Legislature(1997 - 1998)

01/23/1997 01:04 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                              
                        January 23, 1997                                       
                           1:04 p.m.                                           
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Representative Bill Hudson, Co-Chairman                                       
 Representative Scott Ogan, Co-Chairman                                        
 Representative Beverly Masek, Vice Chair                                      
 Representative Ramona Barnes                                                  
 Representative Fred Dyson                                                     
 Representative Joe Green                                                      
 Representative William K. ("Bill") Williams                                   
 Representative Irene Nicholia                                                 
 Representative Reggie Joule                                                   
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
 All members present                                                           
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
 * HOUSE BILL NO. 23                                                         
 "An Act relating to traditional means of access for traditional               
 outdoor uses and to the classification and the sale, lease, or                
 other disposal of state land, water, or land and water."                      
      - HEARD AND HELD                                                         
 * HOUSE BILL NO. 26                                                           
 "An Act relating to big game tags for wolves; and providing for an            
 effective date."                                                              
      - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                
 * HOUSE BILL NO. 46                                                           
 "An Act relating to mining; and providing for an effective date."             
      - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                
 * HOUSE BILL NO. 17                                                           
 "An Act establishing the Department of Natural Resources as the               
 platting authority in certain areas of the state; relating to                 
 subdivisions and dedications; and providing for an effective date."           
      - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                
 (* First public hearing)                                                      
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
 BILL:  HB  23                                                               
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MASEK                                           
 JRN-DATE      JRN-PG                 ACTION                                   
 01/13/97        33    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED 1/3/97                           
 01/13/97        33    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/13/97        33    (H)   RESOURCES, FINANCE                                
 01/23/97              (H)   RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                        
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
 EDWARD GRASSER, Legislative Assistant                                         
    to Representative Beverly Masek                                            
 Capitol Building, Room 432                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2679                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions regarding HB 23 on behalf             
                      of sponsor.                                              
 JANE ANGVIK, Director                                                         
 Division of Land                                                              
 Department of Natural Resources                                               
 3601 C Street, Suite 1122                                                     
 Anchorage, Alaska  99503-5947                                                 
 Telephone:  (907) 269-8503                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided department's position and answered              
                      questions regarding HB 23.                               
 MARY KAY HESSION, Program Support                                             
 Division of Land                                                              
 Department of Natural Resources                                               
 3601 C Street, Suite 1122                                                     
 Anchorage, Alaska  99503-5947                                                 
 Telephone:  (907) 269-8511                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided department's position and answered              
                      questions regarding HB 23.                               
 JULES TILESTON, Director                                                      
 Division of Mining and Water Management                                       
 Department of Natural Resources                                               
 3601 C Street, Suite 800                                                      
 Anchorage, Alaska  99503-5935                                                 
 Telephone:  (907) 269-8600                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided department's position and answered              
                      questions regarding HB 23.                               
 LOWELL NORTH                                                                  
 1241 Silverberry Drive                                                      
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99712                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 457-3706                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 23; provided suggestions.                   
 TED LEONARD, Representative                                                   
 Interior Alaska Airboaters; and                                               
   Interior Branch, Alaska Boating Association                                 
 1606 Marika Road                                                              
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99709                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 452-5484                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 23.                                         
 DONALD SHERWOOD, President                                                    
 Alaska Boating Association                                                  
 1640 Brink Drive                                                              
 Anchorage, Alaska  99504                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 333-6268                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 23.                                         
 ELIZABETH HATTON                                                              
 HC 52, Box 8900                                                               
 Indian, Alaska  99540                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 653-7649                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed HB 23.                                           
 DANIEL ELLIOTT II                                                             
 P.O. Box 647                                                                  
 Talkeetna, Alaska  99676                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 376-5196                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 23; had concerns.                        
 WILLIAM FOLSOM                                                                
 P.O. Box 2408                                                                 
 Palmer, Alaska  99645                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 745-4339                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 23.                                      
 ELAINA SPRAKER, Chairman                                                      
 Kenai Peninsula Outdoor Coalition                                           
 P.O. Box 3336                                                                 
 Soldotna, Alaska  99669                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 262-9592                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 23.                                      
 BILL HAGAR                                                                    
 431 Gaffney Road                                                              
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99701                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 452-6295                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 23.                                         
 GABE SAM, Director                                                            
 Wildlife and Parks                                                          
 Tanana Chiefs Conference                                                      
 122 First Avenue                                                              
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99701                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 452-8251                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed HB 23.                                           
 JUNE BURKHART, Member                                                         
 Board of Directors                                                            
 Alaska Building Association                                                 
 P.O. Box 204                                                                  
 Willow, Alaska  99688                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 495-6337                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 23.                                         
 ROY BURKHART, Member                                                          
 Board of Directors                                                            
 Alaska Building Association                                                 
 P.O. Box 204                                                                  
 Willow, Alaska  99688                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 495-6337                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 23.                                      
 LEONARD HAIRE, President                                                      
 Mat-Su Chapter                                                                
 Alaska Boating Association                                                    
 P.O. Box 879030                                                               
 Wasilla, Alaska  99687                                                        
 Telephone:  (907) 376-6183                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 23.                                         
 THOMAS STARR, Representative                                                  
 Mat-Su Motor Mushers                                                          
 P.O. Box 870053                                                               
 Wasilla, Alaska  99687                                                        
 (No phone number available)                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 23.                                         
 TOM SCARBOROUGH                                                               
 Tanana Valley Sportsmen Association                                           
 1676 Taroka Drive                                                             
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99709                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 479-3412                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 23.                                         
 CRAIG COMPEAU, Manager                                                        
 375 Parkland Drive                                                            
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99709                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 479-2271                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 23.                                         
 DICK HENSEL                                                                   
 11405 Hawkins Lane                                                            
 Anchorage, Alaska  99516                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 344-1752                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed HB 23.                                           
 CLIFF EAMES                                                                   
 Alaska Center for the Environment                                           
 519 West 8th, Number 201                                                      
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 274-3621                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed HB 23.                                           
 ROBERT HAKENSON                                                               
 P.O. Box 1438                                                                 
 Palmer, Alaska  99645                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 745-1469                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 23.                                         
 RALPH SEEKINS, President                                                      
 Alaska Wildlife Conservation Association                                    
 1625 Old Steese Highway                                                       
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99701                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 459-4025                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 23.                                      
 JACK McCOMBS                                                                  
 P.O. Box 71128                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99707                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 451-7926                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 23; provided suggestions.                   
 STEVE MORGHEIM, Executive Director                                            
 Alaska Marine Dealers Association                                           
 12440 East Tudor Road, Number 792                                             
 Anchorage, Alaska  99507                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 561-4554                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 23.                                         
 TOM MEACHAM                                                                   
 9500 Prospect Drive                                                           
 Anchorage, Alaska  99516                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 346-1077                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed HB 23.                                           
 MICK MANNS                                                                    
 Paradise Valley                                                               
 Bettles, Alaska  99726                                                        
 Telephone:  (907) 479-5704                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 23.                                      
 CARL PORTMAN, Communications Director                                         
 Resource Development Council                                                
 121 West Fireweed, Suite 250                                                  
 Anchorage, Alaska  99516                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 276-0700                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 23.                                         
 STEVE WELLS                                                                   
 Alaska Wildlife Alliance                                                      
 P.O. Box 202022                                                               
 Anchorage, Alaska  99520                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 277-0897                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 23.                                      
 STEVE DARBY                                                                   
 1857 Standard Avenue                                                          
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99701                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 451-0272                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 23.                                         
 MIKE TINKER                                                                   
 P.O. Box 25197                                                                
 Ester, Alaska  99725                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 451-5120                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 23.                                         
 SUSAN OLSEN                                                                   
 1119 G Street                                                                 
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 277-9968                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed HB 23.                                           
 SUSAN SCHRADER, Executive Director                                          
 Alaska Environmental Lobby                                                    
 P.O. Box 22151                                                                
 Juneau, Alaska  99802                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 463-3366                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed HB 23.                                           
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
 TAPE 97-2, SIDE A                                                             
 Number 001                                                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN SCOTT OGAN called the House Resources Committee meeting           
 to order at 1:04 p.m.  Members present at the call to order were              
 Representatives Ogan, Hudson, Masek, Dyson, Green and Joule.                  
 Representatives Williams, Nicholia and Barnes joined the meeting at           
 1:05 p.m., 1:10 p.m. and 1:17 p.m., respectively.                             
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN announced that bills not heard that day would be             
 scheduled for January 30, as the January 28 meeting would be held             
 jointly with the House Special Committee on Oil and Gas in the                
 House Finance Committee room.                                                 
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN advised that fiscal notes for HB 23, HB 26, HB 46            
 and HB 17, provided late by the Administration, were on the                   
 committee table for members.                                                  
 HB 23 - PROTECT ACCESS FOR TRADIT'NL OUTDOOR USES                           
 Number 182                                                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN introduced the first order of business, HB 23, "An           
 Act relating to traditional means of access for traditional outdoor           
 uses and to the classification and the sale, lease, or other                  
 disposal of state land, water, or land and water."  In 1996, the              
 House Resources Committee had heard a similar bill, which passed            
 the House and Senate but was vetoed by Governor Knowles.                      
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN noted that Representative Williams had joined the            
 meeting.  He invited Representative Masek to present HB 23.                   
 Number 230                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BEVERLY MASEK, sponsor of HB 23, noted its                     
 similarity to the previous year's HB 447.  She said it was                    
 supported statewide by a wide range of user groups, including                 
 boaters, snowmobilers, hunters, fishermen, trappers and                       
 conservationists.  Representative Masek indicated HB 447 had                  
 bipartisan support the previous year.                                         
 Number 365                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS asked if HB 23 and HB 447 from the               
 previous year were identical.                                                 
 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK replied, "It's pretty much the same as [HB]              
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS inquired about changes he recalled during             
 the previous session.                                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK said one technical amendment was added, but              
 there were very few changes.  She invited Edward Grasser to respond           
 to technical questions and asked Representative Williams if he                
 recalled the relevant section.                                                
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS said he did not remember.                             
 Number 442                                                                    
 EDWARD GRASSER, Legislative Assistant to Representative Beverly               
 Masek, explained there were changes from the original form of HB
 447, one involving subsistence.  "We wanted to make sure                      
 subsistence was protected," he said.  "So it was changed so that              
 subsistence uses were not equated with the recreational uses but              
 would, rather, remain subsistence uses.  And that's in the current            
 form of the bill as it passed the House last year."                           
 MR. GRASSER continued, "Also, there was a change in Section 4 that            
 was requested by the miners to make sure that people that had                 
 mining claims could operate and protect the public safety by                  
 creating either alternate routes around the claim, for the public             
 access, public lands, or by controlling access through their claim,           
 with certain restrictions of time and place or whatever.  And after           
 those changes were made, the bill garnered support from most                  
 members in the legislature."                                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS asked if it was now basically the same                
 Number 517                                                                    
 MR. GRASSER replied, "This is the exact same bill that passed."               
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN noted that Representative Nicholia had joined the            
 Number 537                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN referred to the fiscal note dated 1/23/97            
 from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and said, "It shows            
 an annual operating increase of nearly $71,000, and then there's a            
 change in revenue, with a negative number."  He asked for                     
 MR. GRASSER replied, "These are the new fiscal notes."  The 1996              
 fiscal note had also been distributed to the committee.  Mr.                  
 Grasser had contacted DNR to find out why they changed the fiscal             
 note for HB 23, which was identical to the bill of the previous               
 year.  He said, "Their new interpretation of the bill, and the                
 reason they have these fees on the new fiscal note, revolves around           
 one section of the bill, and I need to speak with Legislative Legal           
 [Services] and find out for sure that their interpretation is the             
 correct one and ours is not.  But they're concerned that the value            
 of a sale is going to be depressed because the bill protects                  
 recreational access onto parcels that might be sold to the private            
 sector, and the value of those parcels would be depressed because             
 of the recreational access values protected in this bill."                    
 MR. GRASSER continued:  "Their assessment of the language in the              
 bill says that a pattern of use established on a particular section           
 of land in this state, that's currently being used by the public,             
 means that they have to grant a blanket easement to that parcel if            
 it's sold, which means, ... say, [if] people were snow machining              
 across it, they'd be able to snow machine across the person's                 
 private property after it was sold to them, anyplace they wanted              
 Number 648                                                                    
 MR. GRASSER believed Section 4 took care of that question by                  
 allowing DNR to set up easements in the case of sales or disposals            
 of lands.  He said, "I guess that's a question of legalities as to            
 whose interpretation is correct.  We may have to make a technical             
 amendment ... to take care of that."                                          
 MR. GRASSER had been in contact with the Alaska Miners Association.           
 "[W]e discovered a little glitch in Section 4, which was basically            
 at their request last year to protect the interests of miners that            
 were operating, for reasons of public safety, to redirect access              
 through their mining area," he explained.  "And the way the                   
 language now reads, it deals with mining leases; and the mining               
 association is concerned that ... there's other forms of mining               
 operations that are taking place, unlike mining claims.  And we               
 need to make sure that we're covering those also.  So we may have             
 to have a technical amendment there also."  Mr. Grasser asked if              
 that answered Representative Green's question.                                
 Number 737                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN expressed concern that there were "some                  
 wording changes that we don't see today" and "a fiscal note that we           
 don't quite know whether is fair or not."                                     
 MR. GRASSER agreed that was correct.  He said, "Most of this fiscal           
 note, as I understand it, talking with a representative from the              
 department, would go away if we could resolve the conflict in                 
 thinking between whether the bill does or does not provide the                
 department the tools to dispose of lands in a sale to a private               
 party and only grant easements through that, say, public lands                
 beyond it, rather than a blanket easement that would allow people             
 to drive or snow machine over the property at will.  So, basically,           
 the $1.1 million in lost revenues is derived from their assessment            
 of the depressed value of the property because of the blanket                 
 Number 778                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked, "Will this bill be accompanied                    
 somewhere by where these traditional rights-of-way are, so that               
 there would be some concept, before the legislation is enacted,               
 where these trails may ultimately go?"  He referred to RS 2477, of            
 the Revised Statutes from the Mining Act of 1866, and asked, "[A]re           
 they more extensive than that?"                                               
 Number 804                                                                    
 MR. GRASSER replied, "No, this bill basically would protect ...               
 traditional public access onto parcels of land ... and, originally,           
 to make sure that the Administration didn't withdraw lands for                
 exclusive use by one segment of the public over another segment, so           
 that traditional access would continue on those parcels."                     
 MR. GRASSER said it would be a Herculean effort to determine where            
 people were snowmobiling, using all-terrain vehicles, cross-country           
 skiing or putting in trapping lines on state land throughout                  
 Alaska.  There was no data base for that.  With HB 23, if the state           
 wanted to dispose of land or restrict a land base under Title 38,             
 the public would have to come forward and object, saying, "We've              
 been using this for these types of access."                                   
 MR. GRASSER said if a claim could be substantiated, and if the                
 restriction involved an area larger than 640 acres or a time period           
 longer than eight months cumulative in a three-year period, then              
 legislative approval was needed to restrict access.  The burden               
 fell to the public when a restriction was proposed.                           
 Number 892                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked what decision would be made if a member            
 of the public claimed traditional use of a parcel but DNR                     
 MR. GRASSER again said in order to place restrictions, if the                 
 parcel was greater than 640 acres in size or the time period was              
 more than a cumulative of eight months in a three-year period, DNR            
 would have to go through a legislative approval process.  At that             
 time, the public could make their case to the legislature as to               
 whether access routes or activities were taking place on that                 
 Number 949                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated his understanding that if DNR was going           
 to make a parcel available and there was no objection from the                
 public, that transaction could go forward.  But if a person claimed           
 a traditional use, it would have to come back to the legislature.             
 MR. GRASSER concurred.                                                        
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said it seemed to open the door to any                   
 obstructionist, completely defeating the purpose of putting land              
 into private hands.                                                           
 Number 993                                                                    
 MR. GRASSER responded that HB 23 was primarily designed to keep DNR           
 from restricting access to public lands.  In the case of a sale of            
 land, HB 23 allowed alternatives to be established for access.                
 "So, that part doesn't necessarily have to come back to the                   
 legislature," he said.  "But if they withdraw a bunch of land and             
 say, `You can no longer snow machine here,' because they want to              
 create a park or something, then they have to come to you for                 
 approval of that."                                                            
 Number 1034                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN BILL HUDSON asked if HB 23 provided a public                      
 notification process.  He understood in case of a complaint or                
 protest, there would be no restrictions without coming back to the            
 legislature first.                                                            
 Number 1071                                                                   
 MR. GRASSER agreed that was basically correct.  However, DNR used             
 public noticing procedures under the Administrative Procedures Act            
 during their assessments when a section of land was to be                     
 reclassified.  At that time, individuals from the public could                
 present their case.                                                           
 CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked whether notification to the public would,            
 then, be through the Administrative Procedures Act.                           
 MR. GRASSER said that was correct.                                            
 Number 1115                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE REGGIE JOULE raised the issue of liability.  If a              
 land sale transferred public land to private ownership and there              
 was a subsequent snowmobiling accident, would the private owner be            
 liable for something on his property over which he had no control?            
 MR. GRASSER stated his interpretation of HB 23:  If and when a                
 parcel of land came up for sale or disposal by DNR, the department            
 was to provide an alternative access route or create an access                
 route through the parcel that would not necessarily belong to the             
 Number 1198                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE JOULE suggested when land transferred, the new                 
 private owners would not have as much say over their property as              
 they otherwise would have had.  Some people saw this as devaluing             
 the property.                                                                 
 MR. GRASSER replied that was one of the technical questions that              
 needed to be addressed.  However, the intent of HB 23 was not to              
 devalue property at a sale.  The main intent was to provide access            
 to public lands being restricted by administrative action in other            
 areas besides sales or disposals.                                             
 MR. GRASSER indicated large portions of public land were being                
 restricted because of conflicts between user groups that involved             
 aesthetic values.  "In the case of a land sale, this bill would               
 still apply," he said.  "But the department, in Section 4, has the            
 opportunity to establish an alternate route, a reasonable                     
 alternative, so that they could still do the land sale."  For                 
 example, DNR could reroute an existing trail around a parcel.                 
 Number 1305                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE JOULE asked who "they" were and who was responsible            
 for that.                                                                     
 MR. GRASSER said it was the Department of Natural Resources.                  
 REPRESENTATIVE JOULE suggested the cost of maintaining public                 
 access would be on the state.                                                 
 MR. GRASSER responded, "This really wouldn't be that much cost.               
 They'd just have to establish that there's a corridor somewhere.              
 They don't have to build anything."                                           
 Number 1337                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN noted that Representative Barnes had joined the              
 REPRESENTATIVE RAMONA BARNES recalled there was a law relating to             
 tort liability, which dealt specifically with injury on another               
 person's private property while trespassing thereon.  She asked if            
 a representative from DNR would address that issue.                           
 Number 1403                                                                   
 JANE ANGVIK, Director, Division of Land, Department of Natural                
 Resources, testified via teleconference from Anchorage.  In answer            
 to Representative Barnes's question, she indicated staff was                  
 looking up the relevant statute.  Ms. Angvik said the legislature             
 had provided individual property owners a waiver from liability on            
 unimproved property.                                                          
 MS. ANGVIK stated, "It's our interpretation of the proposed                   
 legislation that if land was actually transferred to an individual            
 from the State of Alaska ... and someone asserted that they had               
 been using that area for snow machining, that we would have to, on            
 the title, actually indicate that that ... public access exists on            
 the private land and that it would physically cloud the title that            
 is going to the private individual and would also mean that ... any           
 sale, either to an individual or a transfer of land to a                      
 municipality, would be subject to assertion by anyone that they               
 have a right to be there because they had traditionally used it.              
 So we have some concerns about that."                                         
 Number 1477                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BARNES asked for confirmation that for any                     
 unimproved private land, the legislature had provided an exemption            
 for tort claims under that section.                                           
 MS. ANGVIK replied, "My understanding ... is that ... you passed a            
 waiver that says that persons are not liable for torts on                     
 unimproved property."                                                         
 Number 1515                                                                   
 MARY KAY HESSION, Program Support, Division of Land, Department of            
 Natural Resources, testified via teleconference from Anchorage,               
 indicating AS 09.65.200, adopted in 1988, says owners of unimproved           
 land are not liable for torts in personal injuries on their land.             
 Number 1554                                                                   
 MS. ANGVIK testified that DNR opposed HB 23.  "Our understanding's            
 that the bill intends to ensure public access to state lands, so              
 that people can use it for outdoor activities like hunting and                
 fishing, snow machining and hiking," she said.  "Uses are currently           
 allowed and have rarely been restricted on general state lands.               
 The situation is we start with lands being open, if it is public              
 land, and all those activities are allowed on public lands unless             
 it is restricted.  The state rarely restricts the use of public               
 lands.  We oppose it because it's not necessary to protect public             
 access, and it has some broad negative implications."                         
 MS. ANGVIK said HB 23 placed a burden on the DNR land management              
 and disposal process that would invite delays and possible                    
 litigation.  It would significantly devalue land sold or conveyed             
 by the state, which was reflected in DNR's fiscal note.  She                  
 reiterated that DNR seldom restricted access on general state                 
 lands; when it did so, state law required DNR to provide                      
 alternative access.  "This legislation provides a requirement that            
 says that whenever DNR sells, leases or transfers state land, that            
 we have to provide for this kind of a floating access," she added.            
 Number 1630                                                                   
 MS. ANGVIK noted HB 23 had two major parts.  The first prohibited             
 DNR from classifying state lands for access.  She asked where                 
 people had been denied access to public land and said, "Because it            
 wouldn't have happened by us.  The only examples that we have are             
 that, in past projects, DNR required ... restricted access on the             
 North Slope in order to provide for protection of the tundra from             
 all-terrain vehicles, in order to provide for continuing oil                  
 MS. ANGVIK mentioned a second example, involving Marmot Island off            
 the coast of Kodiak, where DNR restricted access to a Steller sea             
 lion rookery to minimize the threat that the federal government               
 would place the animals on the endangered species list, which would           
 have negatively affected commercial fisheries.   "So, the only                
 examples that we can cite where DNR has restricted access were                
 usually in order to support development or to prevent something bad           
 ...," she said.                                                               
 Number 1697                                                                   
 MS. ANGVIK referred to the second part of HB 23, which said any               
 future disposals of state land must provide for traditional means             
 of access.  The definition of traditional means of access was broad           
 and somewhat unclear, she said.  If DNR transferred land, a parcel            
 would be subject to an easement that would provide for individual,            
 family or community life patterns that any person could assert.               
 Ms. Angvik suggested such a "reserved blanket or a floating public            
 access easement" would significantly devalue state lands                      
 transferred to both individuals and municipalities.                           
 MS. ANGVIK explained, "Occasionally, on Native allotments that                
 erroneously transfer to the State of Alaska, we then give it back             
 to the federal government so they can turn around and give it to              
 the allottee.  And we do this regularly.  What that means is that             
 even allotments could end up with this kind of a (indisc.) that               
 says that any member of the public can assert a traditional                   
 activity on their privately-held land."                                       
 Number 1758                                                                   
 MS. ANGVIK concluded by saying HB 23 provided little benefit and              
 represented a significant inhibitor to future land disposals and              
 developments.  She expressed concern about what problem was being             
 addressed in HB 23 and asked for an example.  She said general                
 public land was very seldom restricted.                                       
 Number 1787                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN asked Ms. Angvik how guaranteeing access devalued            
 MS. ANGVIK specified she was talking about devaluing land that                
 would transfer out of state ownership, thereby making it either               
 municipal or private land.  The land would be devalued because a              
 new requirement would be placed on it.                                        
 MS. ANGVIK explained when DNR disposed of state land today, they              
 were required by existing statutes to ensure access to that land              
 and to any public lands beyond it.  When state land went into                 
 private ownership, it would be devalued because of the threat of              
 somebody saying, for example, "I have the right to have my snow               
 machine here and you can't do anything about it."  Ms. Angvik said            
 that would actually be on the title, which DNR regarded as a cloud            
 on the title.                                                                 
 Number 1845                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE IRENE NICHOLIA asked Ms. Angvik, "Suppose you lease            
 some land to a mining company and they have deep pits all over --             
 it's part of their job and their gold mining activities.  And a               
 snow machiner comes across and falls into this pit and gets hurt.             
 Who is liable?  Is it the legislature because we passed a bill like           
 this, or is it the state department or ... the person who owns the            
 ... land lease?"                                                              
 MS. ANGVIK said she was not sure.  She acknowledged the state was             
 a "deep pocket."   However, she believed a leasing company would              
 also be liable if a person had a blanket public right to be there.            
 "I'm not familiar with the provision that was worked out with the             
 mining association that the staff member addressed," she advised.             
 "So he may know specifically about if it was a mining operation               
 that I'm not familiar with. ... But the issue for this bill is:               
 Would they have a right to be there?"                                         
 Number 1942                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE NICHOLIA said, "This bill intends to keep lands as             
 they were traditionally used.  So, if there were snow machiners               
 that were using this land before the mining lease was approved and            
 then if the miners didn't want to have the liability, since it's              
 not clear who would be liable for the person that got hurt ... on             
 their claims, could they put up `keep out - no trespassing' signs?            
 Is that possible with this bill?"                                             
 MS. ANGVIK deferred to Jules Tileston, who she indicated could                
 elaborate on the authority of mining companies with respect to                
 controlling access to their mining leases.                                    
 Number 1999                                                                   
 JULES TILESTON, Director, Division of Mining and Water Management,            
 Department of Natural Resources, testified via teleconference from            
 Anchorage.  He stated, "The best example that I can give you is               
 Fort Knox.  In that case, and the question was, can a mining                  
 company (indisc. -- papers shuffling) something that makes a                  
 liability either to the company or to the state, as a result of               
 their mining operation?  In the case of Fort Knox, they had an                
 active mining operation that was identified early in the process              
 that there would be risks to the public indeed across that ... set            
 of mining claims.  There were snow machine trails, there were dog             
 sled trails, there were cross-country trails.  And what was worked            
 out in that case, on a site-specific basis, is that DNR, through              
 the public process, said, `We are going to close the public access            
 and that the mining company has full right and responsibility to              
 exercise that right to restrict public access, and the mining                 
 company will develop alternative routes for the dog sleds, for the            
 cross-country skiers and the snow machiners around the property.'             
 And I think that's really what would happen.  If we had a risk,               
 we'd know it during the planning process; then our collective                 
 responsibility is to protect the public."                                     
 Number 2070                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON viewed HB 23 as trying to ensure a higher                  
 standard for the maintenance of access for traditional outdoor                
 activities.  He asked why, given the provisions of being able to              
 come back to the legislature for larger parcels or those restricted           
 for longer periods of time, land would be devalued.  He suggested             
 HB 23 provided oversight or an opportunity for the legislature to             
 operate on behalf of those who felt DNR's classification denied               
 them access for traditional outdoor activities.  He asked Ms.                 
 Angvik to explain the basis for the $1.1 million fiscal note.                 
 Number 2145                                                                   
 MS. ANGVIK explained, "[I]f you buy a homesite or you prove up on             
 a homesite ... and we're in the process of transferring that land             
 to you, the reason that the land is less valuable than it would               
 have been without this legislation [is] that there is a shadow on             
 the title of that land which says anybody who wants to and can                
 assert that they have traditionally used that land can continue to            
 do so, even though you are the owner.  If I was selling you a piece           
 of real estate and I said, `This is your piece of real estate and             
 you've got it and you can do anything you want with it because you            
 bought it,' then it has `x' value.  If I sell you a piece of real             
 estate and say, `This is your piece of land, but anybody who wants            
 to can come and use it,' then it has less value."                             
 Number 2220                                                                   
 MS. ANGVIK emphasized that the value question had nothing to do               
 with the millions of acres of state land not being conveyed to                
 individuals or municipalities.  Currently, state lands started as             
 "open" to these traditional activities.  Only in the most unusual             
 circumstances did DNR in any way limit people's access in the use             
 of state lands.  Ms. Angvik again asked for an example of where               
 lands had been closed and asserted that HB 23 did not accomplish              
 the intended goal.                                                            
 Number 2249                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON said there was concern about restricting access            
 through unilateral activities of not necessarily the current                  
 commissioner but of any commissioner.  Being able to come back to             
 the legislature for approval would provide a relief valve.                    
 Number 2297                                                                   
 MS. ANGVIK responded that DNR had no difficulty with legislative              
 oversight and welcomed it.  However, they knew of no example of               
 where the access issue had been a problem.  She said, "I don't know           
 what it affects, other than our ability to cordon off the Steller             
 sea lions so that they don't become endangered or something like              
 that."  She again requested an example.                                       
 Number 2331                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK mentioned Blair Lake, a popular lake in the              
 Mat-Su Valley where the commissioner of DNR had been going to shut            
 down access for float planes.  She said DNR had not provided an               
 avenue for public input there, resulting in an outcry.  Through HB
 23, the legislature would have more authority, including ability to           
 get involved if land was to be closed to access for a period of               
 more than eight months.                                                       
 Number 2408                                                                   
 MR. GRASSER discussed the Recreational Rivers Bill, passed in the             
 1980s, which designated certain lands to be managed specifically by           
 the Division of Lands, not the Division of Parks.  In ensuing                 
 years, certain uses had been restricted on stretches of those                 
 rivers.  "And although those restrictions may have been valid in              
 the planning process, this bill precludes DNR from doing similar              
 restrictions on other public lands and waters without legislative             
 approval," Mr. Grasser said.  He believed the intent of the                   
 Recreational Rivers Bill had been circumvented by DNR's                       
 transferring of management of certain portions to the Division of             
 Parks and Outdoor Recreation.                                                 
 Number 2468                                                                   
 MS. ANGVIK said the Blair Lake example helped her understand the              
 sponsor's concerns.  However, Blair Lake was inside a state park              
 and therefore controlled by Title 41.                                         
 TAPE 97-2, SIDE B                                                             
 Number 001                                                                    
 MS. ANGVIK indicated if the issue was the Division of Parks and               
 Outdoor Recreation's capacity to control access, Title 41 addressed           
 that.  Moreover, the Blair Lake area was less than 640 acres in               
 size.  "So, if ... that's the problem you wanted this bill to                 
 address, it doesn't get at it," she said.                                     
 MS. ANGVIK explained the "Recreational Rivers management                      
 structure," saying the Division of Lands managed lands adjacent to            
 those rivers, as provided for in statute.  She stated, "Secondly,             
 the law specifically says, adopted under the state legislature, in            
 order to come back to the legislature with the plan, the                      
 legislature itself had to adopt a plan, which you did.  In the                
 plan, which was known, it says the commissioner can adopt                     
 regulations to implement the plan and to establish criteria for the           
 management of the plan."                                                      
 Number 064                                                                    
 MS. ANGVIK voiced understanding of concerns about closing sections            
 of the Recreational Rivers areas to motorboat use.  "But the state            
 statute specifically gives the commissioner the authority to                  
 regulate boating if necessary under the management plan adopted by            
 the Rec Rivers Plan," she said.  That legislation still stood and             
 would not be affected by HB 23.  "However, the lands that we may,             
 in fact, dispose of are very negatively affected," she added.                 
 Number 121                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN concurred with Ms. Angvik's concern over what            
 exactly was broken and needing fixed.  He said, "What I'm really              
 concerned about is something happening, if the current legislature            
 is of the mind-set to try to get more land into private hands, that           
 this would become an issue that -- it sounds like almost anyone can           
 come in and say that there was a traditional use.  `I have been               
 berry picking there', `I have been snow machining there for years             
 and year or last week or whatever.'  There's no time limit.  What             
 establishes tradition?  And that, then, was going to be coming back           
 to the legislature."                                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN indicated he and other legislators wanted to             
 reduce the amount of time they were in session.  "And this sounds             
 like it's going to expand that, or could, certainly, expand it," he           
 stated.  "So I'm concerned that we're opening Pandora's Box,                  
 potentially, to try to solve a few incidences.  And it seems to me            
 maybe we should be looking at those incidences, rather than                   
 statewide.  Unless I hear something to the contrary."                         
 Number 176                                                                    
 MR. GRASSER responded, "It's our interpretation that Ms. Angvik's             
 interpretation of the bill is erroneous.  Section 4 of the bill ...           
 doesn't say just leases, it says sale and disposal of land.  It               
 also provides in that section that they can provide alternate                 
 routes or other means for access.  Their interpretation of the bill           
 says that they have to give a blanket access to those parcels that            
 they sell because of a pattern of use. ... I noted that we may have           
 to make a technical amendment to ensure that the intent of Section            
 4 is coupled to the pattern-of-use language in the definition of              
 traditional access in Section 3.  But that would take care of Ms.             
 Angvik's concerns about devaluing the land and causing problems in            
 the disposal of problem."                                                     
 Number 235                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said he was not opposed to making a                      
 traditional use in a noncontroversial area easier.  If it was a               
 problem statewide, he was in favor of HB 23.  However, if it would            
 happen just incidentally, he questioned the bill's merits.                    
 Representative Green expressed concern that too broad a brush was             
 being used to correct a small problem.  "And so far, I haven't                
 heard that there is a real major problem in this regard," he added.           
 Number 275                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK said, "Another fine example is the area on               
 Curry Ridge, which is located out in the Southcentral.  They've had           
 a lot of problems up there dealing with this similar situation."              
 She asked Mr. Grasser to comment.                                             
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN noted there was a long list of people waiting to             
 Number 298                                                                    
 MR. GRASSER said, "First of all, I don't believe that the true                
 nature of the Rec Rivers bill was related to you by Ms. Angvik.               
 That bill specifically allowed for traditional means of access on             
 those river corridors.  And during the planning process, there was            
 a tremendous amount of public testimony to maintain that                      
 traditional access, and the department unilaterally restricted it.            
 And getting at the rest of your question, ... there's continually             
 coming before the Department of Natural Resources and other state             
 agencies requests to restrict access."                                        
 MR. GRASSER referred to a recent study by the Department of Fish              
 and Game that would affect public lands under Title 38 in the                 
 Nelchina Basin.  That study suggested access into that area may be          
 causing habitat problems.  "I'm not sure that it is," Mr. Grasser             
 said.  "And maybe it is, and in that case, the legislature would              
 have the option of allowing some restrictions to take place there."           
 MR. GRASSER said the impetus for HB 23 was that the public was                
 continually being bombarded with problems of having to go to                  
 hearings to maintain their right to access land because of DNR, not           
 just because of the Division of Lands but in other areas, as well.            
 Number 378                                                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN advised that following two questions by committee            
 members, public testimony would be heard.                                     
 REPRESENTATIVE BARNES withdrew her question in order to listen to             
 public comment.                                                               
 Number 398                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE NICHOLIA said she shared Representative Green's                
 concerns.  She asked Ms. Angvik if HB 23 would have any impacts on            
 Tier 1 or Tier 2 provisions or controlled use areas.                          
 MS. ANGVIK replied, "This bill has nothing to do with that, because           
 this bill regulates land under Title 38.  The Tier 1 and Tier 2 are           
 manned by the Department of Fish and Game, and anyplace where                 
 anybody currently can have access to public lands to do                       
 subsistence, they would still be able to do that, would be my                 
 Number 444                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE NICHOLIA asked if the state could still use the                
 controlled use areas if HB 23 passed.                                         
 MS. ANGVIK asked the definition of "controlled use area."                     
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN said it was a Title 16 controlled use for, e.g.,             
 restricting motorized vehicles for hunting.                                   
 Number 476                                                                    
 MS. ANGVIK said HB 23 would not affect controlled use, which was              
 determined under Title 16 aspects of management of fish and game."            
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN opened the meeting for public comment.  He advised           
 that it was not his intention to move HB 23 that day.  He asked               
 testifiers to limit comments to two minutes in order to accommodate           
 Number 547                                                                    
 LOWELL NORTH testified via teleconference from Fairbanks in support           
 of HB 23, suggesting other traditional means of access should be              
 included in Section 3.                                                        
 Number 598                                                                    
 TED LEONARD, Representative, Interior Alaska Airboaters; and                  
 Interior Branch, Alaska Boating Association, testified via                    
 teleconference from Fairbanks in support of HB 23.  His                       
 organizations did not view the problem as minor, as many instances            
 of restrictions and prohibitions on traditional access were being             
 placed by DNR and other departments.                                          
 Number 655                                                                    
 DONALD SHERWOOD, President, Alaska Boating Association, testified             
 via teleconference from Anchorage in support of HB 23.  He                    
 protested DNR's restrictions on motorized access, suggesting                  
 special interests were at work and public hearings were a mockery.            
 A veteran, he said handicapped and elderly Alaskans who had used              
 traditional access were not being considered when areas were                  
 Number 751                                                                    
 ELIZABETH HATTON testified via teleconference from Anchorage in               
 opposition to HB 23, saying she belonged to the Alaska Quiet Rights           
 Coalition but was speaking for herself.  She believed the intrinsic           
 value of the land and waters, as stated in the bill, were exactly             
 what most Alaskans value.  The bill threw away DNR's ability to               
 protect Alaskans and what is most dear to them, including wildlife,           
 fishing and hunting, and peace and quiet.  The owner of a remote              
 cabin, she originally accessed it on skis but now used snow                   
 machines, planes and boats.  The trails in the area were created by           
 people going to their cabins.  Now, however, hundreds of snow                 
 machine users were coming across her land.  She was concerned about           
 the implications of making such use legal.                                    
 Number 871                                                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN advised that the committee would only hear                   
 testimony on HB 23.  He apologized to anyone waiting to testify on            
 other bills, which would be rescheduled to Thursday, January 30.              
 He noted that the next meeting would be Tuesday, January 28, at 10            
 a.m., to hear HCR 1.                                                          
 Number 919                                                                    
 DANIEL ELLIOTT II testified via teleconference from Mat-Su.  He               
 expressed surprise that HB 23 did not include state parks.                    
 Sympathetic with its intent, he nonetheless believed HB 23 was too            
 broad.  He envisioned people making bogus claims or destroying, for           
 example, a blueberry patch, resulting in that traditional use no              
 longer existing.  Sometimes things had to be regulated.  While a              
 sleepy little town might not need a stoplight, when it became the             
 size of Anchorage, restrictions were needed.                                  
 Number 1012                                                                   
 WILLIAM FOLSOM testified via teleconference from Mat-Su, saying he            
 was on the board of directors for Mat-Su Valley Sportsmen.  He              
 indicated everyone he had talked with favored HB 23.  He referred             
 to the Recreational Rivers Bill and said all recreational uses                
 would be compatible unless determined by the "director of DNR" to             
 be incompatible.  "You've got to take some of that power away from            
 DNR," he stated.  He hoped loopholes could be tightened up and HB
 23 passed.                                                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN suggested that persons with written testimony fax            
 it to the committee from their local Legislative Information Office           
 Number 1131                                                                   
 ELAINA SPRAKER, Chairman, Kenai Peninsula Outdoor Coalition,                  
 testified via teleconference, saying although the group had formed          
 to fight the subsistence issue, the board of directors included               
 trappers, snowmobilers, hunters and both sport and commercial                 
 fishermen.  She referred to Caribou Hills, which had multiple uses            
 including moose hunting, snowmobiling, dog sledding, trapping and             
 other activities.  She asked Ms. Angvik whether DNR had the power             
 to sell off that land and displace recreational activities and, if            
 so, was there any protection.                                                 
 Number 1202                                                                   
 MS. ANGVIK replied that the Caribou Hills area was "sale land."               
 Should a sale be planned, the area was not protected.  However,               
 none was currently planned.                                                   
 MS. SPRAKER said she would support some type of protection for                
 traditional uses there.                                                       
 Number 1290                                                                   
 BILL HAGAR testified via teleconference from Fairbanks in support             
 of HB 23.  He referred to Article VIII, Section 3, of the                     
 Constitution of the State of Alaska, which he suggested prohibited            
 the state from granting to anyone "monopolistic access" to a                  
 natural resource.  He said, "We find that the agencies have a                 
 tendency to segregate users, and they grant themselves conflict               
 resolution authority."  His position paralleled that of "the man in           
 Mat-Su," and he believed it was impossible to keep up with public             
 meetings.  Therefore, he was looking to the legislature.                      
 Number 1380                                                                   
 GABE SAM, Director, Wildlife and Parks, Tanana Chiefs Conference,           
 testified via teleconference from Anchorage in opposition to HB 23.           
 He said the state already had a vehicle to address these issues in            
 the form of the Board of Game and DNR.  He believed the legislature           
 should not be directly involved with either entity's policies.                
 Number 1444                                                                   
 JUNE BURKHART, Member, Board of Directors, Alaska Building                    
 Association, testified via teleconference from Anchorage in support           
 of HB 23, saying it was important to all Alaskans who used the                
 outdoors as frequent recreation users and consumptive users of fish           
 and game.  She suggested free, open access was sometimes critical             
 to assure some people's livelihood.  "This would put the control of           
 the access to public lands where it should be, under the control of           
 the legislature," she stated.  If and when restrictions needed to             
 be imposed, she believed they should apply equally to all citizens.           
 Number 1579                                                                   
 ROY BURKHART, Member, Board of Directors, Alaska Building                     
 Association, testified via teleconference from Anchorage,                     
 addressing the easement issue.  He said a section line was already            
 an easement.  Therefore, ideally, if the state sold 640 acres,                
 there was a section line there.   "If the section line's there, you           
 don't even need the easement," he asserted.  "If there's a                    
 navigable stream, you don't need the easement.  If there's neither            
 one, it's real simple.  You make a 30-foot easement through the               
 land to get to the other land.  And that solves the problem."                 
 MR. BURKHART wanted the committee to ask Ms. Angvik how many times            
 there had been a user conflict where DNR had restricted                       
 nonmotorized users versus motorized users.  "And this is why we               
 need the bill," he added.                                                     
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN asked Jane Angvik to respond to Mr. Burkhart's               
 question at a future hearing.                                                 
 Number 1745                                                                   
 LEONARD HAIRE, President, Mat-Su Chapter, Alaska Boating                      
 Association, testified via teleconference in support of HB 23,                
 saying he was an avid sportsman.  He said public meetings made no             
 difference, no matter how overwhelming the numbers were, and cited            
 the case of the Recreational Rivers Bill.  He had attended probably           
 100 meetings in the last three years, and at every one DNR "and the           
 parks" were dominating, with the issue repeatedly being restricted            
 access.  He could think of no bill more important than HB 23.                 
 Number 1893                                                                   
 THOMAS STARR, Representative, Mat-Su Motor Mushers, testified via             
 teleconference in support of HB 23, saying his snow machine club              
 had 500 members in the Mat-Su Borough.  "Recreational access is               
 primary to the development and the future of our winter development           
 here in the valley, of course, but [also] throughout the state," he           
 Number 1980                                                                   
 TOM SCARBOROUGH testified via teleconference from Fairbanks, saying           
 he represented himself and the Tanana Valley Sportsmen Association.         
 He supported HB 23 and said access questions should not be left to            
 the whim of DNR employees.  He commented that section line access             
 was only for public transportation such as road building.  "That is           
 not legal access for any other purpose, by law," he added.                    
 Number 2089                                                                   
 CRAIG COMPEAU, Manager, Compeau's, testified via teleconference               
 from Fairbanks in support of HB 23, indicating Compeau's was one of           
 the largest snow machine companies in the country.  He referred to            
 recent legislation attempting to restrict or select access to Curry           
 Ridge by certain user groups.  He said Jim Stratton, Director of              
 the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, had mentioned in a              
 response in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that public testimony            
 was 40-1 against restricting access.  Mr. Compeau said he had heard           
 a similar response ratio in his store.                                        
 Number 2192                                                                   
 DICK HENSEL testified via teleconference from Anchorage in                    
 opposition to HB 23.  Although a member of the Mat-Su Parks                   
 Advisory Board, he was representing himself.  He believed HB 23               
 implied the commissioner of DNR was insensitive to the needs of               
 public user groups and was incapable of making management                     
 decisions.  "I can't really accept that," he said.  He believed HB
 23 placed undue emphasis on guaranteeing public use at the expense            
 of resource protection and that it conflicted with objectives set             
 forth in state plan documents.  For these reasons, HB 23 was                  
 Number 2296                                                                   
 CLIFF EAMES, Alaska Center for the Environment, testified via                 
 teleconference from Anchorage in opposition to HB 23.  Noting there           
 was an additional office in the Mat-Su Valley, he said his                    
 organization's membership included approximately 4,000 households.            
 Their goal for state land management as it related to motorized               
 recreational vehicle use was two-pronged.  First, all users                   
 including Alaskans and tourists, not just motorized users, should             
 be accommodated.  Impacts on residents and cabin owners from                  
 motorized vehicle use should be minimized or eliminated.                      
 MR. EAMES stated, "We have a lot of land in Alaska.  People agree             
 on that.  We believe that we can share it, but it requires some               
 allocations."  He cited recent serious conflicts involving Eagle              
 River residents, including a new snow machine trail and a proposed            
 corridor from Anchorage to Eagle River.  His organization believed            
 a balance should be initiated between areas available for                     
 nonmotorized users and those available for motorized users.                   
 MR. EAMES referred to snow machining and said the state had looked            
 a year ago at an area of approximately 35 million acres of public             
 lands in Southcentral Alaska.  Only 4.5 percent of those lands had            
 been set aside as quiet areas.  "We don't believe that this is a              
 fair balance and allocation of our public lands," he said.  "We               
 can, in fact, allocate lands successfully.  It's been done in                 
 Chugach State Park.  It's been done at Turnagain Pass.  And it's              
 been done on the Resurrection Pass Trail."                                    
 MR. EAMES acknowledged the issues were complicated.  He believed              
 the best vehicle for addressing them was the administrative                   
 planning and regulatory process.  Administrators at the Division of           
 Land and the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, as well as             
 at the Department of Fish and Game, had the expertise and time to             
 deal with these complicated issues.                                           
 TAPE 97-3, SIDE A                                                             
 Number 042                                                                    
 ROBERT HAKENSON testified via teleconference from Mat-Su in support           
 of HB 23.  A lifelong Alaska resident and "active outdoor person,"            
 he had lived in the Mat-Su Valley since 1975.  He stated, "I can't            
 imagine being in Alaska without our freedom and having the land               
 available to us."                                                             
 Number 120                                                                    
 RALPH SEEKINS, President, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Association,           
 testified via teleconference from Fairbanks.  He said, "We think              
 it's wonderful when access is made available to everyone. ... [W]e            
 should not steal any experience from common Alaskans for the                  
 benefit of the elitists who have the time, money and health to hike           
 or float, or for the narrow benefit of those who got there first              
 and don't want anyone else near their cabin."                                 
 MR. SEEKINS said the Board of Game had recently closed a million              
 acres to airboats because of a potential conflict.  "And the way it           
 was solved was that an entire group of users was eliminated from              
 access," he stated.  "That's simply wrong and it should be                    
 protected from ever happening again."                                         
 Number 230                                                                    
 JACK McCOMBS testified via teleconference from Fairbanks in support           
 of HB 23.  He felt strongly about getting the "philosophical                  
 management of lands" back in the hands of legislators and out of              
 the hands of "some micromanaging special interest bureaucrat."  Mr.           
 McCombs suggested HB 23 be broadened to include parks and other               
 special use state lands, thereby guaranteeing access.  He commented           
 that liability was always an issue and should not dissuade                    
 supporters of the bill.                                                       
 Number 364                                                                    
 STEVE MORGHEIM, Executive Director, Alaska Marine Dealers                     
 Association, testified via teleconference from Anchorage in support           
 of HB 23.  He said, "Repeatedly our membership, which consists of             
 about 50 businesses, are inundated by comments from their customers           
 about the confusion and the continued frustration they face in                
 having restrictions placed on their traditional access to waterways           
 and what they enjoy in the way of outdoor recreation."  He thought            
 HB 23 leveled the playing field.  "It would appear to me that, in             
 reading this legislation, there's nothing in here that any of the             
 departments are restricted from doing.  They just have to do a                
 better job of selling it to the people," he concluded.                        
 Number 523                                                                    
 TOM MEACHAM testified via teleconference from Anchorage in                    
 opposition to HB 23.  He thought it would unwisely limit DNR's                
 management ability to protect state lands from erosion, habitat               
 damage, and displacement of wildlife and certain recreational uses.           
 He cited the area off the Denali Highway as somewhere DNR perhaps             
 should consider placing restrictions to prevent terrain damage by             
 the summer use of overland vehicles.                                          
 MR. MEACHAM stated, "I think the apparent assumption of this bill             
 is that all means of access are equal, and that if they're not,               
 motorized access always should prevail.  I think, in contrast of              
 what some other people have said, ... this is an elitist view                 
 because it presumes that the prevailing access user has the money             
 and the ability to buy the kind of vehicle which will predominate             
 in these access questions."   He pointed out there was always a               
 displacement of nonmotorized users where motorized users                      
 MR. MEACHAM believed there was public support for the ability of              
 DNR to manage state lands to protect the intrinsic values of lands,           
 which were specified in HB 23.  He noted that even Caterpillar D-8            
 tractors were traditional means of access to some Alaskans, despite           
 damage to terrain.                                                            
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN referred to page 2, lines 21 - 25, of the bill and           
 said it was not exclusive to motorized transportation.                        
 Number 726                                                                    
 MICK MANNS testified via teleconference from Fairbanks, saying                
 everybody he had talked to in the Bettles area supported HB 23.               
 The previous year, however, one company had run 400 dog mushers               
 over a trail, beating it down to where it could hardly be used by             
 snowmobilers.  "So we might need to put something in there that               
 commercial users that take out more than 12 or 15 clients ought to            
 pull drags, so that the trail will stay good enough for the rest of           
 us to be able to use it," he suggested.                                       
 MICK MANNS said, "Go back to Section 8 of the Natural Resources.              
 It says in there that reservation of access is to be preserved but            
 that purchasers of land and lessees of land do have the right to              
 prevent trespass on their active use areas.  The UCC Code and law             
 says that when a landlord takes away that reservation of trespass,            
 that the landlord becomes liable, which would put the liability               
 back on the state.  And as long as there's a reservation of access            
 that would preserve to the actual use area for the leaser or the              
 purchaser, it reverts back to the purchaser provided that the state           
 does ... go by Section 8 of the state law."  Mr. Manns again stated           
 his support for HB 23.                                                        
 Number 876                                                                    
 CARL PORTMAN, Communications Director, Resource Development                   
 Council, testified via teleconference from Anchorage in support of            
 HB 23.  Access to Alaska's vast public lands was a major priority             
 of his organization.  "It is imperative Alaska retain the widest              
 possible range of multiple uses on its lands and preserve as many             
 options as possible for access, especially traditional access for             
 recreation and other uses," he said.  Mr. Portman believed Alaskans           
 should have proper representation by their elected officials in               
 cases involving restrictions on traditional recreational access.              
 "Access including aircraft, snowmobiles and boats are an essential            
 element to Alaska's unique access equation," he stated.                       
 Number 956                                                                    
 STEVE WELLS, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, testified via teleconference           
 from Anchorage, saying HB 23 was not about tradition or access.  It           
 was about motorized use.  The state did not close access to state             
 lands for the public at large.  "People have rights to access," he            
 explained.  "Motors don't.  There's a reason for that, and that is            
 that the impacts to the land, the wildlife and other users aren't             
 equal.  Motorized use can damage habitat, displace wildlife and               
 does certainly displace other ... nonmotorized users due to the               
 noise and safety concerns that are intrinsic in motorized use."               
 MR. WELLS questioned where the problem was.  He said there was no             
 record of significant closures to access on state lands for                   
 motorized use.  Mr. Wells asked, "Do we really believe that there's           
 no room for areas that are closed to motorized use, to provide for            
 quiet recreation or protection of the intrinsic values of this                
 great state?'"                                                                
 MR. WELLS believed it ironic that motorized use advocates                     
 complained the public process did not work.  It had worked well for           
 motorized use at Curry Ridge and Denali Park, where a compromise in           
 the master plan, adopted after a lengthy public process, was                  
 overturned due to the heavy turnout of snowmobilers.  Mr. Wells               
 advised that he would provide further testimony in writing.                   
 Number 1091                                                                   
 STEVE DARBY testified via teleconference from Fairbanks in support            
 of HB 23, saying he had a "recreational use shop."  He did not                
 believe most motorized users were irresponsible.  A lifelong                  
 Alaskan, he felt fortunate to live in Alaska instead of where there           
 were numerous restrictions.   He wanted his customers, his children           
 and their children to be able to use the land as well.                        
 Number 1155                                                                   
 MIKE TINKER testified via teleconference from Fairbanks in support            
 of HB 23.  He believed then-President Jimmy Carter had created                
 enough nonmotorized country in Alaska for "all of you to use for              
 the next five lifetimes."  He wanted some left for motorized uses.            
 "We certainly don't exclude you from that," he said.  He wanted to            
 see similar bills include parks and other agencies such as the                
 Department of Fish and Game and the Department of Transportation.             
 He asked:  Is there a motorized area of the state that nonmotorized           
 users cannot go also?                                                         
 Number 1234                                                                   
 SUSAN OLSEN testified via teleconference from Anchorage in                    
 opposition to HB 23.  She questioned the drafting of the bill and             
 said there were problems with the definition of traditional use.              
 "I wonder who is to judge what is traditional use, how that is to             
 be established," she said.  She believed HB 23 was a "totally                 
 wrong-headed attempt" in that it attempted to freeze in place                 
 various so-called rights to access.   The effects of one person's             
 access changed dramatically when that was multiplied by 40.                   
 Regardless of the numbers, all uses similar to a traditional use              
 could occur.                                                                  
 MS. OLSEN thought HB 23 left DNR without the right to protect the             
 land and carry out its job.  She referred to Article VIII, Section            
 2, of the Constitution of the State of Alaska.  She suggested HB 23           
 was unconstitutional because it would not result in the maximum               
 benefit for all the people.                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN apologized to Susan Schrader for the long wait and           
 thanked everyone for their expeditious testimony.                             
 Number 1366                                                                   
 SUSAN SCHRADER, Executive Director, Alaska Environmental Lobby,               
 testified in opposition to HB 23.  She noted that the Alaska                  
 Environmental Lobby, a coalition of 22 environmental groups,                  
 represented more than 10,000 Alaskans.  She concurred with many               
 comments already made concerning people's opposition to HB 23.                
 MS. SCHRADER said, "We have over a 100 million acres in this state            
 of state land.  I see absolutely no reason why, with some effort              
 and some careful negotiation between the user groups, we cannot               
 resolve a lot of these issues.  Unfortunately, this bill does                 
 absolutely nothing to help the resolution of the conflict between             
 motorized and nonmotorized users.  In fact, this bill will make it            
 even more difficult and really put a damper on the dialogue that              
 many groups, particularly in the Anchorage area, are trying to                
 start between the varying interest groups."                                   
 MS. SCHRADER expressed concern about taking away responsibility for           
 land management from DNR.  "Whether we want to call them                      
 bureaucrats or not, they are professionals," she stated.  "They are           
 trained in habitat and conservation issues.  They have a mandate to           
 protect our natural resources."                                               
 MS. SCHRADER said unfortunately, motorized access modes had a much            
 lengthier history of negative impact on natural resources than did            
 nonmotorized uses.  "And to take that ability to monitor and to               
 enforce ... and give it to the legislature, and take it out of the            
 hands of the professionals at DNR, I think is a very large                    
 mistake," she concluded.                                                      
 Number 1488                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN advised that the committee would meet next on                
 Tuesday, January 28, to hear HCR 1, the natural gas pipeline                  
 resolution.  He thanked committee members and the public for their            
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN adjourned the House Resources Committee meeting at           
 3:01 p.m.                                                                     

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