• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
News Alert: Latest updates on McHugh Fire - Read More
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

    Restaurant suspends Chena River golf game after complaint

    by Associated Press on Jul 25, 13:44

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – A complaint about river pollution has led to the suspension of a popular golf game at a Fairbanks restaurant. Pike’s Landing is no longer letting patrons try to hit golf balls across the Chena River. Environmental activist Rick Steiner asked the state Department of Environmental Conservation to investigate the game because […]

  • Lifestyle

    Alaska officials investigate Bethel area salmonella outbreak

    by Associated Press on Jul 25, 13:00

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Alaska officials have collected samples from a Bethel facility that serves food, following a salmonella outbreak that sickened six people in the region. State health and environmental representatives were in Bethel late last week to interview the five locals and another person from an outlying village who became ill between July […]

  • Crime

    APD responds to man barricaded in Russian Jack apartment

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 25, 12:46

    A man with a warrant has barricaded himself inside an East Anchorage apartment as police try to negotiate with him, according to the Anchorage Police Department. APD spokesperson Anita Shall could provide few additional details, but said that the man has been barricaded inside of the residences, at the 4600 block of Reka Dive, since […]

  • Politics

    Some Alaska Sanders delegates to support Clinton in November

    by Associated Press on Jul 25, 12:45

    Last updated at 1:23 p.m. on Monday, July 25 JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The Latest on Alaska delegates at the Democratic national convention: A spokesman for the Alaska Democratic party says the party did not have any plants among Bernie Sanders’ supporters ahead of an event earlier this year with Democratic National Committee chair Debbie […]

  • Lifestyle

    US launches system to keep drones away from wildfires

    by Keith Ridler / AP on Jul 25, 12:09

    Federal authorities say they’ve launched the first national system intended to prevent hobby drones from interfering with planes and helicopters fighting wildfires. The U.S. Interior Department announced the kickoff of the pilot project Monday. It uses smartphone apps already on the market to quickly alert drone fliers to temporary flight restrictions over wildfires. Officials say […]

  • News

    Hundreds gather to bury final slain Baton Rouge officer

    by CBS/AP on Jul 25, 11:45

    BATON ROUGE, La. - Hundreds of law enforcement officers from around the country streamed past the casket Monday of a slain Baton Rouge police officer, some solemnly saluting and others making the sign of the cross as they paid their respects and mourned one of their own. There were so many people who tried to attend […]

  • DayBreak

    Story Time w/ Aunt Phil: William Seward’s Alaska arrival

    by Daybreak Staff on Jul 25, 11:43

    This week in 1869, William Seward arrived in Alaska for the first time. His trip came two years after negotiating its purchase from Russia. Author Laurel Downing Bill told Daybreak about the former secretary of state and his love of Alaska Native people and their art. She also recounts the tale of how Seward almost […]

  • News

    McHugh Fire 35 percent contained, 778 acres burning

    by KTVA 11 News on Jul 25, 11:06

      Lower 48 Hotshot crews are expected to head out of Alaska Tuesday, to fight higher priority wildfires in California, after progress was made on the McHugh Fire over the weekend, incident commander Tom Kurth said during a Monday morning press briefing. According to Kurth, the fire burning just south of Anchorage is 35 percent […]