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Showing posts from August, 2020

Camelid Hypothetical Disease Risk - Myths & Misinformation Debunked

(Excerpt from comment to USFWS by Phil Nuechterlein) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is proposing a regulatory addition to 50 CFR § 36.39 (k) Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) stating that all domestic camelids are prohibited. USFWS concerns that camelids present a disease risk to wildlife in ANWR are clearly misguided and lack scientific evidence. The USFWS proposal to ban pack llamas unfairly eliminates a user group based on the false and misleading portrayal of pack llamas as a "disease threat" to wildlife. Although we have never packed for profit, the USFWS policy implicating pack llamas as a disease threat unnecessarily harms all of us that use pack llamas, including commercial llama packing enterprises in the lower 48 states. Rumor mongering knows no regional boundaries. The references cited by the USFWS as a basis for this proposed camelid prohibition in ANWR are not credible nor have they been peer reviewed. These same references have been evalua

Llamas Low Environmental Impact Make Them the Logical Choice for ANWR

As a recreational user of pack llamas on public lands in Alaska for almost 40 years, I have some very serious concerns with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed regulatory addition to 50 CFR § 36.39 (k) Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) stating that all domestic camelids (pack llamas) are prohibited. I appreciate that ANWR is located in a pristine, tundra environment and understand that USFWS is mandated to protect the fragile environment, including the wildlife, in this unique refuge with a world class reputation. However, I must question USFWS’s logic (and motive) in banning the use of pack llamas within ANWR for a plethora of reasons which I will explain in my objection to this proposed rule.  For many years it has been widely recognized that llamas have far less impact on the environment than traditional pack stock such as mules and horses. Low environmental impact has long been recognized as the pack llama’s advantage over traditional pack animals. An

Hike to Eagle & Symphony Lakes

Fall Colors Along the River (Symphony Lake) About This Hike:   This hike through the South Fork Valley offers stunning views of Eagle and Symphony Lakes, 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 is considered easy and can usually be hiked well into winter depending on snow conditions.  Directions to the trailhead: Take the Eagle River Loop/Hiland Road exit off the Glenn Highway just past the weigh station. Turn right at the traffic light onto Hiland and continue about eight miles up the road. Take a right onto South Creek and follow it to West River Drive and take another right. The parking lot is on your left. Google Directions  (Eagle Lake & boulder field in the foreground)  The trail to Eagle and Symphony Lakes starts from the South Fork parking lot.  It has become  extremely popular and the parking lot fills quickly even on weekday

Upper Ship Creek (August Featured Hike)

If you want to get off the beaten path for a more wilderness experience close to Anchorage, take a  hike in the upper Ship Creek drainage in Chugach State Park. To avoid snow and harsh weather in the passes and upper reaches, I generally hike there June through mid-September although you may be able to hike into November depending on weather.  My preferred access point is the South Fork trail head  (although there is access in Arctic Valley.) To get to the trail head, take the Eagle River Loop/Hiland Road exit off the Glenn Highway just past the weigh station. Turn right at the traffic light onto Hiland and continue about eight miles up the road. Take a right onto South Creek and follow it to West River Drive and take another right. The parking lot is on your left. The trail starts out on a boardwalk for a short distance and then turns into a trail that traverses the right side of the South Fork valley as you head away from the parking area. To access the Ship Creek drainage