Sabine Poux/KDLL

Ski season in Cooper Landing is approaching. At the same time, trapping on Forest Service lands is fair game. 

And with few formal restrictions on trapping, it’s largely up to trappers and recreationists to keep each other safe.

Andy Morse is a law enforcement officer for the U.S. Forest Service, based in Cordova. He said safety is a two-way street.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Winter trapping season is coming up in Alaska. 

But recreationists hoping for trapping restrictions along trails in Cooper Landing will have to wait. This week, members of the Federal Subsistence Board voted down a proposal to place setbacks alongside area trails — a plan advocates hoped could mitigate conflict between user groups.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include additional comments. 

Cooper Landing has a long history as a trapping area — besides mining, it was one of the reasons people settled there in the first place. But in recent years, it’s also become a major recreation destination. Trails verge off into the mountains all around the town, and hikers, runners, skiers and bikers like to hit the trails year-round. Many of them also love to bring their dogs along.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Trappers and recreationists have long been at odds over trapping restrictions in Cooper Landing.

Tensions came to a head several years ago when the Alaska Board of Game quashed a proposal to ban trailside trapping, citing a lack of compromise between activists on either side.

Now, several Cooper Landing residents are reigniting the conversation. They’ve surveyed locals on where they’d like to see trapping setbacks and will use the data to craft a proposal for the Board of Game and the Federal Subsistence Management Board.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Nearly 70 people weighed in on proposed changes to Kenai National Wildlife Refuge regulations during a series of public hearings last week. That’s on top of more than 44,000 written comments the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has received on the matter to date.

Most who testified spoke in opposition to the proposal, taking particular issue with changes that would permit brown bear baiting where black bear baiting is already allowed and reversing restrictions on trapping by trailheads. Those who spoke in favor advocated aligning state and federal refuge policies on hunting in the refuge.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service presentation

The third in three hearings about proposed Kenai National Wildlife Refuge changes has been canceled with no explanation.

An outpouring of concern for proposed refuge regulation alterations — which would change how the refuge handles trapping and bear baiting, among other policies — prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to hold a public hearing. The service added two additional hearings when space for public comment filled up. 

Around 115 commenters were slated to speak at last night’s hearing, held on Zoom, though only 22 ended up showing up to testify — two in favor of the rule changes and 20 against. Dozens of others attended the meeting as listeners.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

A public hearing on proposed Kenai National Wildlife Refuge regulation changes has been extended over three days, due to hundreds signing up for a slot to comment.

From Monday to Wednesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is holding hearings on proposed changes to refuge policies that would open the refuge up to trapping without a federal permit, allow for hunting brown bears over bait in areas where baiting is already allowed for black bears, and allow for the discharge of firearms along areas of the Kenai and Russian Rivers in the fall and winter, among other changes.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was flooded this summer with feedback about proposed hunting and access regulation changes in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. As a result, it’s hosting a public hearing about those changes Oct. 26 and reopened the public comment period through Nov. 9.


Hikers around Cooper Landing may soon see some new signs that are really aimed at trappers. KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran spoke with Lorraine Temple about the Cooper Landing Safe Trails initiative that hopes to bring some change to winter recreation in the area.


Wily coyote dragging leg trap eludes troopers

Mar 15, 2019

The Alaska Wildlife Troopers in Soldotna received two complaints recently about a coyote that was running on the snow machine trails off of Treasure Chest Drive in Kenai that had a leg hold trap secured on one of its legs. 

Wildlife Troopers responded to the area and tracked the coyote for about 1 mile, but was unable to locate it. 

The troopers are asking anyone with information on who may be trapping in the area to contact them at the Soldotna post.