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New Togiak Refuge Public Use Management Plan Announced

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska Region announced today the
decision to implement a new Public Use Management Plan (PUMP) for Togiak
National Wildlife Refuge. The purpose of the new plan is to ensure that
management of the refuge’s resources, including wilderness attributes,
considers up-to-date information and changing public use of the Refuge.
This is the first major revision of the refuge’s PUMP since 1991. The
issues addressed in this revision were identified through a review of the
1991 Public Use Management Plan in conjunction with responses to planning
updates, public meetings, and the input of core planning team members. The
core planning team included representatives of local tribes and the State
of Alaska, along with Togiak Refuge staff. The team developed five
alternative approaches to revising the 1991 Plan. The alternatives were
designed to meet Refuge goals, respond to identified issues, and encompass
a range of options for addressing each issue.


The selected alternative continues many of the policies included in the
1991 plan, with some significant changes. The State of Alaska does not
agree with all components of the selected alternative. In most cases, these
changes are not in the form of regulations, but rather indicate a decision
to craft regulations, all of which would be developed through a process
allowing ample opportunities for public input. Significant changes to be
implemented in the selected alternative include the following:

To minimize the potential for wildlife disturbance as more people and
aircraft access the area, regulations would be developed to require
all visitors to Cape Peirce Wildlife Viewing Area to have permits. A
commercial guide or Refuge staff would accompany groups of visitors
during peak use periods. At low use levels the refuge manager would
be able to waive the permit requirement.


The Kanektok and Goodnews rivers flow through the second largest
wilderness area in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The
opportunity for world-class fishing in a vast wilderness setting
attracts anglers from around the world. Regulations would be
developed to ensure a high quality wilderness experience is
maintained. They would require permits for the use of Refuge lands
along the Kanektok River and all forks of the Goodnews River. Permits
for both the Kanektok and Goodnews rivers would be required only
during peak use periods that coincide with the Chinook and coho
salmon seasons. At low use levels the refuge manager would be able to
waive the permit requirement for unguided float trips.


Unguided float use on Refuge lands along the Kanektok River watershed
would be limited to one new group every other day, alternating with
guided trips, which would continue to be limited to one new group
every other day.

Unguided float use on refuge lands in the Goodnews River watershed
would be limited to one group every other weekday (Tuesday and
Thursday) and one on each weekend day. Guided float use on Refuge
lands in the Goodnews River watershed will remain at one trip per
week but commercial operators will have the option to float the North
or Middle forks. In the past, guided trips were limited to the North
Fork Goodnews River.

During fall 2010, the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge will be
soliciting proposals to provide the guided float sport fishing
services listed above for the North and Middle Forks of the Goodnews
River as well as guided motorized sport fishing services for those
rivers.

As noted above, specific regulations for those actions that call for such
are not included in this decision, and will be crafted through a process
including ample opportunities for public meeting and comment. The intent of
the PUMP is to protect refuge resources and to enable the Service to
provide memorable wilderness experiences to all members of the public who
enjoy recreation on the lands and waters of Togiak National Wildlife
Refuge.

For more information about the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge PUMP or
about competing for sport fish guiding opportunities within Togiak National
Wildlife Refuge contact Refuge Manager Paul Liedberg at 907-842-1063 or
800-817-2538.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to
conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for
the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and
trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific
excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated
professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our
work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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