• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 15s

Ban on off-road vehicles passes Wasilla Planning Commission

By Kate McPherson Photojournalist: Andy Nitchman - 7:10 AM July 9, 2014

Off-road vehicles are one step closer to being illegal in Wasilla after the Planning Commission voted to ban them.

Following a public hearing on Tuesday night, four of the five commissioners voted in favor of the resolution to prohibit the use of off-road vehicles, including ATVs, dirt bikes and snow machines. Commissioner Loren Means cast the only opposing vote.

The matter now goes before City Council on July 28. Mayor Verne Rupright is reluctantly in support of the ban.

“If people would just use the trails that have been on that books for 15 years we wouldn’t be here discussing this,” the mayor said during the public hearing.

Rupright helped to establish the 1999 Trails Plan that allows off-road vehicles to travel in city limits. These corridors include Lucille Street, Knik-Goose Bay Road and the Parks Highway.

“There seems to be a belief that you can ride anywhere,” said Rupright, who believes an outright ban is the only way forward for the city because too many people are breaking the laws and not sticking to the designated trails.

But it’s a contentious issue because many valley residents use the Wasilla trails to get around town.

“Wasilla is in a rural area so there’s a lot of people who don’t have a vehicle that drives on the highway,” said Thomas Hannan of Alaska Toy Rentals.

Hannan’s business includes ATV tours that leave from his Wasilla shop. If the ban becomes law, he says he’ll lose money.

Todd Ferguson at House of Power says his business won’t be directly impacted, but he knows residents who will have a hard time

“Fifty percent of our customers use their ATVs locally in the city limits to get to work,” Ferguson said.

Wasilla police have received 248 complaints in two years from residents. But many opponents of the ban say it’s a small number of people doing the wrong thing and making everyone else look bad.

“Everyone is pretty upset about it,” said local Lee Pomelow. “Everyone wants to get out riding, get out and have fun, I thought that’s what Alaska was all about when I moved up here.”

Opponents of the ban say they would like to see other options explored before making the use of off-road vehicles illegal. Suggestions include better trail signage and educating children about the laws at a young age. More intense policing of unruly users was also suggested as a solution.

But some residents question whether police can handle the workload and enforcement.

“I’m tired of the noise, I’m tired of the lack of respect that people have for property that they ride over and tear up,” said local Roy West during his testimony Tuesday night.

Latest Stories

  • Sports

    Chugiak avenges loss, beats Kenai in title game

    by KTVA Sports on Aug 02, 12:23

    It took a loss to Kenai in the first game of a double-elimination title series to spark the Chugiak Mustangs to a 6-0 win over the Twins in the Alaska Legion state tournament. Kenai, who lost in the first round to South on July 28, won four elimination games in a row to rise out […]

  • Sports

    Heads Up: Alaska coaches get certified in concussion safety program

    by KTVA Sports on Aug 02, 11:46

    Keegan Baker loves to play tackle football. “You get to tackle people,” said Keegan, who plays tight end for the Chugiak Mustangs U-10 team that took part in the annual Football Jamboree, hosted by Alaska Boys and Girls Clubs. Keegan has played tackle football for the last two years, and injuries are the farthest thing from […]

  • Sports

    Yukon Quest purse announced; officials will offer at least $115,000

    by Associated Press on Aug 02, 11:16

    Race officials will offer at least $115,000 to the winner of the 2016 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (http://bit.ly/1IxH2n4 ) that race officials announced the purse on Friday. Last year’s purse was $127,110, including $12,110 left over from the 2014 race. Fundraisers and sponsorships help fill out the purse. […]

  • News

    2nd annual ‘Stop the Violence’ block party: ‘We all can play a role’

    by Eric Ruble on Aug 01, 19:02

    The group We Are Anchorage hosted a block party in the parking lot of the Northway Mall on Saturday. The event, called “Stop the Violence,” aimed to gather people from across the city to take action against the recent violent crimes involving Anchorage’s youth. “It doesn’t matter what you look like, what part of town […]

  • Weather

    Weekend weather forecast, Aug. 1

    by KTVA Weather on Aug 01, 18:50

    Anchorage Expect plenty of sunshine on tap for the weekend as high pressure is in control of our weather pattern. This will leave our temperatures well above normal into the low 70s. Kenai Peninsula & Prince William Sound Mostly sunny skies with a few clouds from time to time will be the weather story for […]

  • Lifestyle

    Web Extra: An inside look at Alaska’s renewable island

    by Hope Miller on Aug 01, 12:23

    Planted on Pillar Mountain, Kodiak’s six wind turbines are a fixture in the community. At 80 meters tall each — a bit smaller than a football field — they perch above the town and serve as a symbol for the area’s movement toward renewable energy. In fact, Kodiak Electric Association — which serves the City of […]

  • Sports

    Palmer golfer takes bronze at Special Olympics World Games

    by Megan Mazurek on Aug 01, 12:05

    A golfer from Palmer is a bronze medal winner at the Special Olympics World Games. Garrett Stortz, 24, played in four 18-rounds of golf at Griffith Park. Stortz is a level 5 golfer and improved his personal best every day of play throughout the competition. It was something his coach, Scott Johnson, always knew was […]

  • News

    UPDATE: Playground fire at Alpenglow Elementary considered suspicious

    by Sierra Starks on Aug 01, 11:33

    Two months after a playground fire at a South Anchorage elementary school, the Anchorage School District is reporting another playground destroyed by flames. Crews responded to the fire on the Alpenglow Elementary School grounds just after 8:30 a.m. Saturday, according to the Anchorage Fire Department dispatch. Photos released by the Anchorage School District show charring […]