Effort looks at trapping rules in other towns
The Haines Borough Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee is moving forward with plans to regulate trapping in the townsite and will start by researching high-use areas where trappers and recreationists tend to collide.
Ron Jackson, vice chair of the committee, said the group is trying to stimulate discussion about areas that might need protection from trapping. Jackson said communities like Juneau, Valdez, and Seward address the issue differently.
Seward enforces a blanket ban on trapping in its townsite, while Valdez allows it within city limits under certain conditions.
“There’s a bunch of exceptions that basically make it really tough. You have to have attended a trapping safety course, you have to have a license from the city which the chief of police administers. So it’s a fairly well-controlled thing. Certain areas you can only use snares as opposed to traps,” Jackson told the Government Affairs and Services Committee on May 23.
Juneau also restricts trapping in city limits by instituting a buffer zone around specific trails and parks where trappers and recreationists frequently overlap, Jackson said.
Jackson recently ordered an instructional video to show both user groups. It demonstrates how to properly set traps, how to dislodge pets accidentally caught and other information.
Government Affairs and Services Committee member Norm Smith said he thinks tackling the issue could cause controversy. “I bet you’re going to open up a can of worms. There’s going to be some people, ‘You can’t do that. I’ve been doing that for 30 years.’”
Committee chair Steve Vick said while some people will be upset by rules, they are implemented for a reason. “People don’t like regulations; I understand that. But why do we have speed zones in front of schools? Because we’re there to protect children,” he said.
Several dogs have been caught in traps after wandering off-trail around Lily Lake, Vick said. Judy Ewald’s dog was caught around the neck this winter, and Vick’s own dog was caught in the same area – near Lily Lake – several years ago.
Jackson said he hopes discussion will generate a compromise, possibly in the form of an ordinance, before trapping season starts up in November.
Fish and Game biologist Rich Chapell said in 2012, 39 trapping licenses were sold to licensees with a Haines zip code. In the same year, Haines license vendors sold 110 trapping licenses, he said.
Alaska residents 60 and older who hold permanent combination hunting/fishing/trapping licenses can also trap, but it’s impossible to know how many of those holders are actually trappers, Chapell said.