Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

02/15/2017 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Public/Invited> --
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Public/Invited> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
               HB  40-TRAPPING NEAR PUBLIC TRAILS                                                                           
2:03:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON announced  that the  final order  of business                                                               
would be  HOUSE BILL  NO. 40, "An  Act prohibiting  and providing                                                               
penalties  and civil  remedies for  trapping within  200 feet  of                                                               
certain public  facilities, areas, and trails;  and providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
[Public testimony on HB 40 was opened at the hearing on 2/8/17.]                                                                
2:03:56 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN JOHNSON  said he traps with  his family and HB  40 restricts                                                               
the  use of  trails by  trappers who  are disabled,  elderly, and                                                               
overweight.   Limiting trapping  to 200 feet  from a  trail would                                                               
create another  trail, or paths  of least resistance,  that would                                                               
become points of curiosity for  canines and might lead them right                                                               
to  a  trap.   He  described  various  types  of traps  that  are                                                               
outlawed in  the bill which could  not possibly trap a  dog, such                                                               
as  beaver, weasel,  and squirrel  traps.   Mr. Johnson  said the                                                               
bill  prevents those  trappers who  cannot  get 200  feet from  a                                                               
public use  trail, from using trails  on which they have  a right                                                               
to travel.   In  the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su)  valley, trappers                                                               
work with dog mushers as trappers do  not want to trap a dog.  He                                                               
stated his opposition to the bill.                                                                                              
CO-CHAIR  TARR, in  regard to  Mr. Johnson's  concerns about  the                                                               
200-foot  distance, asked  whether  he could  offer a  reasonable                                                               
MR.  JOHNSON explained  trap  placement allows  a  trapper to  be                                                               
species specific.   However, if a dog is loose  the likelihood is                                                               
high that  the dog will  be caught  as winter is  breeding season                                                               
for canines,  and if a  fox travels off  the main trail,  a dog's                                                               
natural instinct is to follow the fox.                                                                                          
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  noted the number  of concerns  throughout the                                                               
state about  this issue.   He inquired  whether Mr.  Johnson held                                                               
the opinion that  it should be the policy of  the state, relative                                                               
to dogs getting into traps, to do nothing.                                                                                      
MR.  JOHNSON answered  absolutely  not.   He  said trappers  must                                                               
choose an area  in which to trap and dog  owners should never let                                                               
their  dogs off  leash  when  in trapping  areas.   He  suggested                                                               
people should be  notified of set traps in an  area, and in urban                                                               
environments during certain times of  the year dogs may be loose,                                                               
but not in the bush.                                                                                                            
2:08:20 PM                                                                                                                    
TEMPLE  DILLARD  said  he  is  a  lifelong  resident  and  Native                                                               
Alaskan.   Mr. Dillard  opined HB  40 is a  solution to  an urban                                                               
problem that  inflicts a  200-foot setback onto  the rest  of the                                                               
state.   The bill is so  vague and openly written  that a trapper                                                               
thousands of miles from a road would  have to set a trap line 200                                                               
feet from a trail, which  would then establish another trail, and                                                               
the  same individual  would have  to set  traps another  200 feet                                                               
from  the newly-formed  trail.   In  regard to  trapped dogs,  he                                                               
noted  that there  is a  leash law  in the  Fairbanks North  Star                                                               
Borough that  is almost universally  ignored.  He shared  that he                                                               
frequently traps within 100 miles of  Fairbanks and he has yet to                                                               
trap a  loose dog.  Mr.  Dillard provided comments that  were not                                                               
on topic with the published agenda for the hearing of HB 40.                                                                    
2:12:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MARK LUTRELL  testified in support  of HB 40.   He said  the bill                                                               
will  help protect  dogs  from  traps set  on  popular trails  by                                                               
careless and  clueless trappers, such  as the trap that  killed a                                                               
neighborhood dog  in West Anchorage  recently.  Mr.  Lutrell said                                                               
in Seward there  is support for protecting family  pets and there                                                               
are many  trails in Seward  heavily used by mushers,  skiers, and                                                               
hikers.   Dogs and traps are  allowed on the trails;  however, he                                                               
opined that  traps should  not be allowed  on the  trails because                                                               
traps  kill and  maim.    He stated  that  trappers  will not  be                                                               
significantly inconvenienced by placing  their traps farther into                                                               
the  woods, and  have a  responsibility to  protect other  users.                                                               
Mr.  Lutrell acknowledged  that trappers  are self-policing,  and                                                               
don't intend  to trap dogs,  but trappers need to  be accountable                                                               
for careless cruelty.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH asked  whether Mr.  Lutrell was  aware that                                                               
the  trap  set  in  West  Anchorage  was  an  illegal  trap,  and                                                               
questioned if Seward has any  constraints against trapping within                                                               
city limits.                                                                                                                    
MR. LUTRELL said he was aware  the trap in West Anchorage was set                                                               
illegally.   He  said traps  are not  allowed within  Seward city                                                               
CO-CHAIR   JOSEPHSON   related  the   Matanuska-Susitna   Borough                                                               
attorney  believes  the  borough  has  very  limited  ability  to                                                               
control this issue.                                                                                                             
2:15:35 PM                                                                                                                    
JOSHUA ROSS  spoke in  support of  HB 40.   He shared  a personal                                                               
story  of his  family dog  caught in  a trap  along a  main trail                                                               
system his relatives have used for  over 30 years.  Mr. Ross said                                                               
Alaska's laws are not sufficient to  protect all user groups.  He                                                               
pointed out  that 4 percent  of public land users  are registered                                                               
trappers, and others'  use of the trails is  restricted, which is                                                               
not appropriate management.                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON  asked  what  type  of  trail  Mr.  Ross  was                                                               
traveling when his dog was trapped.                                                                                             
MR. ROSS  answered it is  a public  use trail that  is maintained                                                               
full-time by  one of the  snow machine associations on  the Kenai                                                               
2:17:36 PM                                                                                                                    
PAULINE STRONG  spoke in  support of  HB 40.   She opined  that a                                                               
general  statewide regulation  is reasonable,  as is  the footage                                                               
setback.   She said  she was  unsure of all  the rules  on trails                                                               
regarding dogs that are off-leash.                                                                                              
2:19:03 PM                                                                                                                    
WAYNE HALL spoke in support of HB  40.  He said he is a long-time                                                               
Alaska  resident and  he doesn't  like trapping  for a  number of                                                               
reasons.   He  shared his  belief that  trapping is  prevalent in                                                               
Alaska because it is largely out  of sight.  Mr. Hall said making                                                               
compromises is in  trappers' long-term interest.   Referring to a                                                               
previous suggestion that  dog owners avoid areas  where there are                                                               
traps, he added  that without required notice or  marking of trap                                                               
lines, there is no way to know where traps are located.                                                                         
2:20:49 PM                                                                                                                    
JASON  HOKE,   Executive  Director,  Copper   Valley  Development                                                               
Association,    Alaska   Regional    Development   Organizations,                                                               
Department of  Commerce, Community  & Economic  Development, said                                                               
he was  speaking on  his own  behalf and for  many others  in his                                                               
region.    He stated  his opposition to  HB 40 because  it usurps                                                               
existing  leash  laws throughout  the  state.   He  reminded  the                                                               
committee  that his  region  is an  unorganized  borough and  the                                                               
legislature  is  its  borough assembly.    Illegal  trapping  and                                                               
incidents with dogs  happen within other boroughs,  and should be                                                               
dealt with  by borough  regulations.  Speaking  on behalf  of his                                                               
Alaska  Regional  Development  Organization, he  advised  in  his                                                               
region  many live  a subsistence  or  supplemental lifestyle  and                                                               
trapping  in   the  winter  helps  support   their  families;  he                                                               
questioned  whether  there  was  information  on  the  beneficial                                                               
economics of the  furbearer industry to the  state.  Furthermore,                                                               
putting  a ban  on  trapping within  200 feet  of  a trail  would                                                               
hamper trappers'  abilities to trap.   Mr. Hoke  related trapping                                                               
is  part  of  Alaska's  history   and  of  its  cultural  history                                                               
throughout the state.                                                                                                           
MR.  HOKE continued  testifying  on  his own  behalf  and told  a                                                               
personal story  of trapping with  his family, and of  learning to                                                               
trap  on a  traditional  Native trap  line that  is  now a  state                                                               
trail.  He  suggested the sponsor work with the  boroughs on this                                                               
issue,  including  appropriations  to cover  the  enforcement  of                                                               
trapping  violations, within  legislation that  does not  include                                                               
unorganized boroughs.                                                                                                           
2:25:13 PM                                                                                                                    
SYLVIA  PANZARELLA said  she has  lived in  Alaska for  almost 18                                                               
years.   She testified in  support of  HB 40, noting  that public                                                               
trails are made for the public.   Although adults need to control                                                               
pets and  children, she  opined that  a hurt child  or a  dead or                                                               
maimed dog  is too much of  a price to  pay for veering off  of a                                                               
public  trail.   Ms. Panzarella  restated that  trails belong  to                                                               
everyone and expressed  her belief that a  200-foot setback would                                                               
not prevent trappers from trapping.                                                                                             
2:26:41 PM                                                                                                                    
MARGARET RUNSER  said she has  lived in the Anchorage  and Palmer                                                               
areas for  over 54  years and  she has seen  a great  increase in                                                               
trapping  in heavily-used  public  use areas  over  the past  ten                                                               
years,  especially in  the Lazy  Mountain/Knik  River Public  Use                                                               
Area, of  which the  nearby population  is over  3,000 residents.                                                               
She  said there  are traps  placed near  private property  and on                                                               
trails  used by  hundreds of  pedestrians, bicyclists,  horseback                                                               
riders, and  skiers with dogs.    Ms. Runser said  she hikes with                                                               
her trained  trail dog who stays  with her and alerts  her of any                                                               
potential threats from wildlife.                                                                                                
2:30:47 PM                                                                                                                    
KNEELAND  TAYLOR  said  he has  provided  the  committee  written                                                               
testimony  related to  local control,  in particular  to that  of                                                               
second class  boroughs.  He expressed  his support for HB  40 and                                                               
urged  for  clarity  in  the   legislation  so  all  parties  and                                                               
municipal  governments   will  know   the  parameters   of  their                                                               
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON  informed  the  committee Mr.  Taylor  is  an                                                               
attorney  who  has  experience  working  on  wildlife  management                                                               
issues.   He asked Mr.  Taylor whether  he believed the  Board of                                                               
Game  (BOG),  Alaska  Department  of Fish  &  Game,  could  allow                                                               
trapping in Kincaid  Park in Anchorage over the  objection of the                                                               
Anchorage Assembly.                                                                                                             
2:32:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. TAYLOR offered  his understanding that there  currently is no                                                               
municipal  ordinance  in  Anchorage   that  forbids  trapping  in                                                               
Kincaid Park.   However, BOG enacted a regulation  many years ago                                                               
that  prohibited  trapping  in  the  Anchorage  Management  Area,                                                               
ADF&G, that includes  the City of Anchorage from "the  top of the                                                               
mountains you  can see when  you're in  Anchorage all the  way to                                                               
the sea."   Therefore, there  is no  trapping in Kincaid  Park by                                                               
state regulation, but BOG could  authorize trapping if it wished,                                                               
and then the  city could pass an  ordinance prohibiting trapping.                                                               
Mr.   Taylor  further   explained  Anchorage   is  a   home  rule                                                               
municipality  which,  in  his  opinion,   has  the  authority  to                                                               
prohibit trapping in developed areas.                                                                                           
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON  asked  for   clarification  that  home  rule                                                               
municipalities  can [prohibit  trapping] and  governments without                                                               
home rule status cannot [prohibit trapping].                                                                                    
MR. TAYLOR answered  that it was more complicated  than that, and                                                               
expressed his  hope legislation would  bring some clarity  to the                                                               
issue, particularly  for the Matanuska-Susitna  (Mat-Su) Borough.                                                               
He restated that  some municipalities have the  power to restrict                                                               
trapping and some have limited authority.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  urged for changes  to the bill  in order                                                               
to  address  problems  in urban  areas  without  affecting  rural                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON encouraged  the committee  to direct  its                                                               
focus on a local solution.                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  said he was  researching case law  on special                                                               
class legislation  and exceptions  to special  class legislation;                                                               
in  fact, there  is  an  argument that  the  bill  should not  be                                                               
applied statewide.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  WESTLAKE told  of  a trapper  from Utqiaguik  who                                                               
runs a  trap line 200 miles  long with 60 traps,  and pointed out                                                               
that is one of the "things that  we do" in his district.  Whether                                                               
restricting  the  placement of  traps  is  a  good idea  or  not,                                                               
municipalities and  boroughs already  enforce ordinances,  and he                                                               
cautioned that state interference is overreach.                                                                                 
2:38:02 PM                                                                                                                    
JODY LOFGREN  testified in  support of  HB 40.   She has  been an                                                               
avid  hiker since  1982  and was  shocked to  find  out there  is                                                               
active trapping on public use  trails.  Ms. Lofgren expressed her                                                               
concern about  kids and  dogs in  areas of  increased population.                                                               
She  is not  against  trapping,  but said  the  proposed bill  is                                                               
common sense regulation  and 200 feet on either side  of a public                                                               
trail is  a small buffer to  help protect children and  pets.  In                                                               
addition,  she spoke  in support  of identification  requirements                                                               
for traps in  a manner similar to those for  vehicles, boats, and                                                               
snowmobiles.    Although most  trappers  are  responsible, it  is                                                               
important  that  irresponsible  trappers  are  held  accountable.                                                               
Lastly, she said the bill may  save the state money by preventing                                                               
a possible lawsuit.                                                                                                             
2:41:22 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL  STOLTZ said  he owns  lodging in  Talkeetna that  allows                                                               
dogs,  and  his guests  come  from  Anchorage, Eagle  River,  and                                                               
Palmer.    He  expressed  his  support  for  HB  40  although  he                                                               
suggested the bill  focus on second class boroughs.   He spoke of                                                               
the  effects of  rapid  growth  and tourism  on  Mat-Su that  has                                                               
impacted all parts of life in addition  to the use of trails.  In                                                               
response  to Co-Chair  Josephson, he  clarified trails  in areas,                                                               
including  Glennallen,  are  heavily  used in  winter.    Due  to                                                               
increasing populations, he  suggested unincorporated areas should                                                               
incorporate and govern themselves,  as does the Matanuska-Susitna                                                               
2:43:48 PM                                                                                                                    
BILL MOHWRINKEL testified  in support of HB 40.   He said his dog                                                               
was trapped this winter on a  trail close to his house in Palmer.                                                               
He  stated he  is  not  anti-trapping, and  has  friends who  are                                                               
ethical trappers.   Mr.  Mohwrinkel is a  hunter and  fisher, and                                                               
pointed out  there are  few regulations  for trapping  except for                                                               
guidelines  for ethical  trapping, which  are insufficient.   The                                                               
bill  applies  to  high-use  recreational  areas,  which  ethical                                                               
trappers should support because they  do not intend to trap dogs.                                                               
He reported finding  a trap two feet off a  high-use trail nearby                                                               
a school and  playground, and said there was nothing  to be done;                                                               
however, HB  40 would allow  a response  to traps found  close to                                                               
trails.   He restated his support  for the bill.   In response to                                                               
Co-Chair Josephson,  he said  he could not  remember the  name of                                                               
the school.                                                                                                                     
2:48:16 PM                                                                                                                    
BARBARA  BREASE said  she  has lived  year-around  in the  Denali                                                               
Borough for almost 35 years.  She  said HB 40 is a sensible bill;                                                               
in  fact,  one of  the  pleasures  of  living  in Alaska  is  the                                                               
opportunity to enjoy the wilderness  with her dogs, and she feels                                                               
shut out of the woods and  trails because of traps concealed near                                                               
trails.  She  noted that trappers refuse to tell  where the traps                                                               
are, although  signs may warn  of traps  on trails.   She related                                                               
two  incidents  of family  dogs  caught  in  traps.   Ms.  Brease                                                               
suggested that  the proposed  bill could be  a "default  over the                                                               
state," subject to local ordinances,  and said she been unable to                                                               
"make it happen in my borough."                                                                                                 
2:51:32 PM                                                                                                                    
JOEL  BENNETT  previously disclosed  he  served  on BOG  and  was                                                               
legislative counsel for seven years.   He said he was on BOG when                                                               
a  rather   extensive  and   comprehensive  system   [related  to                                                               
trapping] was devised  for Juneau, and supports HB  40 because it                                                               
seeks to  impose a  statewide standard.   If clearly  defined, he                                                               
opined  HB  40  is  a  limited and  conservative  standard  on  a                                                               
contentious  issue  that most  residents  can  support; in  fact,                                                               
regulations in some areas of the  state, such as Juneau, are more                                                               
strict.  The  system in Juneau was established over  20 years ago                                                               
and  is  undisputed.    The system  imposes  a  one-quarter  mile                                                               
distance requirement  all along  the coastline,  lakes, and  on a                                                               
list of  commonly-used trails.   At that  time, BOG  recognized a                                                               
compromise in this regard was  necessary for specific urban areas                                                               
of  the state,  and Mr.  Bennett said  this idea  is good  public                                                               
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON observed BOG  disallowed a Southeast rule that                                                               
traps need  to be tagged, and  overruled the "local option."   He                                                               
referred to  the restrictions in  the City and Borough  of Juneau                                                               
and asked whether BOG intervened, or has the ability to do so.                                                                  
MR. BENNETT  said the  Juneau restrictions  are a  BOG regulation                                                               
that applied  to Juneau,  and which  was devised  after extensive                                                               
public testimony  as part  of an effort  to raise  public support                                                               
for   trapping.     Gustavus  and   Yakutat  have   specific  BOG                                                               
limitations  on trapping  related to  snare size  and trap  check                                                               
requirements.  He  opined that there is room for  progress on the                                                               
issue and HB 40 is a step in the right direction.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND noted  BOG  has avoided  this issue  for                                                               
several years, yet  established limits for Juneau.   She inquired                                                               
whether the regulations were at the request of Juneau.                                                                          
MR. BENNETT  answered that it was  a very different BOG;  at that                                                               
time,  BOG was  a blend  of  interests working  for solutions  to                                                               
contentious  issues.   Furthermore,  there  was widespread  local                                                               
testimony due to the fact there  were regulations for the city of                                                               
Juneau that did  not affect the borough.  The  board responded to                                                               
a  public request  to develop  reasonable trapping  restrictions,                                                               
and he  added that one-quarter  mile is a  commonly-used distance                                                               
by enforcement authorities.                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON noted a document  supporting a 500-foot buffer                                                               
on federal land was included in the committee packet.                                                                           
2:58:20 PM                                                                                                                    
NICK  STEEN testified  in  opposition  to HB  40.    He said  the                                                               
distances  in the  bill are  unenforceable and,  as written,  the                                                               
bill  would  potentially  close   trapping  along  all  waterways                                                               
throughout the state.  He questioned  whether under HB 40 a trail                                                               
that was put  in by a trapper, after another  person walks on it,                                                               
would become  a public  trail.  He  restated the  regulations are                                                               
unenforceable and should be left up to BOG.                                                                                     
2:59:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON announced HB 40 was held over with public                                                                    
testimony open.                                                                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CSHB105 vers J.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 105
HB105 Letters in Support.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 105
HB040 Letters of Support.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB040 ver j.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB105 Letters in Support 2.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 105
HB040 Letters in support 2.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB040 letters of opposition.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB105 Letters in Support 3.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 105
HB040 Letters of Opposition 2.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB040 Letters of Support 3.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB105 Letters of Support.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 105