Knowles vetoes coastal trail planning bill

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- Gov. Tony Knowles vetoed a bill Friday that would have given the Legislature the final word on extending the Anchorage coastal trail named for the governor through a wildlife refuge.

The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail runs about 11 miles from Second Avenue in downtown Anchorage to Kincaid Park. The Municipality of Anchorage and the state are considering an extension through the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge to Potter Marsh.

In vetoing the bill, Knowles called the legislation an unwarranted intrusion in the ongoing planning process of the trail. Knowles vetoed a similar bill in 1999.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Joe Green, R-Anchorage, who could not be reached for comment Friday. The bill would have required legislative approval for any right of way through the refuge.

Critics and some homeowners who live along the bluff above the refuge say a trail through the refuge would destroy the saltwater marsh and disrupt valuable bird and animal habitat.

The refuge is a nesting area for sandhill cranes and a staging area for migratory birds such as snow geese, shorebirds and ducks.

As mayor of Anchorage from 1981 through 1987, Knowles championed construction of the existing trail. It was named for him days before he left office.

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