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Showing posts from September, 2020

Final Rule by the USFWS banning pack llamas in ANWR

In April 2020, the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced a proposal to prohibit the use of pack llamas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as part of a proposed regulation package. The rationale for this ban was based on a perceived camelid "disease risk" which is not supported by science. (For background on the proposal go to this blog post - USFWS Attempting to Ban Pack Llamas in ANWR ) The llama user group made extensive comments during the open pubic comment period which closed June 8, 2020 and also participated in a public meeting held via teleconference due to the pandemic.  Public comment and public testimony clearly demonstrated the USFWS camelid "disease risk" hypothesis was indefensible. Furthermore multiple procedural violations by USFWS were noted. (Go to this link for more on procedural violations -  NEPA Violations ) The USFWS ignored science and came out with a final rule effective August 31, 2020 which prohibits/bans use of

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

Reflections Lake

Why I Like this Hike:  With easy access right off the Glenn Highway, the improved two mile trail around Reflections Lake is more of a walk than a hike making it an excellent choice for families with young children or those with physical disabilities. This hike which borders wetlands with a wildlife viewing tower can be done in all seasons. How to Get There:  Reflections Lake is located at the Knik River Access ramp just north of Palmer on the Glenn Highway.  Google Map - Reflections Lake I stopped there recently and was pleasantly surprised to see improvements made to the trail around the lake - bridges, interpretive signs and even a viewing tower. Reflections Lake was originally a gravel pit used for construction of the Glenn Highway. Through the years it became an informal shooting range and repository for abandoned vehicles and junk appliances. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation conducted a cleanup of the mostly lead contamination (from shooting) so that the site c

Eagle and Symphony Lakes Loop (Featured Fall Hike)

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.  The trail to Eagle and Symphony Lakes starts from the South Fork trailhead parking lot and is well established. This section can usually be hiked in October and well into winter depending on snow conditions. Go to this link for info about the Eagle & Symphony Lakes trail:  Hike to Eagle-symphony-lakes To take the loop back to  the South Fork 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 whe