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Susitna Matanuska Area Plan Adopted

by Sue Deyoe ~ August 26th, 2011

The adopted plan is now available.  It establishes land use designations and management guidelines for the area north of Wasilla and south of Trapper Creek.  DNR recently held a public meeting to discuss the plan and answer questions about the changes made since the draft plan.

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The Susitna Matanuska Area Plan had not seen a revision since the1985 Susitna Area Plan was adopted..  Last spring,  a draft revised plan went through public comment.  Dozens of comments were received and DNR officials made some slight revisions to the plan in light of those comments.

The newly revised plan has been adopted and a 20 day period is being provided for reconsideration.

Ray Burger is a planner with DNR and has seen the process through its entirety. He said there were one or 2 significant changes in the plan…

“We took the settlement area around Swan Lake and changed it to Habitat/recreation land use designation”

There have also been some changes to river corridors. “The major rivers we boosted up and they now have a 300 foot buffer…like Peters Creek, the Yentna and Kahiltna.”

The plan encompasses much of Mat Su Borough land. It includes the area north of Denali State Park, west of the Parks Highway past Skwentna and the Yentna River, all the way across the Matanuska Valley Moose Range. 700,000 acres has been identified as potential new state forest, 700,000 acres are designated for settlement, Burger says that he hears at every meeting across the valley that people don’t want more settlement lands.  He says that won’t happen.

“Really what weve laid out is these are settlement areas and the land sales team can look at them.  Not all 700,000 will pass through to settlement. There is a 20 % cap over the next 20 years on those lands.”

Another addition to the plan is accepting the idea that in the future there may be a access across the Susitna river somewhere south of the current susitna river bridge to lands west. But Burger says its not DNR that makes that decision in the end..

“Its not really our area of expertise. Its DOT’s province.  The state DOES consider appropriate to put a bridge over the Susitna River. That bridge location would have to be determined by a lot of other factors.”

Burger gave a presentation at a public meeting in the Talkeetna area on Wednesday.

Comments on reconsideration need to be received by DNR by September 6th.

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