• 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

  • News

    2 vehicles sink on Chena River ice stretch

    by Associated Press on Dec 21, 13:06

    At least two vehicles recently sank into the Chena River on a section long used as an ice-covered shortcut between Airport Way and Chena Small Tracts Road. Bob Weaver, the owner of Ron’s Towing, said a rented SUV driven by an out-of-state motorist sank Dec. 15 after making a left turn onto the river from […]

  • Sports

    Iditarod Trail Committee names Philip Esai 2015 Honorary Musher

    by KTVA Sports on Dec 21, 12:41

    The Iditarod Trail Committee has bestowed an honor on one of its most dedicated volunteers. Philip Esai, who passed away earlier this year, has been named the 2015 Honorary Musher. Each year, the committee honors one or more people who have made a significant contribution to the sport of sled dog racing. Esai and his […]

  • Crime

    2 arrested in connection with $30K stolen from Alaska fish hatchery

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 20, 18:39

    Two Palmer men are in custody in connection with a burglary that occurred at an Alaskan fish hatchery last month. On Nov. 8, Alaska State Troopers were notified that $30,000 worth of steel, aluminum and copper had been stolen from the Eklutna Tailrace fish hatchery. The suspects also caused approximately $30,000 worth of damage by “cutting through walls […]

  • News

    Last call to get Christmas gifts in the mail

    by Shannon Ballard on Dec 20, 17:07

    The Saturday before Christmas is one of the busiest mailing days of the year — and for good reason. If gifters want to make sure their cards, presents and parcels arrive by Dec. 25, the deadline to send mail first-class or priority is today. “With our transportation network that we have, a lot of our priority […]

  • News

    Anchorage libraries get new self-checkout machines

    by Sierra Starks, Shannon Ballard on Dec 20, 16:24

    Anchorage Public Library is unveiling a new addition to its branch locations. Libraries around Anchorage debuted new self-service checkout machines last week. Z. J. Loussac Public Library launched their new machines Friday. On Saturday, library-goers could be seen testing out the touchscreen feature, returning books and DVDs and checking their account balances. Stacia McGourty, a reference and […]

  • News

    Man fatally struck, trapped under vehicle near downtown Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 20, 14:58

    A man is dead after a pedestrian-involved crash near downtown Anchorage that occurred early Saturday morning. At around 2:30 a.m., police and medics responded to the collision near the 1400 block of 12th Avenue. The 911 caller stated that a man delivering newspapers had struck a pedestrian, according to a statement from the Anchorage Police Department. […]

  • News

    Coast Guard rescues stranded Alaska hunter

    by Associated Press on Dec 20, 12:08

    The U.S. Coast Guard has rescued a hunter who was stranded on Chicagof Island in Alaska after he was separated from his hunting party. Rescuers in Juneau were alerted that there was a hunter in distress on the nearby island. They launched a helicopter crew to find him in the dark of night. The hunter […]

  • Sports

    Day 2: T-Bird Classic, Cougar Tip-Off

    by KTVA Sports on Dec 20, 11:52

    Day 2 of the T-Bird Classic brought a hot start for the Bears, whose girls won, 51-14, against Eagle River. A bomb threat briefly placed East High School on lockdown and the game was delayed. Kodiak’s Dannika Catt called the long delay at halftime “awkward at first.” “Because we didn’t know if we were still going […]