Skiers at the Talkeetna Lakes cross country ski trail were surprised to encounter by a man walking down the middle of the trail with a shouldered hunting rifle on Saturday. Several individuals reported separate incidents of tense interactions when they asked that he not walk on the groomed ski trail, and used the hiking trail around the lake instead. The man insisted that the trail was borough property, and that as a tax-payer he would walk where he liked.
The Talkeetna Lakes Park is publicly owned recreational area, just over one-thousand acres in size. Borough representatives declined to comment at the time of this story, but language in the Talkeetna Lakes Park Management Plan, which is viewable on the Borough’s Website, specifies which uses are acceptable on the trails in the park. The 14-foot wide, 5 kilometer route is a general-use, non-motorized trail in the summer time, but the trail was designed for groomed Nordic skiing uses in the winter.
Denali Nordic Ski Club member Chris Mannix says the trail is maintained almost entirely with volunteer hours to provide one of the only groomed skiing-only trails, and for skate and classic skiers.
[audio:http://ktna.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/1Trail50.mp3|titles=1Trail50]Clip: Trail1 – 50 Seconds
Outcue “… Volunteers of the Denali Nordic Ski Club”
The Borough has not yet obtained proper signage indicating the trail is specifically for Nordic skiing, but the Ski Club asks non-skiing users to utilize the many other trails and routes that are available for multi-use purposes like hiking, biking, walking the dog, and snow-shoeing.
Mannix adds that conflict of trail users can be kept to a minimum by all parties behaving in a courteous manner to one another.
[audio:http://ktna.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/2Trail20.mp3|titles=2Trail20]Clip – Trail2
20 seconds – outcue “… everybody have a good time.”