Admiralty Island, Alaska (KINY) The Alaska Board of Game will not allow hunting by vehicle or bicycle on parts of Admiralty Island.
The ore trucks from the Hecla Greens Creek Mine traveling parts of the road have had several near misses with hunters and others on bicycles.
The proposal was to close hunting within the camp, port, tailings facility, and mine site as well as on the heavily trafficked and busy industrial road between Hawk Inlet and the mine.
The mine did not propose a hunting closure around the lightly trafficked road from Young’s Bay to Hawk Inlet which is very frequently used by Juneau hunters.
There have also been reports of hunters firing shots near areas where people are working
The proposed closure wouldn’t affect a second Forest Service road that connects a dock at Young Bay and the mine’s main loading dock at Hawk Inlet.
Manager of Government and Community Relations at the mine Mike Satre said that road has less mine truck traffic and fewer safety concerns.
“We are not asking to close that,” he said. “That is a road that is very heavily traveled by recreational users.”
Tom Schumacher regional director for the Division of Wildlife Conservation said only part of the road will have hunting and shooting restrictions
The B section runs from Hawk Inlet to the mine. Foot traffic would only be allowed.
CBJ regulations also apply in that area which limits the discharge of guns within a quarter mile of the road.
The A section from Youngs Bay to Hawks Inlet will remain open to walking, biking and other uses.
Schumacher said the Board of Game opted to limit hunting using vehicles and anything with wheels after vigorous debate.
Schumacher added this will make it safer and easier for ore trucks to avoid people walking on the road
Schumacher predicts no impacts on the local deer herds.
Satre issued a statement on behalf of the mine after the decision, "We thank the Board of Game for substantially recognizing the inherent danger to both our workers and hunters when our work areas are used for hunting activities. They amended our proposal to allow foot traffic only on what is known as the “B Road” from Hawk Inlet to the mine site. It is believed this will significantly restrict conflicts between hunters and workers due to the distance this road lies from common access points. The Board of Game expressed appreciation that Greens Creek is willing to be a good neighbor and not attempt to restrict hunting opportunities in the heavily hunted area between Young’s Bay and Hawk Inlet, otherwise known as the “A road.” We look forward to working with ADF&G to add signage in our work areas that clearly define what access is allowed.
Audio from Tom Schumacher