Kenai Peninsula managers keep trails closed to snowmachines

Posted: Sunday, December 03, 2000

KENAI (AP) -- Minimal snowfall will keep trails closed to Kenai Peninsula snowmachiners in the Chugach National Forest and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Trails were to open Friday but managers ordered them off limits until further notice.

Refuge Manager Robin West said it's not uncommon for a lack of snow to delay the opening. The refuge had enough snow to open Dec. 1 in just eight of the last 25 years, West said, and for two of those years, 1980 and 1985, a lack of snow kept the refuge closed for the entire season.

West said adequate snow depth of feet, not inches, is needed to cover vegetation and terrain on the more traveled routes.

Pat O'Leary, a U.S. Forest Service recreation planner in the Seward Ranger District, said the closure in the Chugach was an effort to protect resources in the lower areas of the forest.

In the popular Turnagain Pass recreation area, Girdwood district recreation planner Doug Blanc said Thursday only a foot of snow had accumulated near pullouts along the Seward Highway.

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