Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/29/1995 01:14 PM TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 HB 91 - MARINE PARKS ADDITIONS/CHANGES                                      
                                                                               
 Number 013                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON, Sponsor, introduced HB 91 and stated           
 it was heard before the legislature last year and passed the House,           
 but died in the Senate Rules Committee.  She said Representative              
 Kim Elton, Co-sponsor, was present.  She stated HB 91 was not                 
 created by her or Representative Elton, but the community of                  
 Juneau.  The community had requested that it be brought before the            
 legislators in order to obtain the designation of the 13 islands in           
 the general areas as a state marine park.  Representative Robinson            
 read the following Sponsor Statement into the record:                         
                                                                               
       "HB 91 designates 13 islands in the Juneau area as a state              
       marine park.  The islands included in this parcel are located           
       in Lynn Canal.  The lands are currently held in public                  
       domain; none are under private ownership.  These lands have             
       been determined as unsuitable for real estate or resource               
       development.                                                            
                                                                               
       "In 1977 the islands were nominated for selection by the city           
       and borough of Juneau for recreation purposes.  In 1989 the             
       state selected the Channel Islands from the federal                     
       government under the Alaska Statehood Act.  Designation of              
       these lands requires legislative action.  Both the city and             
       the state have identified protection of the islands as a                
       priority in the Juneau Coastal Management Plan.  A previous             
       bill, introduced during the last legislative session, passed            
       the House only to die in the Senate Rules Committee.                    
                                                                               
   "Establishing the islands as a state park would preserve the                
       quality of existing and future recreational use.  All                   
       existing lawful uses, including fishing, trapping and hunting           
       are preserved under statute.  The boundaries of the park                
       would be at the 20-fathom line around each island.  It is               
       essential to institute a management system to preserve the              
       existing recreational use and to accommodate future needs.              
       Only State Park management can consolidate water, intertidal            
       and upland uses into a single entity with adequate                      
       enforcement authority to protect as well as provide for safe            
       use of these resources.                                                 
                                                                               
   "Creation of the Juneau Channel Islands State Marine Park is                
       urgently needed and would be an outstanding addition to                 
       Alaska state parks by providing an island complex unique to             
       the state park system.                                                  
                                                                               
   "Thank you for your consideration.  I urge your support of                  
       House Bill 91."                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 071                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN DAVIS thanked Representative Robinson.                               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said the committee should have a letter               
 from the Alaska Outdoor Council and a letter from the mining                  
 industry with the original bill that passed the House last year.              
 She also called attention to a resolution the committee should have           
 from the Juneau Borough Assembly supporting HB 91.                            
                                                                               
 Number 085                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN DAVIS indicated there was a bill that passed the                     
 legislature dealing with similar issues on the Kenai River within             
 his district.  This was a local issue and had a key benefit to the            
 local area.  He looked at the issues presented in HB 91 as a local            
 issue and suggested they should be presented as such.  He said the            
 issue has statewide impact as well.                                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE asked if the islands are within the                  
 boundaries of the city and borough of Juneau, and if there has been           
 any discussion of the state deeding them over to the city and                 
 borough and letting Juneau do with it as they will?                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON explained there is a representative from              
 the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) present to answer                   
 appropriate questions.                                                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON, Co-sponsor of HB 91, explained he grew up           
 in the local area and fished off of the islands.  He stated as he             
 got older he became further a field.  He continued to explain he              
 would start fishing on Coghlan Island and worked his way further              
 out.  He also has hunted on some of the islands.  He said the                 
 reason he was flattered to be asked to co-sponsor HB 91 because it            
 presents an opportunity for other young children in our community             
 to do what he had done.  It provides an opportunity for people to             
 use these islands the same way he has used them.  He appreciated              
 the committee's point of view of it being a community issue.  He              
 noted the sponsor was very careful to ensure that they were                   
 speaking on behalf of the community.  He added they had many                  
 individuals and groups approach them with concerns on the future of           
 the islands.  He stated he hopes this time we make it over that               
 final threshold.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 147                                                                    
                                                                               
 TED MERRELL, Retired Fishery Biologist, Auke Bay Laboratory,                  
 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and resident of Juneau              
 for over 38 years, said he supported HB 91.  He added he was a                
 member of the Juneau Area Parks Citizen Advisory Board (JAPCAB),              
 but was here to testify on behalf of himself.  He explained his               
 wife and three children came to the area in 1956.  One of the first           
 things they did was to buy a 14-foot skiff and a five horsepower              
 Johnson outboard motor so they could access some of the islands               
 around Auke Bay such as Coghlan, Suedla and Battleship Island,                
 where they often went for picnics, clam digging and camping.  He              
 stated he now has a bigger boat and still continues to visit all              
 the islands and enjoys to fish around them every year.  He                    
 explained when he first came to the area some 30 years ago he would           
 go out on a nice weekend and have his pick of beaches and have them           
 all to himself for the entire weekend.  Over the years because of             
 the growing population, island recreation has become more popular.            
 He noted most of the beaches are utilized by people having parties.           
 The beaches are reaching a saturated level with the heavy use they            
 have been receiving in recent times.  There are growing problems              
 with liter, human waste and several tons of rust.  He noted two               
 years ago on Coghlan Island someone left their camp fire burning,             
 the fire got into the undergrowth and destroyed several large                 
 trees.  He remarked this was becoming more of a problem and urged             
 the committee to pass HB 91.  He emphasized his concern for a basic           
 management program to be put into effect to ensure the islands are            
 not spoiled by overuse.  Mr. Merrell requested the Division of                
 Parks and Outdoor Recreation, Department of Natural Resource to               
 devise the best possible mechanism for instituting some kind of               
 basic management system for the parks.                                        
                                                                               
 BILL GARY, Southeast Area Superintendent, Department of Parks &               
 Outdoor Recreation, Department of Natural Resources, indicated he             
 was in attendance to answer questions the committee might have over           
 the course of this hearing.  He said the department's position is             
 in support of this legislation.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 209                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN DAVIS asked Mr. Gary if he was familiar with the brochure            
 (Proposal) presented to the committee.  He also asked if the                  
 department agrees with some of the presentations that are stated in           
 this brochure.  (indisc.) is in agreement with, but in the long               
 term management (indisc.).  Chairman Davis noted that commercial              
 use is probably one of the key concerns that people might have.  He           
 asked Mr. Gary to describe the commercial uses he might see                   
 envisioned or approved under a plan.  He asked if this plan might             
 designate specific commercial uses.                                           
                                                                               
 Number 235                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. GARY felt that this refers to the framework within state parks            
 of being able to do these things in a way that the Division of Land           
 is not able to.  This states that they may need to be addressed,              
 because they are predicting more and more use coming over the                 
 horizon.  It does not suggest that this is what we are going to do,           
 it merely states the possibilities.  He made reference to some                
 commercial permitted guiding companies that are currently applying            
 to the Division of Land for a transfer of their permits that they             
 had last summer, because now it is state land and previously it was           
 forest service land.  The Division of Land will have to address the           
 issues of whether they should have overnight facilities or just day           
 use facilitates and related concerns.  He said they are not used to           
 handling those kinds of details.  He stated they usually go to him            
 for advice.  He said he would advise them; however, they don't have           
 that regulatory framework and experience that the Division of Parks           
 & Outdoor Recreation has.                                                     
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN DAVIS called attention to the sponsor statement and the              
 mentioned of the 20 fathom depth line.  He saw these issues getting           
 into Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) authority although            
 maybe just on a legal basis and not on a practical basis.                     
                                                                               
 Number 265                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. GARY explained the overall statute for state marine parks                 
 specifically states that we do not have any control over ADF&G                
 matters in this area.  The boundary is a suggestion that came out             
 of a Senate Resources Committee meeting rather than going to an               
 (indisc.) description which is the jagged line that follows nothing           
 real.  Most fisherman have fathometers and would know better with             
 a fathometer than anything else where they were in relation to some           
 landmark.                                                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE EILEEN MACLEAN inquired as to why only part of                 
 Shelter Island was being designated.                                          
                                                                               
 MR. GARY explained the balance of the island is actually still in             
 federal ownership, that being the U.S. Forest Service.  There is              
 some state land in the southern tip that has already been disposed            
 of.  He indicated the only disposable and buildable land has                  
 already been sold off.                                                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS asked who was it sold to.                        
                                                                               
 MR. GARY indicated he could not remember if it was through a                  
 lottery system or some other sale, but it was disposed of through             
 a normal disposal program of the state.                                       
                                                                               
 Number 312                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS asked "along those lines are those people             
 represented here today..."  He added with a state park next to you            
 there is so many restrictions and wondered how this would affect              
 ....                                                                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE interjected and asked if the proposed state              
 park lands would be next to the federal parks.                                
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON thought they would prefer to be adjacent to           
 a federal park because they don't get to develop it.                          
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN DAVIS interjected and noted it would probably be hard to             
 speak for someone who is not here as to what they would prefer.  He           
 added it was a good point and that would be the key question.  He             
 asked Mr. Gary if he could address some of these issues.                      
                                                                               
 MR. GARY referred to a map of the Channel Islands and explained the           
 federal ownership was basically everything lapsed down to a line              
 that designated the boundaries, which consisted of a mile and a               
 half of forest service land still there before they would come to             
 any kind of park designation.  He indicated there were some                   
 developments on parts of the coast of Shelter Island but he was not           
 aware of any conflicts regarding this.                                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS referred to the zero fiscal note that                 
 accompanies HB 91 and inquired as to how the Department of Natural            
 Resources plans to manage the parks.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 315                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. GARY explained their first intent was to try and find a good              
 education system.  He felt it would cost under $1,000.  It would be           
 realistic to say that there really is no additional money to this.            
 He added they will attempt to put signs in the heavily used areas             
 and on the boat launch areas.  He would then educate people and               
 have a system of volunteer groups go out and do a lot of the work             
 themselves.  He mentioned the Division of Parks & Outdoor                     
 Recreation has the personnel and a skiff which is more than the               
 Division of Land has.  He said they do have an existing marine park           
 on Shelter Island.  The department goes to the island a couple                
 times a year to pick up litter.  He said this spring the department           
 is organizing a "Trails Day" event to help clean up Portland                  
 Island.  He predicted there will be some cost, but felt confident             
 that the cost would not be so much as to warrant a red flag of a              
 fiscal note.                                                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON stated the committee will be hearing                  
 testimony from the Juneau Area State Parks Advisory Board (JASPAB).           
 She mentioned they do have programs to help bring volunteers                  
 together and have done this in the past.  She added they plan  to             
 continue providing this service.                                              
                                                                               
 ALLEN WALKER, Private Consultant, Arctic Associates International,            
 and retired Coast Guard Officer, stated he was speaking on behalf             
 of himself.  He stated he considered himself to be pro-development            
 while maintaining an environmental sensitivity and a long range               
 view towards sustainable development.  He said over the past three            
 decades he has lived around and observed numerous coastal areas               
 through out the U.S., including many of the Alaska coastal regions.           
 He indicated that Alaska possessed some of the more unique                    
 ecosystems found anywhere in the world.  He noted HB 91 would help            
 preserve a small portion of one of those ecosystems.  HB 91 would             
 also provide for the use and enjoyment by current residents and               
 visitors, while helping to ensure that future generations have the            
 same opportunity.  There is a current trend in many areas of the              
 U.S. to restore wetlands, green space and localized ecosystems to             
 predevelopment status.  He indicated that is a difficult,                     
 time-consuming and costly process and is being undertaken by                  
 nongovernmental organizations, corporations and municipalities.               
 Much of this is done through litigation, forcing these issues.  HB            
 91 would be one preemptive step to avoid attempts at costly and               
 sometimes futile restoration efforts in the future.  As Juneau                
 continues to grow, pressure to develop the islands proposed in HB             
 91 will increase.  He continued to explain even though we have                
 heard testimony that there is no real estate or commercial use                
 feasible for the islands, pressures continue to grow for                      
 privatization.  If the islands were transferred to private                    
 ownership or development for commercial purposes, they would                  
 essentially be locked up and rendered inaccessible for many of                
 Juneau's citizens.                                                            
                                                                               
 MR. WALKER explained these islands are nearby and are a reasonably            
 accessible resource for many who have not been able to purchase               
 their own remote property or afford the necessary infrastructure              
 cross to access remote public lands.  He continued the islands,               
 tidelands and surrounding submerged lands proposed in HB 91, are              
 arguably best used for such recreational purposes.  He felt the               
 establishment of this park would support future development of                
 other more viable residential and commercial areas throughout the             
 borough of Juneau.  He presented an example of the golf course area           
 located on North Douglas Island that is presently owned by the                
 Goldbelt Native Corporation and the city/borough.  He believed by             
 having a viable marine park for recreational purposes and                     
 maintaining that ecosystem increases and enhances the viability of            
 future use of those lands.  He concluded by stating assurances                
 should be maintained in HB 91, to work closely with all concerned             
 Native organizations, to properly research and survey these areas             
 for any historical or cultural significance prior to any                      
 development efforts.  He added proper identification and                      
 preservation of such sites is essential and would enhance the                 
 park's value for future generations.  An example of the demand for            
 such a policy in the bill would be the recent find of the ancient             
 fish weirs and other culturally significant material found in the             
 Mendenhall River basin.  He explained they were found in an area              
 where no one really expected them to be and they have cultural                
 significance to the people.  He felt that every effort should be              
 made to identify these areas before the construction of trails.               
 Leaving these islands unattended for the public to access could               
 possibly destroy potential historical sites.  Mr. Walker stated he            
 fully supported HB 91 and urged the committee to do the same.                 
                                                                               
 Number 364                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN DAVIS acknowledged he had similar concerns and considers             
 himself pro-development as well.  He commended Mr. Walker on his              
 comments on the enjoyment that people get from visiting these                 
 islands and if there were private areas, this would definitely                
 restrict the enjoyment of most people.  It would provide for                  
 minimizing that opportunity for enjoyment.  Chairman Davis made               
 reference to AS 41.21.302, Section (g) which states the                       
 requirements and regulations that address any historical and                  
 cultural basis or values.                                                     
                                                                               
 CHRISTI HERREN, Member, Juneau Area State Parks Advisory Board,               
 said she would like to let others talk about how appropriate the              
 area is for a state marine park.  She asked to address how the park           
 proposal is unique to others and why it is in the state's best                
 interest to have the Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation manage            
 these lands.  She reiterated Representative Robinson's comments on            
 the fact the lands went through an extensive selection process from           
 the federal government to the state government and throughout that            
 selections process each one of these islands were selected based on           
 its community recreation values.  She explained there were two                
 categories that the islands could be designated under:  One was for           
 community expansion; and the other for community recreation.  She             
 noted the islands were all selected for community recreation.  She            
 explained the selections were all supported by the public and the             
 city/borough of Juneau (CBJ).  This past December a management                
 authority was granted to the state to manage these lands.  She                
 stated the Department of Natural Resources in December 1993,                  
 produced a management plan for all state lands in the Juneau area.            
 The process involved local, state and federal agencies as well as             
 the general public.  She indicated it took a couple of years                  
 through this process to determine the best use of these lands.  Ms.           
 Herren emphasized these islands were recognized for their                     
 outstanding recreational values.  Each of these islands was                   
 designated by that plan to be managed for its recreational values.            
 The Department of Natural Resources has determined that these are             
 recreational lands, they are state lands and will be managed by the           
 department in one form or another.  She said this decision has the            
 support of the public and the local municipality.  She felt the               
 question of concern should address the issues of which state agency           
 would be better equipped to manage these state recreational lands,            
 the most efficient and economic way possible.  She stated the                 
 JASPAB feels the State Parks Division is the logical choice for               
 that.  She explained the Southeast Region of the Division of Land             
 has indicated in conversation with her that they do not have the              
 personnel with the expertise nor the equipment necessary or the               
 time to manage these lands.  She added they do not have much of a             
 recreational land base in Southeast. The Division of Land does have           
 more recreational lands up north and are equipped with the people             
 qualified to deal with these issues.  They are contracting out the            
 management of the small area of land they currently have in                   
 Southeast Alaska.  She noted they are not really in the                       
 recreational land management business in Southeast Alaska.  She               
 said they indicated that they would probably leave it as is and               
 only respond to life and safety hazards that may occur.                       
                                                                               
 MS. HERREN commented that this did not seem like good land                    
 stewardship, but in order for them to respond to any life and                 
 safety hazards that might occur out there, they would more than               
 likely be dependent on state park personnel to take them out there            
 with state park equipment.  She noted this seemed to be a                     
 duplication of effort with more people involved than would be                 
 necessary.  If the Division of Park & Outdoor Recreation was not              
 able to take them out in their boat with their personnel, they                
 would probably have to contract out, which also does not seem like            
 a wise use of state money.  She continued if some illegal activity            
 was occurring on these islands, the Division of Land could only               
 pursue those activities through the civil action process.  This is            
 a lengthy process that can take several years of notifying these              
 people and posting appropriate notification.  She felt the time               
 could be better used by the Division of Land personnel for more               
 important (indisc.) permitting actions.  The Division of Parks &              
 Outdoor Recreation has criminal authority, which allows them to               
 take care of some of the illegal activities in a more timely                  
 manner.  This also would be a more efficient use of the state's               
 money.                                                                        
                                                                               
 MS. HERREN added if there was work that was necessary on these                
 islands, it is likely the Division of Land would have to contract             
 out that work since they do not have the personnel, the tools or              
 equipment.  The Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation could                  
 accomplish the tasks with existing personnel or get volunteers to             
 help.  The Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation has an impressive           
 volunteer program which has developed over the years.  They have              
 had the support of crews from other countries, as well as from all            
 over the U.S.  She added they have used them extensively and have             
 gotten a lot done for not very much money.  The Division of Land              
 does have a volunteer program as well in Southeast Alaska.  To the            
 best of her knowledge they have not had any volunteer work done for           
 them.  She said ultimately it makes the most sense to have the                
 Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation manage these lands.  They              
 are a very lean enterprising and resourceful agency, which has been           
 able to manage their lands efficiently, even with declining                   
 budgets.  The Division of Land is not that interested in managing             
 these recreational lands and would only manage them on a crisis               
 basis.  She felt it would be better land stewardship to have the              
 agency who is qualified and interested manage these parks.  She               
 hoped that the committee would agree and support HB 91.                       
                                                                               
 GAIL BILLS, Member, Juneau Area State Parks Advisory Board, and a             
 20-year resident of the area, asked the committee to consider the             
 following:  If the committee votes against this park proposal, are            
 they doing so because they have a better plan.  She explained in              
 the six years that she has been a member of the JASPAB, she has               
 never heard or seen any alternative plan.  The marine park idea is            
 what the Department of Natural Resources has recommended.  It is              
 what the JASPAB recommends, the city and borough of Juneau Parks              
 and Recreation Board and the Juneau Assembly Mayor.  She reiterated           
 her question of, if not a park then what.  Can the committee tell             
 the people in Juneau, who have been enjoying the islands freely for           
 recreation and subsistence for many decades, what they envisioned             
 for these islands if they choose to assign them to the Division of            
 Land instead of the Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation.  She              
 added if the committee chooses to vote no, then please present your           
 vision of the future for the Channel Islands because the people of            
 Juneau deserve to know.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 493                                                                    
                                                                               
 NANCY WATERMAN, Member, Juneau Parks and Recreation Advisory                  
 Committee (JP&RAC), has lived in Juneau since 1969.  She indicated            
 when she moved to Juneau the population was about 13,000.  The                
 ferry terminal was on South Franklin Street, the airport was                  
 considerably smaller than it is today, the Prince George and                  
 Princess Pat of the Pacific and Orient (P&O) Steamship company were           
 the only cruise ships that called in Juneau carrying approximately            
 300 passengers each.  They did not sell shore excursions.  She said           
 the effects of the local population and traveling public are                  
 considerably different now than they were then.  She indicated the            
 committee has heard the reasons for a management system for the               
 Channel Islands state marine parks and will not repeat those                  
 points, but will encourage passage of HB 91 for the reasons that we           
 need a management system for the Channel Islands.  She added she              
 brings with her the unanimous endorsement from the JP&RAC for HB              
 91.  Ms. Waterman indicated she did know someone who owned private            
 property on Shelter Island and believed they used it as a                     
 recreational cabin.  She felt they would not object to having a               
 state park as their neighbor.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 510                                                                    
                                                                               
 SUE SCHRADER, Member, Juneau Area State Parks Advisory Board; and             
 Member, Juneau Kayak Club, stated she has paddled to probably                 
 everyone of the islands.  She called attention to the fact that the           
 majority of these islands are small and not suitable for resource             
 development.  Many of the islands contain significant wetlands that           
 would probably discourage any type of development.  She also                  
 indicated the majority of the islands are an easy paddle even by              
 kayak, and even easier if you have a motorboat.  The islands are              
 within a few hours from the road system of Juneau, making for high            
 potential usage.  She added in respect to the comment regarding the           
 islands being used by the locals, the past four summers she has met           
 a surprising number of kayakers from out of town, many from                   
 Anchorage, as well as out of state.  She felt as the sport of                 
 kayaking increases, Juneau's reputation will increase as a premiere           
 area for kayaking.  She concluded by saying there is great                    
 potential for more than local use.                                            
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN DAVIS remarked it would be an energetic kayaker to come              
 all the way from Anchorage.  He then introduced Sandy Williams.               
                                                                               
 SANDY WILLIAMS, Member, Juneau Area State Parks Advisory Board,               
 stated he has lived in the Juneau area for 35 years.  He has also             
 paddled extensively to the Channel Islands with his family who grew           
 up in Juneau.  He mentioned in the early days he had only a 12-foot           
 boat, but was able to visit most of the islands.  As a result of              
 that, he enjoyed recreating among the islands.  As time went on, he           
 acquired a larger boat and ventured out further.  He interpreted HB           
 91 not as a lock-up bill as he has heard reference to, but as a               
 program that will enhance the quality of life for the citizens of             
 Juneau.  He noted as the community grows there will be an                     
 increasing need for additional recreational opportunities.  HB 91             
 does not lock up the land but actually provides the opportunity for           
 future growth in Juneau.  He referred to the comment made earlier             
 regarding volunteer labor and did not see where this particular               
 bill would need a fiscal note.  He added the JASPAB does a lot of             
 work in our state parks with the support of volunteer labor.  For             
 example, a few years ago the Burgess State Park was formed and a              
 cabin within this park was built using volunteer labor.  He added             
 they were in the process currently of soliciting funds for a second           
 cabin locally.  In August they plan to start construction of that             
 cabin which will also be done with volunteer labor.  He said what             
 we need is the management tool to oversee these kinds of activities           
 so we can accomplish these tasks in a reasonable manner.                      
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN DAVIS stated the volunteer efforts are encouraging.                  
                                                                               
 MR. WILLIAMS referred to the cabin they are proposing to build and            
 said by the time they have it built, it will probably be a $50,000            
 addition to Burgess State Park.  This will be done through                    
 volunteer contributions in the community as well as volunteer                 
 labor.  He added it was not a small issue and the Director of the             
 Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation has made a significant                 
 effort in soliciting volunteer labor so they can manage the state             
 park resources adequately.  He concluded by stating he did not see            
 how we would be able to accomplish the tasks at hand.                         
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN DAVIS introduced Amy Skillaned.                                      
                                                                               
 AMY SKILLANED said she would pass on testifying in the interest of            
 letting the committee vote on this quickly.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 570                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN DAVIS expressed his concern to Mr. Gary regarding some               
 questions on whether or not the areas should be privatized.  If               
 there is any opportunity for privatization of the lands, what areas           
 would be included remotely relating to developable land, excluding            
 wetland areas or rocky terrain areas.                                         
                                                                               
 MR. GARY said he would have a hard time responding to that question           
 because some of the people he has talked with who are in the real             
 estate business have looked at this for its potential.  Currently,            
 the market for recreational lots is not that strong in Juneau.                
 There is a strong market for buildable housing lots, but obviously            
 it is very difficult to develop these islands for water, sewer and            
 power.  There is no economical way to get power to these islands.             
 He added the topography of the islands consists of steep grades.              
 The smaller islands are so small and rocky that it would be                   
 difficult to build on.                                                        
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN DAVIS asked for confirmation that there are no prime                 
 building sites that Mr. Gary is aware of located on any of these              
 islands.                                                                      
                                                                               
 MR. GARY stated if there had been, there were opportunities before            
 they were selected for a state marine park.  When it was forest               
 service land much of the area was explored and a lot of                       
 recreational permits were obtained on lands around Juneau, but                
 these islands for one reason or another did not have a lot of that            
 recreational permitting.  He continued to explain when the                    
 recreational permits were valid and the state selected the land,              
 they received a preference right for ownership.  This process                 
 occurred previously and was available, but there were no such lots            
 or permits established.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 599                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN DAVIS asked if the private lands were put up on a bid                
 basis or by lottery.  He asked what was the response to those and             
 were they all claimed in the lottery.                                         
                                                                               
 MR. GARY said he did not know the details on that issue.  He                  
 indicated he did not know how it was established.  He suggested to            
 Chairman Davis that Ms. Herren might be better suited to address              
 those issues.                                                                 
                                                                               
 MS. HERREN believed that all the lands did go initially, but many             
 were forfeited because people could not afford to build on them.              
                                                                               
 Number 618                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN DAVIS commented to Mr. Gary regarding the fiscal note that           
 one of the key areas of this is, under the regulations there will             
 be a management plan adopted.  He commented since it does not                 
 indicate when the plan is to be adopted, then this could be side              
 step as far as the cost of implementing a plan.  He explained the             
 Soldotna/Kenai area is currently attempting to change some                    
 legislation since regulation is a big question nowadays regarding             
 expense and control of legislative intent.  The borough is looking            
 at implementing a plan and then bringing it back to the department            
 for approval.  It appears with the efforts and the groups that are            
 formed, this would also be a sensible and cost effective method               
 with regards to the fiscal note.  He asked if a dollar amount was             
 incorporated in the management plan.                                          
                                                                               
 MR. GARY stated no.  It only recommends that a plan be done before            
 any development occurs.  He explained they did not have the urgency           
 to execute a plan.                                                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE EILEEN MACLEAN made a motion to move HB 91 out of              
 the House Transportation Committee with individual recommendations            
 and zero fiscal notes.                                                        
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN DAVIS asked if there was objection.  Hearing none, HB 91             
 was passed out of the House Transportation Committee.                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects