-11, of the bill which state:                                                                            
              (C)   necessary   [(3)]   for   the                                                                           
       protection of public safety and public or private                                                                        
     property and                                                                                                           
                 (i)     affects     only     a                                                                             
        traditional means of access on or across a state-                                                                   
     improved or state-maintained way or easement; and                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  asked  whether the  department  has  full                                                               
legal authority to  restrict access for the  protection of public                                                               
safety  and private  property exclusive  of this  segment of  the                                                               
[proposed] statute.                                                                                                             
MR.  FOGELS  responded that  he  believes  so.   The  bill  would                                                               
restrict  the   department's  ability  to  restrict   access  for                                                               
aesthetic  values.   Therefore, in  the event  there was  a trail                                                               
where the  department believed there were  public safety concerns                                                               
it  would  not be  covered  by  this  bill, in  the  department's                                                               
interpretation, he said.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON referred  to the  legal case  and the  Rex                                                               
Trail, and noted  it was not considered for  aesthetic values but                                                               
rather  for  public  safety concerns  determined  by  the  court.                                                               
Therefore, he  pointed out, the department  has perfect authority                                                               
to restrict access to the Rex  Trail which is one of the specific                                                               
causes for this bill.   He  asked whether he was correct that the                                                               
department could  still close  off access  to that  trail whether                                                               
this bill is in place or not.                                                                                                   
MR. FOGELS replied  yes, that is DNR's interpretation  in that it                                                               
would  be able  to manage  access  on a  trail, such  as the  Rex                                                               
Trail, if  it believed  there was  a public  safety concern.   He                                                               
reiterated that  the department's interpretation of  this bill is                                                               
that  it only  restricts the  department from  restricting access                                                               
for protecting aesthetic values.                                                                                                
1:15:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON   asked  whether  DNR  needs   to  make  a                                                               
different  detailed  finding  if the  department  is  restricting                                                               
access  for  aesthetic  values and  public  safety  concerns,  or                                                               
whether it is one finding for both issues.                                                                                      
MR.  FOGELS  responded  that   the  department  performed  public                                                               
outreach and  public notice before proposing  a management regime                                                               
for the Rex Trail, and there  were findings involved in that.  He                                                               
offered to  read the definition  of aesthetic values  under Title                                                               
38, which is specific and  clearly different from the definitions                                                               
of public safety or protection of resources.                                                                                    
MR. FOGELS referred to AS 38.04.200(b)(1), which states:                                                                        
               (1) "aesthetic values" means those values                                                                        
     that exist as  an expression of the  social or cultural                                                                    
     viewpoint held by a portion of the population;                                                                             
1:16:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR distributed  photographs  to the  committee,                                                               
and referred to  AS 38.04.200(b)(2), page 2, lines  23-27, of the                                                               
bill, which state:                                                                                                              
                    (2) "traditional means of access" means                                                                     
     those types of  transportation on, to, or  in the state                                                                    
     land, water,  or land  and water,  for which  a popular                                                                    
     pattern  of  use  has   developed;  the  term  includes                                                                    
     flying,  ballooning,  boating,   using  snow  vehicles,                                                                    
     operation  of registered  and unregistered  all-terrain                                                                
     vehicles  up   to  10,000  pounds,   horseback  riding,                                                                
     mushing, skiing, snowshoeing, and walking.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE TARR related that she  is trying to understand how                                                               
Mr. Fogels was  defining "all-terrain vehicles."   In reading the                                                               
articles about  the Rex Trail,  she said it  appeared, initially,                                                               
that the  reason some of these  vehicles were limited was  due to                                                               
causing  significant  damage from  their  size  and causing  deep                                                               
ruts; another  criticism was  that the  trail repair  work hadn't                                                               
taken place.  She referred to  the photographs she passed out and                                                               
noted that a 10,000 pound  vehicle is more like off-road vehicles                                                               
with  gigantic tires.    She expressed  her  concerned about  the                                                               
significant kind of damage that this  size vehicle could do.  She                                                               
requested  Mr.  Fogels to  explain,  without  the "up  to  10,000                                                               
pounds" language,  how he would  define all-terrain  vehicles and                                                               
how adding that language would change his definition.                                                                           
MR. FOGELS replied he is unsure  he has the expertise in managing                                                               
off-road vehicles  to answer  the question,  and will  check with                                                               
his  staff who  do  this  work day-to-day  and  get  back to  the                                                               
committee  or have  his staff  go through  it with  the committee                                                               
during the next hearing.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR said  she would  appreciate  that and  added                                                               
that  possibly she  could  email the  photos in  order  to get  a                                                               
better understanding  of the current  status, how it  is defined,                                                               
the [proposed] new definition, and  what that might mean in terms                                                               
of what  is allowed  so she  could have a  level of  comfort that                                                               
salmon streams would not be damaged or cause other damages.                                                                     
1:20:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  removed his  objection, and  advised that                                                               
he googled  a Jeep  CJ7 and found  it weighs  approximately 4,900                                                               
pounds, so the discussion is about a vehicle twice that size.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE TARR said it is  unclear how that is being defined                                                               
and  she  is  trying  to understand  whether  the  10,000  pounds                                                               
becomes an issue.                                                                                                               
MR. HILYARD  offered that  there are members  of the  user groups                                                               
online who asked for the 10,000  pound provision.  He opined that                                                               
they were  referring to larger  snow track vehicles that  will be                                                               
much heavier, but actually have  a lower displacement in terms of                                                               
the width of the track.                                                                                                         
1:21:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  related that the  more he looks  at the                                                               
bill the  more he is  put at ease  that this is  about aesthetics                                                               
and the department doesn't regulate  based on that.  Although, he                                                               
noted,  in the  event the  committee adopts  a new  definition of                                                               
traditional means of access, then  the starting point without any                                                               
other emergency  regulations for  all of  these R.S.  2477 trails                                                               
would be  10,000 pounds.   In other  words, the  department would                                                               
now  have to  intervene in  the manner  it did  on the  Rex Trail                                                               
multiples of times  if it found that 10,000  pounds created four-                                                               
foot ditches, he said.                                                                                                          
MR. FOGELS clarified  that DNR has regulations  that specify what                                                               
are generally  allowed uses  on state  lands.   He read  from the                                                               
regulation  that specifies  what the  generally allowed  uses are                                                               
anywhere on state  lands regardless of what kind of  trail or for                                                               
what purposes:   "Using a highway  vehicle with a curb  weight of                                                               
up to  10,000 pounds,  including a  four-wheel drive  vehicle and                                                               
pickup truck using a recreational  type vehicle off-road, or all-                                                               
terrain  vehicle  with a  curb  weight  of  up to  1,500  pounds,                                                               
including a  snowmobile or other tracked  vehicle, motorcycle, or                                                               
ATV  on  or  off  an  established  road,  easements,  ...."    He                                                               
explained that the regulation goes on  and so he will provide the                                                               
committee  with   a  copy  of  the   department's  factsheet  for                                                               
generally allowed uses on state land.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  confirmed the  committee already  has a                                                               
copy of the  regulations.  He posited that in  the Robert Caywood                                                             
decision there is  a more limiting regulation,  11 AAC 51.100(a),                                                               
that applies to R.S. 2477 rights-of-way and which states:                                                                       
          (a) The commissioner has management authority                                                                         
     over the use of any  R.S. 2477 right-of-way that is not                                                                    
     on  the  Alaska  highway  system.    Certain  land  use                                                                    
     actions  on  R.S.  2477 rights-of-way,  including  road                                                                    
     construction,  may  require  a   permit  under  11  AAC                                                                    
     96.010,  or  other  authorization  by  the  department.                                                                    
     Based on  a written determination by  the commissioner,                                                                    
     the   commissioner   will,    in   the   commissioner's                                                                    
     discretion, close or  restrict the use of  an R.S. 2477                                                                    
     right-of-way   over   which    the   commissioner   has                                                                    
     management authority in order to                                                                                           
1:24:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON referred to  the R.S. 2477 rights-of-way                                                               
and asked whether  the 11 AAC 51.100(a) regulation  would have to                                                               
be amended in the event the committee amended this statute.                                                                     
MR.  FOGELS replied  he could  not answer  the question  with any                                                               
level  of  certainty.    He reiterated  that  this  statute  only                                                               
applies  to  restricting uses  for  aesthetic  values, which  the                                                               
department does not generally do on general state land anyway.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  advised that  the aesthetic  statute is                                                               
AS  38.04.200, the  changed  definition is  AS  38.05.945, so  it                                                               
appears that  it falls  under a broader  definition that  is used                                                               
for  traditional ...  [Representative  Josephson stopped  talking                                                               
and then told someone "You're right" and his testimony ended.]                                                                  
1:25:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON drew attention  to AS 38.05.945(a)(7), page                                                               
3, lines 17-20, of the bill, which states:                                                                                      
                    (7) a restriction or prohibition of a                                                                   
     traditional means  of access  to state land,  water, or                                                                
     land and  water for traditional outdoor  activities for                                                                
     the  purpose  of  protecting aesthetic  values  of  the                                                                
     land, water, or land and water under AS 38.04.200.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said he  is  trying  to put  together  AS                                                               
38.05.945(a)(7)  and  AS  38.04.200  because   .200  is  the  new                                                               
definition before  the committee and  is applied throughout.   He                                                               
inquired  whether  he is  correct  in  his understanding  of  the                                                               
proposed language in [paragraph (7)] on page 3 of the bill.                                                                     
1:26:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. FOGELS advised he was looking  at Section 3, page 3, line 17-                                                               
20, "the addition of restriction  or prohibition of a traditional                                                               
means  of  access," and  was  unsure  what Representative  Seaton                                                               
meant by [paragraph] 11.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON, responding to  Mr. Fogels, clarified he is                                                               
referring  to AS  38.05.945(a), [paragraph]  (7).   He understood                                                               
this  paragraph  to  be  referring back  to  the  definition  and                                                               
changing the definition  in .945 of the definition  that is being                                                               
changed in .200(b)(2).                                                                                                          
MR. FOGELS agreed.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON referred  to the  definition change  in AS                                                               
38.04.200  and  AS 38.05.945  being  specific  to utilizing  that                                                               
definition,   asked   whether   that  definition   then   applies                                                               
throughout  the  sections  as  to  what  would  be  considered  a                                                               
traditional  means  of  access  and  therefore  the  department's                                                               
current  regulations of  1,500 pounds  would no  longer apply  in                                                               
anything that deals with AS 38.05.945.                                                                                          
MR.  FOGELS  responded  that  Representative  Seaton  is  correct                                                               
because  Section   2,  [AS   38.04.200(b)(2)]  would   amend  the                                                               
definition of  traditional means  of access throughout  Title 38.                                                               
He  said he  does not  think the  department has  determined that                                                               
that  would impact  its generally  allowed  uses regulation,  but                                                               
added that he will get back to the committee.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said  he   would  appreciate  Mr.  Fogels                                                               
getting  back   to  the  committee   because  the   proposed  new                                                               
definition would apply  throughout Title 38 and  could affect the                                                               
regulations for  generally allowed  uses because  the regulations                                                               
may not be consistent with the statute as amended.                                                                              
1:28:57 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. HILYARD explained  that AS 38.04.200 deals  with the specific                                                               
and detailed  written findings that  the commissioner  must issue                                                               
in order to make such a closure,  and AS 38.05.945 has to do with                                                               
the public notice.  So, AS  38.05.945 stipulates that if there is                                                               
a  closure  pertaining  to  aesthetic  values  there  has  to  be                                                               
adequate  public  notice;  therefore,  [paragraph]  (7)  is  only                                                               
adding that  restriction pursuant to  AS 38.04.200 into  the list                                                               
of  notices  required.    He further  explained  that  the  first                                                               
section has to do with  the substantive component of the detailed                                                               
written findings  the commissioner  must issue, and  AS 38.05.945                                                               
deals  with  the subsequent  public  notification.   Mr.  Hilyard                                                               
continued that  the sponsor is basically  adding this restriction                                                               
or prohibition as  a list of required public  notices pursuant to                                                               
protecting aesthetic  values of  land, water,  or land  and water                                                               
under AS  38.04.200.  He  stated he is not  saying Representative                                                               
Seaton is  incorrect, but  that they  do deal  with fundamentally                                                               
different portions of Title 38.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said  he   would  like  the  department's                                                               
official answer  given that Mr.  Fogels indicated it  might apply                                                               
throughout Title 38.                                                                                                            
CO-CHAIR  TALERICO agreed  that Section  3 is  specifically about                                                               
public notice and not usage.                                                                                                    
1:30:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON recalled Mr.  Hilyard as saying that the                                                               
notice in AS 38.05.945 is  about situations of aesthetic concern.                                                               
He questioned  whether that is correct  because his understanding                                                               
is that it is about any kind of notice.                                                                                         
MR.  HILYARD  clarified  his  point was  that  the  proposed  new                                                               
language,  AS  38.05.945(a)(7), on  page  3,  lines 17-20,  deals                                                               
specifically and  only with the  aesthetic values.   He confirmed                                                               
AS 38.05.945 deals with all  public notices, but pointed out that                                                               
.945(a)(7) would add the restriction for aesthetic purposes.                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TALERICO  asked Representative Johnson whether  he would                                                               
like to go through the summary of changes.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON replied he is clear on the bill now.                                                                     
1:31:43 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  remarked that  he would like  to determine                                                               
whether a small  Caterpillar tractor would be  allowed under this                                                               
bill, because it may  or may not be at winter and  may or may not                                                               
be confined.   He said he is  aware that this is  access to state                                                               
lands, but  pointed out that  the new definition of  water passed                                                               
by the  committee is  any pond  or estuary  or anything  that has                                                               
water in  it at any  time of the  year.  Unless  the commissioner                                                               
makes  a specific  designation for  a specific  area, he  posited                                                               
that the committee may be  causing unintentional harm so he would                                                               
like to see the parameters of the bill and what it could affect.                                                                
CO-CHAIR  TALERICO said  there are  many perplexing  issues.   He                                                               
noted there are few track-type  push dozers that can be purchased                                                               
weighing less than  10,000 pounds.  A 17  horsepower rubber tired                                                               
tractor  weighs  somewhere between  7,600  and  9,400 pounds,  he                                                               
advised,  and most  of that  "yellow iron"  easily cracks  10,000                                                               
pounds and a D3 probably weighs 17,800 pounds at least.                                                                         
MR. HILYARD stated that the key  with regard to the 10,000 pounds                                                               
is that  it is preceded by  all-terrain vehicles.  He  said he is                                                               
unfamiliar with the definition and  will work with the department                                                               
and get back to the committee at its next meeting.                                                                              
1:34:35 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked how  often the commissioner restricts                                                               
usage for aesthetic reasons.                                                                                                    
MR. FOGELS responded  that outside of state park  units, DNR does                                                               
not  restrict  traditional  access   for  aesthetic  values,  the                                                               
restriction is for public safety or resource damage reasons.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON referred to  his earlier question regarding                                                               
a  finding  and that  the  findings  generally  are not  done  in                                                               
combination.   He  said it  would just  be a  single finding  for                                                               
public safety  or management reasons and  not necessarily include                                                               
a determination for aesthetic values.                                                                                           
MR.  FOGELS  confirmed  Representative  Seaton  is  correct,  and                                                               
reiterated  that in  the event  there was  a situation  where the                                                               
department  believes  there are  public  safety  issues it  would                                                               
perform a  finding for  that particular trail,  such as  with the                                                               
Rex Trail.  The department  would explain its reasoning, what the                                                               
problems were, what  its proposed restriction would  be, and then                                                               
go to public notice with that.                                                                                                  
1:36:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  TALERICO  inquired where  the  photos  were taken  that                                                               
Representative Tarr distributed.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR advised that she  did a Google search because                                                               
she was trying to understand what  10,000 pounds means.  She said                                                               
she will send the links to the committee.                                                                                       
CO-CHAIR  TALERICO commented  that one  of the  photographs could                                                               
potentially be from  the Rex Trail and another could  be from the                                                               
Stampede  Trail  established by  the  Alaska  Road Commission  in                                                               
1963.   He noted that  the Alaska Road  Commission put it  in the                                                               
wrong spot,  although it was built  in the winter and  things are                                                               
completely different when built in the summer.                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR TALERICO opened public testimony.                                                                                      
1:37:25 PM                                                                                                                    
WARREN OLSON  said he has lived  in Alaska since 1958,  run track                                                               
machines  and vehicles  over trails  for 50-plus  years, and  the                                                               
phenomena of  four-wheelers has expanded  tremendously.   He said                                                               
the state should go in the  direction of equipment with a lighter                                                               
footprint,  and  this lighter  footprint  comes  from pounds  per                                                               
square inch  (psi); for  example track rigs  up to  10,000 pounds                                                               
can have a  lighter footprint than a person  weighing 150 pounds.                                                               
He said he does not see the  purpose of people just going out and                                                               
ripping up a trail with  no interest in harvesting food, catching                                                               
fish, or traveling on these  trails, which is a recent phenomenon                                                               
that is becoming  a huge problem.  Historically,  folks would run                                                               
trails that could  be run during winter or early  spring and then                                                               
in late  summer or fall folks  would be on another  trail for the                                                               
same  location,  but  it  would  be  a  summertime  trail.    So,                                                               
historically, folks  were running bulldozers and  heavy equipment                                                               
but they took care  of the trails in those days.   He said it was                                                               
an absolute travesty  to turn down the Rex Trail  and then let it                                                               
sit there  for four or  five years,  be bantered back  and forth,                                                               
and closed.  He posited that the  public will have to go to track                                                               
rigs  and said  the  state  should work  harder  on keeping  more                                                               
trails open because it spreads  people out.  Conflicts take place                                                               
when people  are concentrated  on the few  remaining trails.   He                                                               
reminded  the  committee  that  Mother  Nature  in  the  form  of                                                               
earthquakes, floods, beavers, 10,000  caribou walking around, and                                                               
other things wipes  out trails.  Sometimes people  must clear the                                                               
trails  or make  their  own trails  with  shovels and  chainsaws.                                                               
With some common sense the state can get through this, he said.                                                                 
1:41:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  surmised that track vehicles  are similar to                                                               
the  extended  belt type  vehicle  so  that  it spreads  out  the                                                               
overall psi  impact of that  vehicle.   She noted that  Version E                                                               
doesn't  specify it  has  to be  that type  of  vehicle and  only                                                               
indicates the pound  limit, so to her this indicates  it could be                                                               
the  other type  of vehicle,  such as  the off-road  vehicle with                                                               
large tires.  She opined that  Mr. Olson was offering support for                                                               
something a  bit more defined,  and that the committee  should be                                                               
moving toward  the low psi-type  track vehicles which is  why the                                                               
pound limit wasn't a concern.                                                                                                   
MR. OLSON responded that the  purpose of the phenomena advertised                                                               
on television  is of going out  and tearing up the  trail, and it                                                               
is not to use  the trail to get from one point  to another.  That                                                               
problem  can be  solved, he  opined, and  the state  needs to  go                                                               
there.  With  regard to closing down a trail  for safety reasons,                                                               
he commented  that in  50 years  he has  seen only  one landslide                                                               
closing down  a trail  along a railroad  and everyone  had enough                                                               
brains to stay off that slide.                                                                                                  
1:43:06 PM                                                                                                                    
MELVIN  GROVE, Alaska  Outdoor Access  Alliance  (AOAA), said  he                                                               
became  involved due  to  what happened  on the  Rex  Trail.   He                                                               
described access as a huge issue,  and not only on the Rex Trail,                                                               
to allow some Alaskans to feed  their families and make a living.                                                               
On the  hierarchy of need,  access is  right there with  food and                                                               
water.  Restricting  access moves down a slippery  slope, and the                                                               
Sturgeon v. Frost, Alaska Regional  Director of the National Park                                                             
Service,  577  U.S. ___  (2016),  was  a tremendous  victory  for                                                             
Alaskans  because  that  issue  was about  access.    He  offered                                                               
concern   that  the   Department  of   Natural  Resources   (DNR)                                                               
commissioner closed  it at the  whim of  discretionary authority,                                                               
and that  what is considered a  safety issue or damage  to public                                                               
property  is   in  the  eyes   of  the  beholder  and   that  the                                                               
commissioner cannot  be allowed to have  that broad discretionary                                                               
authority in  this case.   The discussion is about  general state                                                               
lands wherein  Alaskans can hunt,  fish, gather berries,  or gold                                                               
mine.   There has  been a  lot of  talk about  damage and  what a                                                               
10,000 pound vehicle could cause.   But what is the standard that                                                               
is going  to be set as  damage?  Logging and  mining is performed                                                               
across the state.  He pointed out  that on the Rex Trail a person                                                               
can  go  to Gold  King  Creek  where  the mining  has  completely                                                               
resurfaced the face of the  earth and an entire valley destroyed,                                                               
yet DNR  closes a trail  due to a few  ruts.  He  maintained that                                                               
the  trail was  closed to  longtime Alaskans  who have  used that                                                               
trail for  years because property  was sold to locals  who didn't                                                               
like the  added pressure  they were  seeing around  their private                                                               
little strip of  land with a large population of  moose, and they                                                               
complained about the added ruts on the trail.                                                                                   
1:47:28 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. GROVE  pointed out  that in 2002,  DNR changed  the generally                                                               
allowed uses and added a  weight restriction to the definition of                                                               
an ATV  without a single public  notice.  He held  that generally                                                               
allowed uses  already says  that a highway  vehicle up  to 10,000                                                               
pound can  use state  land.   He asked  the difference  between a                                                               
10,000 pound  highway vehicle  and an  8,000 pound  modified Jeep                                                               
without  a  license plate  on  it,  saying  that just  because  a                                                               
vehicle  is  registered doesn't  mean  it  will not  create  some                                                               
damage.   He said a  certain amount  of damage must  be accepted.                                                               
Walking  on the  terrain  causes damage  and there  has  to be  a                                                               
determination of  an acceptable amount  of damage and  whether it                                                               
is permanent  damage.  He has  been going down the  Rex Trail for                                                               
years on  a track  rig that  exerts less  ground pressure  than a                                                               
person does  standing, and  he safely uses  the trail  and Mother                                                               
Nature will  take the trail over  if it stops being  used and the                                                               
only way to sustain a trail is to use it.                                                                                       
MR.  GROVE addressed  the provision  that  the commissioner  must                                                               
offer  a reasonable  alternative and  said his  organization does                                                               
not  need or  expect the  commissioner to  develop another  trail                                                               
around a safety hazard on a portion  of a trail.  The public will                                                               
make a  route around that portion  if it is given  access and the                                                               
ability  to  create  it.    The trails  were  created  by  public                                                               
resources  not by  state or  private  resources, so  he does  not                                                               
expect  the state  to create  trails.   He reiterated  the 10,000                                                               
pound  restriction is  already in  generally allowed  uses for  a                                                               
registered vehicle  and said it makes  no sense that just  an ATV                                                               
should  be  restricted to  1,500  pounds  because it  just  gives                                                               
someone something to complain about.                                                                                            
1:51:58 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON recalled  Mr. Fogels  testifying that  the                                                               
only  time DNR  uses aesthetic  values to  make a  closure is  in                                                               
state parks.   He asked  whether Mr.  Grove thinks this  would be                                                               
dealing with state park land,  or is thinking that the definition                                                               
of public safety  would be challenged and  other closures outside                                                               
of  parks  would   be  for  aesthetic  values.     Otherwise,  he                                                               
continued,  he does  not see  how this  bill applies  to the  Rex                                                               
Trail or pretty  much anything else other than in  state parks if                                                               
the only place DNR applies that standard is within state parks.                                                                 
MR. GROVE  replied he does  not see HB  213 as applying  to state                                                               
parks,  but  rather  as  applying  to general  state  land.    He                                                               
acknowledged  Mr. Fogels  testified  that this  would not  change                                                               
what  happened on  the Rex  Trail.   He turned  to Section  1 and                                                               
stated that  one of the  reasons for putting  in "notwithstanding                                                               
any other  provisions of law,"  is the hope that  the legislature                                                               
would be  certain DNR  was not  closing down  a trail  simply for                                                               
discretionary protection  of what  it considers damage  to public                                                               
property,  public safety,  and public  hazard.   This  [proposed]                                                               
statute would  make it extremely hard  for DNR to close  down any                                                               
trails.   He opined that  whether or  not this [bill]  would have                                                               
that effect would  be determined in another lawsuit  in the event                                                               
DNR will not change its  current management scheme in restricting                                                               
Alaskans from valuable resources on the Rex Trail.                                                                              
1:54:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  noted Mr.  Grove is  part of  the class                                                               
that sued  the state.  He  asked whether it was  Mr. Grove's view                                                               
that  the trial  court's  finding and  the  Alaska Supreme  Court                                                               
affirmation  regarding  damage  safety considerations,  was  just                                                               
phony.   He asked whether it  was his position that  this was all                                                               
just a ruse and that it was really just an aesthetics concern.                                                                  
MR.  GROVE responded  yes, it  really was  [a ruse].   There  was                                                               
never an  actual report  of any  damage by  any vehicles  per se,                                                               
reports of  accidents or  anyone getting hurt  on the  Rex Trail.                                                               
He acknowledged  that the trail  had seen significant use  but to                                                               
say there was  permanent public damage that would  never heal was                                                               
a total ruse.  Where does it stops?   A picture can be taken of a                                                               
four-foot  rut or  anything and  say it  was damage  or is  now a                                                               
safety concern because the next  commissioner may say it might be                                                               
a one-foot  rut.  The  definition of a  safety issue and  what is                                                               
damage needs to be defined, and  he cannot see how the department                                                               
can legitimately  consider the Rex  Trail permanently  damaged or                                                               
damaged to  the point it  will harm the  state or Alaskans.   The                                                               
only thing  it did was it  gave limited access to  others who had                                                               
to move to a different area  and put pressure on other areas, and                                                               
it  gave those  living along  the  trail more  freedom with  less                                                               
pressure in  their backyard.  He  said he could pay  the $100 fee                                                               
if he wants to  go down the Rex Trail with  a rubber track rigged                                                               
vehicle and that if he agrees to  pay the permit they want to say                                                               
he can't  go any  farther than  100 feet  from the  trail because                                                               
they are protecting the area  of the 1,000 square miles alongside                                                               
the trail  that is  open to  motorized access,  and he  can't use                                                               
that area.   Two years  ago he  received a criminal  citation for                                                               
trespass because he was off the  trail more than 100 feet and has                                                               
been fighting these  guys for years.  He could  go along with DNR                                                               
and hunt  out there with fewer  people out there and  his success                                                               
rate has  been a lot better,  but what kind of  person would that                                                               
make him if he  is just out for himself?  This  issue needs to be                                                               
fixed,  the reins  need  to be  pulled  in on  DNR,  and if  this                                                               
doesn't fix it maybe the bill needs to be stronger.                                                                             
1:58:58 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT  CAYWOOD  identified  himself   as  one  of  the  original                                                               
plaintiffs in the  Rex Trail lawsuit.  He said  he has hunted for                                                               
35 years  all over Alaska, on  foot and on various  vehicles.  In                                                               
2002  the state  changed allowable  uses  and it  caused tens  of                                                               
thousands of Alaskans  to illegally go out to  obtain their moose                                                               
meat or fish.  He related that  he hopes this bill will change it                                                               
back to what it was before it was illegally changed.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  asked whether  Mr. Caywood still  has a                                                               
business where he leases these large recreational vehicles.                                                                     
MR. CAYWOOD responded that he never did.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON questioned whether  he was ever an owner                                                               
of C.M.M. General Contractors.                                                                                                  
MR. CAYWOOD replied that he is.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE   JOSEPHSON    asked   whether    C.M.M.   General                                                               
Contractors leased snow cats and fully tracked vehicles.                                                                        
MR. CAYWOOD  answered that he  has some  snow cats for  sale, but                                                               
they are  not used for  moose hunting, they are  working machines                                                               
that can pull 30,000 pounds and they weigh over 10,000 pounds.                                                                  
2:01:03 PM                                                                                                                    
PATTI BARBER  said she would like  to see a first  person history                                                               
of anyone  having an accident  with personal injuries on  the Rex                                                               
Trail caused  by a large  vehicle rut.   She described  the large                                                               
vehicles as the traditionally used  vehicles on the Rex Trail and                                                               
other similar trails within the state.   In the event a permit is                                                               
necessary to  access these trails,  she suggested that  the state                                                               
re-adopt  the [sale  of] an  occasional use  license plate.   She                                                               
offered  support for  the psi  rating  on trails  because even  a                                                               
bicycle and  a human foot  create a  deep rut, and  asked whether                                                               
this use will have to be permitted.                                                                                             
2:02:06 PM                                                                                                                    
KENNY BARBER  said he pretty  much supports the bill  as written,                                                               
and  related  that he  has  spent  almost  40 years  swamp  buggy                                                               
hunting  and  trapping.    Referring  to  Mr.  Olson's  testimony                                                               
regarding psi,  he said there  is a large difference  between the                                                               
way the rubber  tires are made for  the rigs and in  the old days                                                               
wherein  his airplane  tires he  used tore  up a  lot of  country                                                               
going through.   Subsequently, farm  implement tires came  out to                                                               
run on the  buggies which made a big difference  because a person                                                               
could hardly  see where  they crossed the  river.   Regarding the                                                               
under 10,000  pounds issue  and licensed  trucks, he  said anyone                                                               
can go out there  and rip up a trail with a  vehicle or a bicycle                                                               
and  that the  state should  create an  area for  them where  the                                                               
habitat won't  be hurt or  any other forms  of land issues.   The                                                               
Knik River  is probably one of  the most off-road used  places in                                                               
the state.   As for salmon  stream problems, he advised  that for                                                               
41  years he  and a  couple of  hundred people  have crossed  the                                                               
creeks in  the same spot  and yet the  salmon still spawn  in the                                                               
places they cross.  He opined  that the people riding up and down                                                               
in  the  creeks parallel  hurts  salmon  spawning, it's  not  the                                                               
crossing of the creeks.                                                                                                         
2:05:02 PM                                                                                                                    
ANDREW ZAJAC said he has lived  in Alaska since 1969 and over the                                                               
years he  has seen  the state  becoming more  restricted, whether                                                               
state, federal, or private lands.   He related that he cannot add                                                               
to the previous  testimonies, he supports the  bill, and believes                                                               
trails  need to  be open  because the  value of  the land  is not                                                               
necessarily blueberries  and miniature birch trees,  the value of                                                               
the land is simply an access route.                                                                                             
2:06:35 PM                                                                                                                    
RANDY BJORGAN  advised that  in the 1980s  his family  arrived in                                                               
Alaska and they  were able to go just about  anywhere they wanted                                                               
and were  young enough to  do it in  any method they  wanted, and                                                               
usually by  foot 10-15  miles.  Now  that he is  older he  has to                                                               
rely on  mechanical means of  getting to  some places, and  it is                                                               
bad  when access  to areas  where his  family wants  to recreate,                                                               
hunt, fish, pick  berries, or enjoy Alaska wildlife  are more and                                                               
more restricted by personal whims  of governmental agencies based                                                               
to  close and  restrict  areas and  access routes.    Due to  the                                                               
Sturgeon decision, Alaska saw that  government overreach had gone                                                             
a step  too far  and this  bill will  help to  stop some  of that                                                               
within  this state.    He held  that opponents  to  the bill  are                                                               
basically  saying that  Alaskans  should have  no  access to  the                                                               
lands they have enjoyed over the years.                                                                                         
CO-CHAIR TALERICO  closed public testimony after  ascertaining no                                                               
one else wished to testify.                                                                                                     
2:08:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  asked Mr. Fogels to  address the testimony                                                               
offered by  those who  believe that  Section 1,  AS 38.04.200(a),                                                               
page 1, line 9, "(a)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law"                                                           
means that  this definition  would be applied  not just  in state                                                               
parks but applied to prevent DNR from closing any trail.                                                                        
MR. FOGELS replied that the  bill reads:  "Restricted activities,                                                               
restricted or prohibited for the  purpose of protecting aesthetic                                                               
values of the  land," within Title 38.  The  department's read is                                                               
that it should not affect its  ability to manage state parks, but                                                               
is  just focused  on  cases where  DNR would  choose  to try  and                                                               
restrict access to protect aesthetic values.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  advised  that the  person  testifying  in                                                               
regard to Version  E, page 1, line 9,  "Notwithstanding any other                                                           
provision of law,"  stated that the purpose was so  DNR would not                                                           
be able  to close down other  trails, not state parks,  but other                                                               
trails for  public safety reasons.   He  requested DNR to  put on                                                               
the record  whether it believes  that "Notwithstanding  any other                                                               
provision of law,"  does or does not extend the  usage of this to                                                               
public safety.                                                                                                                  
MR. FOGELS  replied that  DNR's interpretation  at this  point is                                                               
that it  does not extend  this to  public safety, it  is strictly                                                               
referring  to protecting  the aesthetic  values.   The department                                                               
does not  have a formal  attorney general's opinion on  this, and                                                               
has had brief conversations with some of its attorneys.                                                                         
2:11:24 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  recalled Mr. Fogels as  stating that in                                                               
regard to the aesthetic values  caveat, that state parks wouldn't                                                               
be implicated.   He  said he  is unsure where  this is  seen, but                                                               
added that this  is not tearing up the state  parks statutes.  He                                                               
noted there  are other land  designations besides parks,  such as                                                               
the Caines Head  State Recreation Area [near Seward].   There was                                                               
a dispute in Gustavus when  the previous administration wanted to                                                               
change the  way in  which the state  regulates and  manages other                                                               
designated areas,  such as  Round Island that  are not  parks per                                                               
se.   He  inquired  whether  Mr. Fogels  has  asked the  attorney                                                               
general's office to look at the bill.                                                                                           
MR. FOGELS  answered that  there have  been discussions  with the                                                               
attorney general's  office, buy not  in great detail and  DNR has                                                               
not had a  chance for the attorney general's office  to tuck into                                                               
this in as  much detail as is probably necessary.   The committee                                                               
may want someone from the Department  of Law to be available at a                                                               
future hearing.  This is all  within the Title 38 statute and how                                                               
it  would apply  to Title  38 lands,  whereas there  are separate                                                               
statutes for state park management and regulation of access.                                                                    
2:13:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  TALERICO  requested  clarification because  he  assumed                                                               
that  land legislatively  designated  is not  only covered  under                                                               
other statutes but has its  own set aside management plans, which                                                               
actually supersede anything  else that would be  in statute since                                                               
they are designated that way.                                                                                                   
MR. FOGELS  agreed, and he  said that is DNR's  interpretation --                                                               
all of  the state park  units are  created by their  own statutes                                                               
and have their own management direction within the statute.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON reminded  the  committee  that Mr.  Fogels                                                               
testified that the only place  DNR closes trails is for aesthetic                                                               
values in  state parks, and he  commented that since this  is not                                                               
done outside  of state  parks what  is the nexus  of the  bill to                                                               
these  trails.    He  then  noted  testimonies  that  interpreted                                                               
"Notwithstanding any other provision of  law" to extend to trails                                                               
across the  state.  He  reiterated he needs some  definition from                                                               
DNR as to the full parameters of the bill.                                                                                      
2:15:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  referred to  the testifiers who  stated that                                                               
no injuries  had occurred on  the trail,  and she opined,  from a                                                               
management  perspective, the  department  would want  to be  more                                                               
conservative  and  actually  prevent  an  injury  from  happening                                                               
because had  someone been  hurt and  it was proven  to be  due to                                                               
improper  management,  that person  could  sue  the state.    She                                                               
surmised that when considering public  safety concerns, DNR would                                                               
error on the side of prevention rather than after.                                                                              
MR.  FOGELS  replied  that  ideally   if  DNR  sees  a  situation                                                               
developing and believes  it would be a serious  safety concern to                                                               
the  public, it  would try  to  address the  situation before  an                                                               
accident  happened.     He  agreed  with   Representative  Tarr's                                                               
statement, but  added it is  sometimes easier said than  done and                                                               
is difficult to second guess.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  opined that all  of the actions  were found,                                                               
by  the  court,  to  be  proper  in  that  the  department  could                                                               
substantiate  there was  enough damage  to be  a safety  concern.                                                               
The  department needs  to  be as  preventative  as possible,  she                                                               
concluded, even though that cannot always happen.                                                                               
2:17:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON recalled Mr.  Fogels stating that DNR is                                                               
not particularly  concerned because  a caveat on  all of  this is                                                               
the aesthetic issue.  He said  he sees under AS 38.05.035, Powers                                                               
and  duties of  the director  of lands,  and under  AS 44.37.020,                                                               
Duties  of  the department  with  respect  to natural  resources,                                                               
that,  clearly,  the legislature  has  a  role  in all  of  this.                                                               
However, he  continued, HB  213 says  that if  in the  future DNR                                                               
wants  a designation  based on  aesthetics, the  legislature must                                                               
sign off.  Given that is  currently not the law, he asked whether                                                               
Mr. Fogels is okay with relinquishing that power.                                                                               
MR. FOGELS responded that that  is a difficult question to answer                                                               
because  DNR  really  hasn't  managed   general  state  land  for                                                               
aesthetic values because that is  not what the department does on                                                               
general state  lands.  He opined  there is a pathway  here if the                                                               
committee wants to  do that in the future, and  if this bill were                                                               
to pass it would still allow  DNR to have a management pathway to                                                               
do that.                                                                                                                        
2:18:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON questioned  whether  all  of DNR's  power                                                               
flows from the legislature.                                                                                                     
MR. FOGELS answered yes.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  clarified  that  the  power  is  through                                                               
statute and law,  so he anticipates that the  department would be                                                               
comfortable with the laws the legislature sends it.                                                                             
MR. FOGELS responded yes, the department abides by the laws.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  said he expected that  answer and thanked                                                               
Mr. Fogels.                                                                                                                     
2:19:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON related  that he  has read  the Caywood                                                             
decision thoroughly and that DNR  put a tremendous amount of time                                                               
into  studying   the  Rex  Trail   issue,  preparing   a  report,                                                               
performing  long term  studies, sending  men and  women into  the                                                               
field, taking  complaints, defending the lawsuit  in trial court,                                                               
and  defending it  before the  Alaska  Supreme Court.   He  asked                                                               
whether Mr. Fogels is proud of the department.                                                                                  
MR. FOGELS  confirmed he  is always proud  of the  department and                                                               
noted that the Rex Trail has  been a difficult issue and at least                                                               
four  commissioners  have  grappled  with the  Rex  Trail.    The                                                               
department realizes that  it is a problem, it  realizes there are                                                               
a huge  number of people  out there very  upset with the  way the                                                               
department has  managed that trail.   He said the  department has                                                               
done its  best to try to  work through it, has  received money to                                                               
do some work  to get some information on what  the damage is, and                                                               
what  types   of  uses   cause  more   damage  or   less  damage;                                                               
additionally,  DNR has  received a  lot of  money to  try to  fix                                                               
parts of the  trail.  He reported that just  today the department                                                               
learned  that $720,000  in Pittman-Robertson  funds was  approved                                                               
for  fixing another  section  of  the trail.    He  said DNR  can                                                               
leverage that  with some  capital funds it  already has  and will                                                               
start this summer working on  fixing and re-establishing portions                                                               
of that trail so it can  withstand heavier use.  He remarked that                                                               
the department realizes this problem  and has been working on it,                                                               
and so far the solutions have not been perfect for everyone.                                                                    
2:21:31 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  observed that  the restriction  or closure                                                               
must be  for an  area of  640 contiguous acres  or less  [page 2,                                                               
lines 3-4],  may not be in  effect for more than  three years and                                                               
cannot be  in effect  for more  than eight  months, cumulatively,                                                               
during  that  time  [page  2,  lines 5-7],  and  must  be  deemed                                                               
"necessary" for public  safety purposes [page 2, lines  8-9].  He                                                               
referred  to adding  the word  "necessary," such  that, "Must  be                                                               
deemed 'necessary' for  public safety purposes," and  since it is                                                               
the protection of public safety  "and" public or private property                                                               
it appears  to be correct  that this  limitation is now  not only                                                               
for  the  protection  of  public safety  and  public  or  private                                                               
property,  but it  is  deemed necessary  to do  that.   He  asked                                                               
whether the restriction that the  department must prove that this                                                               
action is necessary  for the terminations to move  forward in the                                                               
department's findings.                                                                                                          
MR.  FOGELS  replied   that  the  addition  there   is  the  word                                                               
"necessary".  He said it seems  that the way the original statute                                                               
is written, DNR  still must show it was necessary.   He suggested                                                               
Representative  Seaton speak  to someone  from the  Department of                                                               
Law, but  said he would  interpret that DNR's finding  would have                                                               
to address the protection of  public safety and public or private                                                               
property regardless of this change.                                                                                             
2:23:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TALERICO stated  he has been on the Rex  trail more than                                                               
two dozen times,  as it is not  far from his home.   He said that                                                               
dependent  on the  weather and  conditions of  the summer  he has                                                               
driven to the Two Rivers area  with a two-wheel drive Ford pickup                                                               
that had  a positive  traction rear-end.   Sometimes it  is dusty                                                               
and sometimes  muddy.   He offered concern  about someone  in the                                                               
administration  making a  safety determination,  saying it  opens                                                               
the possibility of closing the  Iditarod one year, or closing the                                                               
Iron Dog, and  or the Artic Man  because, traditionally, Alaskans                                                               
like to go to  the edge to some degree and  if they didn't, those                                                               
marvelous events  would not exist.   He advised there  are things                                                               
to be  done here, he  will stay  connected with the  sponsor, and                                                               
that the  bill may require  a deeper  legal opinion, and  he will                                                               
therefore hold over the bill.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON acknowledged  he has never has  been on the                                                               
Rex  Trail, but  said that  to  him this  is  a simply  a law  of                                                               
statewide application to  all state land.  He noted  he is unsure                                                               
whether the  discussion is  only about R.S.  2477 trails,  and is                                                               
trying  to get  a clear  handle on  the application  of this  and                                                               
whether the  change to 10,000  pound vehicles everywhere  is what                                                               
is  truly being  discussed.    The said  the  only  reason he  is                                                               
talking about the Rex Trail  is because the committee packet held                                                               
those  documents.   He  then pointed  out that  he  did not  hear                                                               
suggestion for what the psi should  be, and asked whether that is                                                               
something that  would give  the committee  a clear  definition of                                                               
what  makes sense  to be  allowed to  give people  greater access                                                               
throughout Alaska without damaging habitat.                                                                                     
2:27:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  TALERICO pointed  out  that psi  is  subjective to  the                                                               
conditions of the trail and  the material being used because some                                                               
trails go across bridge lines  with solid gravel and are probably                                                               
harder than the  asphalt roads.  The trails are  all in different                                                               
climate  zones, at  different elevations,  and different  weather                                                               
patterns so  it is  not an  easy question to  answer.   He opined                                                               
that  the Rex  Trail was  involved  because it  was an  emotional                                                               
issue to deal with and noted  that he was a municipal official at                                                               
the  time some  of  these  things came  down.    Even though  the                                                               
department did its best to hold  its own, it probably went beyond                                                               
what it felt its original finding  was with some of the things it                                                               
stated  in  a public  meeting,  and,  being  fully aware  it  was                                                               
emotional, he would have defended himself  as well.  The folks in                                                               
the  area  of  the  Rex   Trail  take  their  outdoor  recreation                                                               
seriously  as do  the people  that travel  to that  area.   There                                                               
probably wasn't an easy answer  there and said he appreciates the                                                               
sponsor trying  to work on something  that will get the  state to                                                               
some result at some point.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  thanked the  sponsor and said  the provision                                                               
requiring that  the commissioner  communicate the  findings could                                                               
be productive  to make  sure communications  increase.   For her,                                                               
she noted, the issue is understanding the vehicle limit.                                                                        
2:29:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  TALERICO said  he appreciates  the written  findings in                                                               
the notice  because no one  likes a decision to  suddenly appear,                                                               
and advised  he will try to  get the information gathered  up and                                                               
put it back on the hearing agenda as soon as possible.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  TILTON  advised she  is  available  to work  with                                                               
anyone to help answer the questions.                                                                                            
[HB 213 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CS HB 213, Version E.pdf HRES 3/25/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 213
HB 213 Sponsor Statement.pdf HRES 3/25/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 213
HB 213 11 AAC 96.020 - Text.pdf HRES 3/25/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 213
HB 213 Eastern Rex Trail, Daily News-Miner 090315.pdf HRES 3/25/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 213
HB 213 Rex Trail Executive Summary.pdf HRES 3/25/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 213
HB 213 Caywood v DNR.pdf HRES 3/25/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 213
HB 213 Summary of Changes.pdf HRES 3/25/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 213
HB 213 FiscalNote.php.pdf HRES 3/25/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 213