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Senate Passes Bill to Ensure Continued Access to Goldstream Public Use Area

SB 195 Will Continue Access to Popular Recreation Area Near Fairbanks

(JUNEAU) – The Alaska State Senate today unanimously passed Senate Bill 195, which permanently establishes the Goldstream Public Use Area and Interior Alaskans’ continued access to outdoor recreation.

“The Goldstream Public Use Area includes miles of trails, and is used by Fairbanksans for all manner of outdoor activities,” said Senator Joe Thomas, (D-Fairbanks) sponsor of SB 195.  “Families have been using this area for decades and now we are one step closer to ensuring they will be able to use it for decades more.”

Encompassing a patchwork of nearly 2000 acres of state land north of Fairbanks, the Goldstream Public Use Area (GPUA) was created in 1990 in order to preserve recreational opportunities, traditional uses and the atmosphere of local neighborhoods The original bill created the GPUA for a twenty-year period, which ends on July 1st, 2010.  SB 195 removes this sunset, meaning the GPUA will continue in perpetuity.

The GPUA is home to an ever-growing network of trails that connect users to the Chatanika River Valley, the White Mountains National Recreation Area and the Fairbanks trail system, all from a central location close to Fairbanks’ population base. The GPUA is passively managed by the state and the trails are maintained by volunteers at no cost to taxpayers. All uses are allowed in the area and the GPUA is utilized year-round by a variety of outdoor enthusiasts.

A variety of groups came together in support of SB 195, including the Alaska Outdoor Council, Alaska Dog Mushing Association, Alaska Miners Association, Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks, Alaska Trapper’s Association, Skijoring and Pulk Association, Fairbanks Snow Travelers, Northern Area State Parks Advisory Board, Fairbanks North Star Borough Trails Advisory Board, Alaska Trails, Interior Trails Preservation Coalition, Interior Alaska Land Trust, Arctic Audubon Society, and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Additionally, nearly 100 individuals have written letters of support.

“I’m pleased with the broad support this bill has received from our community and now from the Alaska State Senate as well,” said Senator Thomas.  “It shows how important and popular the Goldstream area is to our entire town.”

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