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CNF Llama Ban***January 14, 2020 Objections Resolution Meeting Update

The Chugach National Forest (CNF) "objections resolution meeting" took place during the afternoon of January 14, 2020 in Anchorage, Alaska. (See previous posts for background on CNF Llama Ban.) The purpose of the meeting was to discuss remedies regarding objections to restrictions on the use of llamas that are being imposed in the Chugach National Forest Land Management Plan (CNFLMP). Dave Schmid, Alaska Regional Forester (meeting facilitator) confirmed that this is our last opportunity to comment/object to the Chugach National Forest Land Management Plan which will be final in 2020. Meeting attendees representing the llama community in-state and out-of-state participated via teleconference and reiterated concerns to CNF staff that were previously expressed in their written objections which can be found here.
https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/ReadingRoom?project=40816.

At issue is the restricted use of pack llamas in Chugach National Forest (the forest) based on a …
Recent posts

January Hike - Historic Iditarod Trail to the Perch, Heritage Falls & Icicle Creek

The Historic Iditarod (aka Crow Pass) Trail which spans the Girdwood Valley to Eagle River is considered one of the best trails to hike in the Chugach mountain range and offers diverse scenic sights including glaciers, waterfalls, wildlife. It’s not only a great hiking/backpacking route, but it's also an historic portion of the Iditarod Trail that led from Seward to mines in the Interior. A bit of trivia not known by many is that this trail was rebuilt in the 1970s with girl scout labor.
The "January Calendar Hike" which is the section of the Historic Iditarod Trail from the Eagle River Nature Center (ERNC) to the Perch, Heritage Falls and Icicle Creek, makes for a great winter hike especially in January. It's a versatile hike about 10.5 mile round trip (RT) from the ERNC with several end points including the Perch (mile 4.0), Heritage Falls (mile 5.1) and Icicle Creek (mile 5.3). I like this hike because it can safely be done in the winter. (Microspikes may be need…

December Hike- Barbara Falls (Two Ways to Get There)

The hike to Barbara Falls can be done in any season. The frozen winter (silent) falls can be as spectacular as the noisy summer falls. There are two ways to get to this 60 foot beauty (also called South Fork Falls) in Eagle River, Alaska. The easiest and shortest way is to drive to the gate at the bottom of Ken Logan Circle. The falls are about a half-mile walk on old roads from the end of Ken Logan Circle in a neighborhood off Hiland Road.
Short Route: Take the Glenn Highway about 10 miles north to Eagle River Loop and exit toward the mountains. Turn right at the first light onto Hiland Road. Continue uphill about 3.3 miles and turn left onto River View Drive into a neighborhood. Veer left as it becomes Waterfall Drive, then follow until it dead-ends into River Park Drive. Continue right to Ken Logan Circle. Most of the circle is signed off-limits to parking so be careful where you park and obey signs, as vehicles may be towed if parked illegally.
Barbara Falls Trail starts just behi…

November Hike - Eagle and Symphony Lakes

This hike through the beautiful South Fork Valley and over the mountains into Ship Creek offers stunning views of alpine lakes (Eagle and Symphony), tarns and valleys surrounded by rugged, glaciated mountains. During September and early October (until the first snowfall) you will have the added bonus of vibrant fall colors. This trail can usually be hiked in October and well into winter depending on snow conditions.

The trail to Eagle and Symphony Lakes starts from the South Fork trailhead parking lot and is well established/marked. To take the loop back to  the SF parking lot, proceed to the west side of Symphony Lake where there are several camping spots if you decide to camp here for the night. If you decide to take the loop back, you will need good weather and navigation skills. Don't attempt this in the winter or in adverse weather, because you are hiking on ridges where visibility may be limited.

Once on the southwest side of Symphony Lake, look to the mountains directly we…

Precautionary Principle and Pack Llamas

The "precautionary principle" originated as a strategy to deal with possible risks where scientific understanding/study was not yet complete (i.e. nano technology and genetically modified foods.) However, the precautionary principle (precautionary approach) has also been used by policy makers to justify discretionary decisions in situations where there is a possibility of harm from making a certain decision when they deem there is inadequate scientific knowledge.

Why Should I Care?
The danger is that a precautionary (no risk) principle/approach fails to recognize there is no such thing as zero risk. For example, a scientific risk assessment recognizes the existence of "risk" and attempts to quantify it. The objective is to determine the likelihood of something happening and the consequences. Although science can provide a high level of confidence it can never provide absolute certainty. The precautionary principle places an impossible burden of proof on the user gr…

Chugach National Forest (CNF) is attempting to ban pack llamas

Chugach National Forest (CNF) "short circuited" the NEPA process by providing no pubic notice to eliminate commercial use of pack llamas based on a perceived disease threat to wild sheep and goats. Since CNF's ban identifies pack llamas as a disease threat, this opens the door to eliminate them for all uses (including recreational) in the future. The public process was "short circuited" because CNF did not include verbiage that banned llamas in their draft Chugach National Forest Land Management Plan that was open for public comment in 2018.  However, this pack llama ban was added to the Final Chugach National Forest Land Management Plan after the public comment period was over which effectively eliminated comment by the pack llama user group. Now the pack llama user group is faced with protesting the final CNF decision during the objection period. Your comments on past proposals to ban llamas on pubic lands has been very effective and we need your support agai…