Winter Fortymile caribou hunters get new federal maps, easier identification of OHV routes
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Two new maps showing winter access points and legal off-highway vehicle (OHV) areas on federal public lands aim to help hunters be successful while preserving sensitive environmental areas near the Steese Highway during the upcoming State of Alaska Fortymile caribou hunt that begins Oct. 27.
Public lands have seen increasing numbers of visitors and hunters, who are important stewards of the land for future generations. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) paper and digital maps are part of a collaborative effort with other federal agencies, the State of Alaska, partners across the state, and the public to enhance the experiences and safety of everyone and protect areas vulnerable to damage.
Despite being closed to motorized use, more than a mile of the popular Pinnell Mountain National Recreation Trail just off the Steese Highway sustained significant damage by OHVs during the fall federal subsistence and State hunts for Fortymile caribou earlier this year.
“These maps will help hunters and increase the safety of all visitors enjoying these remote public lands,” said BLM Fairbanks District Manager Geoff Beyersdorf. “Being prepared with these new tools also helps ensure law enforcement rangers are available for critical search and rescue or medical responses.”
One map covers the entire Game Management Unit 25C while the other map focuses on the area around Pinnell Mountain National Recreation Trail (which follows a 100-foot-wide right-of-way closed to motorized use).
The maps are available at BLM public rooms around the state, as well as from Alaska Department of Fish and Game offices. Digital versions of the maps show a user’s location on smart phones or tablets even without cell coverage. Digital maps can be downloaded from BLM’s website at www.blm.gov/maps/georeferenced-PDFs. Ensure the maps are downloaded before leaving cell phone range.
“We encourage the public to use public lands, but we also remind everyone that these lands are yours to be used now and into the future,” Beyersdorf said. “Everyone has a role in ensuring their appropriate use.”
The BLM welcomes public input for ideas on developing best management practices to prevent future resource damage. One avenue for providing input is to become involved with BLM’s travel management plans to develop a responsible course for future access to public lands. For more information or to provide input, visit www.blm.gov/programs/planning-and-nepa/plans-in-development/alaska/eastern-interior-travel-plans or contact Eastern Interior Assistant Field Manager Levi Lewellyn (firstname.lastname@example.org; 907-474-2344).
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