Areas closed to snowmachining can be seen in this graphic provided by the Chugach National Forest. (Courtesy image)

Areas closed to snowmachining can be seen in this graphic provided by the Chugach National Forest. (Courtesy image)

Snowmachiners barred from some public lands

The closure order is due to inadequate snow conditions and is an effort to prevent resource damage.

Snowmachiners may need to take notice of recent closures and openings within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and the Chugach National Forest before setting out on a winter adventure.

In a Friday press release, the Chugach National Forest announced an emergency closure to snowmachiners in certain areas within the forest, including the Seward and Glacier Ranger Districts of the Chugach National Forest, which are areas near the towns of Seward, Cooper Landing, Moose Pass, Whittier and Girdwood.

The closure order, in effect until April 30 unless rescinded sooner, is due to inadequate snow conditions and is an effort to prevent resource damage. The emergency closure prohibits anyone from operating or possessing a snowmachine in the areas closed.

Residents looking to get outside and snowmachine can look to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. On Friday, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge announced partial openings within the public lands to snowmachiners, a press release from the U.S. Department of the Interior said.

All areas of the refuge traditionally were opened to snowmachining lying north of the Kasilof River and Tustumena Lake on Saturday. However, some portions of this area will be closed, including Swan Lake and the Swanson River Canoe Systems and all areas above timberline. Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area is also closed off to snowmachiners, with the exception of Hidden Lake, Kelly Lake, Petersen Lake and Engineer Lake, which are open to provide snowmachine access for ice fishing pending sufficient ice.

The southern portion of the refuge, including the Caribou Hills, remains closed to snowmachining due to a lack of adequate snow cover.

Snowmachiners are encouraged to exercise caution, especially when traveling around lakes, rivers and streams, which may not be sufficiently frozen. In areas of inadequate snow accumulation, recreators should be aware of rocks and tree stump hazards.

For more information, contact Refuge Headquarters at 907-262-7021.

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