Clues on the origin of the wildfire in Chilkat State Park near Seduction Point won’t be coming from the Seduction Point Trail register.

The register – a log used to record use of the trail – was removed along with ones at Battery Point Trail, 7 Mile Trail and other locations – about four years ago.

For decades, registers kept in boxes at trailheads kept track of use of local trails. Hikers would sign in their names, hometown, date, the times of day they started on the trail and returned, and comments on their hike.

Comments often included wildlife sightings, including locations of bears. Once, in the late 1980s, they were used to help determine the origin of a mountain wildfire.

Former Haines ranger Joel Telford did away with the registers around 2006, he said via e-mail this week.

“I took out all of the Haines State Park trail registers a number of years ago when I was in Haines. They weren’t providing us with valid user statistics and were a maintenance issue, usually requiring weekly checking for paper, pens etc.,” Telford wrote.

Current ranger Preston Kroes said the registers seemed to disappear statewide.

He noted that signing the logs was voluntary and that their use as a count of hikers using trails was not necessarily accurate. In instances like last week’s fire, a register wouldn’t necessarily even lead to those who started the campfire there, as it may have been built by boaters who came ashore.

Regional parks superintendent Mike Eberhardt defended Telford’s decision.

“It’s not a reliable way of keeping track because it varies all the time. Basically they came to mean not a great deal. Even in an enforcement situation, it’s only going to tell you who was around,” Eberhardt said.

Veteran hiker Paul Swift maintains what’s apparently the valley’s final trail logbook, a notebook kept in an iron capsule on the summit of Mount Ripinsky.

Swift said this week he disagrees with the state’s decision and said there’s a use for the registers.

“A register may not be 100 percent accurate, but it sure gives you an indication” of trail use, Swift said.

As a record, the logs can be used to help bolster the case for funding trail maintenance, he said. Besides tipping off hikers to potential hazards like bears, they can be valuable information for would-be rescuers, he said. The register on top of Ripinsky helped make the case to prohibit motorized use at the mountain’s peak, he noted.

Swift said he’d like to see the registers come back, as they also helped bring together the brotherhood of hikers. “It’s nice to know who’s out there, what they’re doing and get a feel for the variety of where people are from.”