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Portions of refuge opened to snowmachine use

Posted: Friday, December 19, 2003

Portions of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge have been opened to the use of snowmachines, subject to refuge-specific regulations.

More than half of the refuge is traditionally opened to snowmachining. Areas that remain closed include the area around refuge headquarters on Ski Hill Road, areas above timberline except in the Caribou Hills, most areas in the canoe systems and within Skilak Loop Special Management Area, and any maintained roads within the refuge.

New snowmachine users not familiar with refuge regulations and closed areas are encouraged to stop by refuge headquarters or call 262-7021 for a map and a list of regulations.

Refuge manager Robin West cautioned that although adequate snow conditions exist in most areas to protect underlying vegetation and soils, many areas have some vegetation not yet covered by snow, and many bodies of water on the refuge have yet to freeze sufficiently to allow safe travel. Snowmachiners should take care to avoid partially exposed bushes, stumps and rocks, and should avoid most lakes and streams until colder weather properly freezes them.

Refuge users are reminded that while snowmachines may now be used in open areas, all-terrain vehicles are prohibited. Also, the use of snowmachines for racing, harassment of wildlife or knowingly destroying habitat is prohibited.

Areas will remain open until April 30 unless conditions change, requiring and earlier closure.

For more information, contact the refuge by phone at 262-7021, by fax at 262-3599 or visit the Web site at www.r7.fws.gov/nwr/kenai/kennwr.



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