The Skagway Borough Assembly tabled the first reading of a trapping ordinance that would regulate the activity on municipal land.
State of Alaska trapping regulations do apply within the Skagway Borough, however the laws currently allow trapping in highly visited municipal lands such as Seven Pastures, and the Yakutania Point and Smuggler’s Cove areas.
Regulations proposed in the ordinance would prohibit trapping within 150 yards of municipal trails and roadways, requiring warning signs near trap lines and requiring the trapper’s name and contact information to be listed on the traps. Exceptions to the proposed regulations would be for scientific work, government agencies, and residents with documented animal nuisance problems that get a permit from the Skagway Police Department.
At a February 6 meeting, Assemblyman Jim Sager said there was not an equal amount of participation from residents when drafting the ordinance, and he proposed it be taken back to the Civic Affairs Committee level to amend it.
“It was attended almost exclusively by those who were not apposed to letting trapping continue the way it is,” Sager said. “It’s my opinion that we likely did a poor job communicating to the public about the meetings.”
There were about 20 people who attended the assembly meeting because of this ordinance, and about 13 people gave their opinions during Hear Citizens Present.
Most attendees in favor of trapping said they think it should stay the way it is, because no child or pet has been hurt, and the proposed 150 yards in any direction from a road or a trail could put trappers in danger because of steep terrain.
Trappers and those in support of trapping also stated that most traps in highly visited areas are for marten and they are located in trees.
Most of those in favor of stricter trapping regulations said they don’t oppose trapping and understand it is something that’s used for income and subsistence, but they would like it taken off public lands that are being advertised by the municipality as recreational areas.
The ordinance was taken back to the drawing board at Wednesday night’s Civic Affairs Committee meeting that took place after this paper went to press.