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Tsalteshi Trails damaged by trucks and snowmachine traffic

Posted: January 31, 2013 - 10:18pm  |  Updated: January 31, 2013 - 10:24pm

Tsalteshi Trails groomers spent all day Wednesday and Thursday repairing vandalized cross-country ski trails, said Bill Holt, trail maintenance manager.

Tuesday night a truck drove onto the trails behind Skyview High School and got stuck, and Wednesday night a snowmachine spun doughnuts in the soccer field, drove up the sledding hill and tore up the trails, Holt said.

“It’s kind of surprising that people would be so thoughtless,” Skyview ski coach Kent Peterson said. “It’s just surprising that people would take a joyride on a world-class (trail) system.”

Holt and two other groomers spent eight extra hours Wednesday and Holt spent all day Thursday regrooming the trails, Holt said. He said they are now in good shape for the She Can Ski race Sunday.

Holt said he does not yet know the identities of the people and the police are not yet involved.

About three times a year Tsalteshi Trails has problems with “jerks on snowmachines,” Holt said.

“A lot of people, when they get out there, half the time it’s by mistake and they try to get out of there as soon as they realize,” Holt said.

But not these people, he said. “They were out there screwing around,” he said.

Tuesday night someone drove a truck through open gates behind the high school and onto about 2.5 kilometers — or 1.5 miles — of freshly-groomed trails, spinning several doughnuts before getting stuck, Holt said.

Once stuck, the driver called friends for help, he said. The driver’s friends came in another truck and a snowmachine and brought fast food and soft drinks, which they dumped on the trails, he said.

In the process of removing the first vehicle, he said he suspects they got stuck two or three more times, judging from the deep ruts left in the Moose, Weasel and Wolf trails.

Before leaving, they spun more doughnuts on the trails, he said.

“If they would have gone on around the whole trail system it would have been terrible,” he said.

A neighbor told Holt that the vandals left at 7 a.m., he said.

Then, Wednesday at about 8 p.m., after Holt and his crews had repaired the trails, a snowmachiner slipped through a gap in the fence, ripped up the soccer field, drove up the sledding hill and onto the same trails, he said.

“It makes my job harder, and it causes horrible stress, too,” Holt said.

He said he heard about the snowmachiner that night and almost went out at midnight to groom the damaged trails.

Between the Tuesday and Wednesday night incidents, he said he was worried the ruts left in the trails would freeze during the night and be difficult to fill in with snow.

“But we got lucky each time,” he said. Without the recent snow storms, he said he would have been unable to repair the damages. “We would have been in real trouble,” he said.

Tsalteshi Trails asks anyone who has information about the two incidents to email them at tsalteshi@yahoo.com.

 

Dan Schwartz can be reached at daniel.schwartz@peninsulaclarion.com.

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Allen
596
Points
Allen 02/01/13 - 03:58 pm
3
2
Not Surprising At All

It's not surprising to me. All over the Peninsula, motorheads frequently ignore closed signs and destroy trails and wetlands, turning everything into an ugly scarred landscape. Businesses do it too: last winter Buccaneer Energy drove all over the sensitive Kenai River wetlands and left giant ruts everywhere. Put people on snow tires, a snowmachine or ATV, and some of them can't seem to stop their urge to trespass and destroy our lands for "fun" or profit.

Our weak local and state governments allow it to happen, and make no effort to enforce the few weak laws that are on the books.

coolbreeze99672
49
Points
coolbreeze99672 02/01/13 - 09:16 pm
3
2
People like this should be

People like this should be taught a lesson with a baseball bat upside the head. Put a knob on their head big enough to pitch off of.

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 02/01/13 - 10:50 pm
3
2
Very Well Said Allen

Many people in this area totally disrespect private and public property. The parents don't teach their kids any respect for the great natural resources in Alaska. Just look at the parents out riding 4-wheelers with their kids in March/April; teaching them that it is okay to ride along the road right-of-ways and across wetlands and private property causing huge ruts and mud holes. They think this is fun.

Law enforcement is almost useless in this area and won't do anything if you call them. I guess they are afraid of the parents........and kids.

spwright
1376
Points
spwright 02/02/13 - 08:53 am
3
0
Private Property

After decades of SnowMachines blasting thru my yard @ all hours of the day & night & coming within 3 ft of my bedroom
window.

I was forced to install a Orange Safety Fence at each end of my property witn No Trespassing signs boldly displayed on that fence.

It Worked. No One has Trespassed onto my property this Winter.

Yes that fence is butt ugly but I had no other choice.

Saw a neighbor with his Child setting on his lap No Helmet
pulling a child on a snow board No Helmet nor was the Driver wearing a helmet screaming at very high speed down our local gravel road. The term Dumb & Dumber comes to mind.

SPW

bigtalkahh
184
Points
bigtalkahh 02/02/13 - 09:17 am
0
3
More Laws?

We already have too many frivolous laws. Cops can't catch a sled or atv unless they are on one themselves. In most cases, when a complaint comes in, it is somebody doing just that... complaining. Laws don't need to be broken for the whiners to complain. They will complain even when no laws are broken. I ski and use Tsalteshi, honor all the rules and don't like it when others don't. Allen: Buccaneer has been doing a good job out there locating resourses that we will need in the future.

bigtalkahh
184
Points
bigtalkahh 02/02/13 - 09:29 am
0
4
Ugly Fence

I hope your orange safety fence is all on your private property. Where is law enforcement when some idiot puts a fence across a right-of-way? I view those as easy winning law suits for anyone who runs into one and I have considered doing just that!

Suss
3286
Points
Suss 02/02/13 - 09:31 am
4
0
Cameras at local Hardware

I bought my game trail camera at Trustworthy. Lithium AA Batteries are a must unless you have access to electical power. No flash is needed, stills or video, you select the options.The cameras are getting smaller and smarter every year. Good luck on the hunt for the off roading vandals.

spwright
1376
Points
spwright 02/02/13 - 09:33 am
3
0
More Laws ?

Nothing was spoken about More Laws ? Just about installing
digital cameras to provide visual evidence of a crime committed.
Yes You are correct. These SnowMachiners are very difficult to identify. They all wear the same helmets & clothing & the machines are very similar. Therefore the Need for Digital Cameras to provide evidence. Smile for the Camera.

As for Whiners : How about YOU spending days grooming ski trails only to have that work torn apart by some selfish local AzzHole.
SPW

jlmh
351
Points
jlmh 02/02/13 - 01:12 pm
1
0
Right across the highway from

Right across the highway from the Tsalteshi trails are the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge trails. Are they having this problem too? I haven't heard of it. What are they doing differently?

pamelita
18
Points
pamelita 02/02/13 - 06:12 pm
0
0
Kenai Refuge

The Kenai Refuge has posted no snowmachine signs at the bottom of the hill. Also, in all the news releases for the opening of snowmachine use on the refuge they specifically state that Ski Hill Road is off limits. It doesn't hurt that law enforcement is present up there at all hours of the day and night...

JOAT
487
Points
JOAT 02/02/13 - 10:03 pm
3
4
Typical of the ski-elite

I love to XC ski, but I can't stand most skiers. I also ride snowmachines and have found that the majority of us "motor heads" are very civil and respectful people. Of course there are one or two knuckleheads out there, but that goes with all walks of life. The elitist attitude of what I've found to be the majority of skiers really stinks. You guys are wound up so tight that it is frightening. Really? You want to bash in the head of a kid on a snowmachine with a baseball bat? You sir, need to be locked up in a mental health facility until you learn some empathy for your fellow human. I'd hate to see what you'd do to those kids if you had a gun with you.

If you could employ a little logic here, you might find solutions rather than a bemoaning hate fest. First off, you have kids who don't have respect for public property or authority. Why? Parenting and schooling. We've dropped all teaching of morality and personal responsibility from our lives. You reap what was sown. This is the underlying problem with most of society's ills. You can't fix it by banning snowmachines and guns. You have to start by teaching the kids, and most of them are not being taught right from wrong.

The area of these trails is NOT clearly marked as a no motorized vehicle area. It is very easy to keep snowmachines out of an area with simple fences and lots of signs. There is almost no police presence on Ski Hill road, so that isn't the solution. It is the signs and occasional patrol by the KNWR rangers that keep the public out of their public property. Go around the perimeter of the trail property and place simple no motorized vehicle signs. Find all access trails that connect to motorized areas and block them with natural barriers (felled trees) or erect fences.

Look at Turnagain Pass as another example. The right side is off limits to snowmachines. We all know it because that is communicated to the public at large through many channels and they have posted no snowmachine signs every 100 yards on the highway frontage through the whole area. No one even tries to ride the right on a sled. How much public education is being done about the Tsalteshi trails? I've heard of nothing (excluding this article).

TheKenaiKid
126
Points
TheKenaiKid 02/05/13 - 08:43 am
1
1
JOAT

You're on the wrong comment board. There's no place for common sense here.

Offcenter
42
Points
Offcenter 02/06/13 - 03:17 pm
1
0
JOAT

The problem wasn't snow machines on the trails. I've talked with the groomers, and they say that happens all the time and it's not a problem. Generally speaking, when snow machiners inadvertently gets on the trails, they'll slow down and carefully get back off the trails, causing minimal (if any) damage. No big deal. This was a case of someone (or several someones) who _knew_ where they were and wantonly and deliberately tore up the trails. They came in through the school parking lot and tore up the practice field. This was NOT a "lost" snow machiner. That has nothing to do with skiers being "elite" and does have a tendency to make people angry, especially the second time it happens.

Suss
3286
Points
Suss 02/06/13 - 04:51 pm
0
1
Not Lost, just angry

"Tuesday night a truck drove onto the trails behind Skyview High School and got stuck, and Wednesday night a snowmachine spun doughnuts in the soccer field, drove up the sledding hill and tore up the trails", there was no getting lost, no accidentally finding you made a wrong turn. Whoever did this is not a nice person and probably thinks like JOAT does "I love to XC ski, but I can't stand most skiers" with that mindset it is possible to act out your "dislike" for a group and their hard work to create a wonderful program for a healthier community. No excuses, no justifying, this is wrong.

alaskanblacklab
7
Points
alaskanblacklab 02/07/13 - 02:50 am
1
0
Meh.

I tried skies once.

I tried snowmobiling. Liked it until the price of gas outweighed the stress relief factor. I sold my machines shortly after.

Thing is,the 2 hobbies are nice and they use a resource that comes back..snow.

All of my friends that ride snowmachines,they prefer the Hills (never been..figured it wasn't worth it because the Gas Field is closer to home)

Of the course the downside to any activity,you are bound to run into people that treat it with disrespect. cars/trucks,guns,four wheelers,skiers,snowmachiners,people at the skating rink,runners..we all the capability to be an _ss. Some of us choose not to.

Violence isn't the answer..if an honest mistake was made,and you wanted to rectify it with a baseball bat,I'd watch out,a lot of the riders carry concealed.
You threaten someone's kid,they may just shoot you..even if you were just posturing.

EliseLowery
5
Points
EliseLowery 02/09/13 - 02:06 am
1
0
Oh for Heavens sake people...

Get a grip. It's not law enforcement, political or their deprived of recreational area's. . It's the dang people who felt that having fun was destroying what someone else worked hard at and earned the privilege of using. You can hold the parents responsible should they be adolescents, but why? The guilty ones would never learn that they have to dance to their music.
At home is where it begins. And I wouldn't expect the parents to step in and bail their kid out of jail or juvenile. They should be left where they are, let them deal with what they did, and make them feel like it's their problem, not yours. Once you make people responsible for their actions, they will learn eventually that they might considering thinking not only about others, but the "what ifs" I get caught. Will it be worth it? Most won't know. They aren't punished the first offense so they got away with it.
It's a shame that vandalism is someones idea of a good time. How sad I am for those persons. Life will be hard for them!
They are my idea of trailer trash!

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