Hunting waste causes stink for parks department

Sunday, October 1, 2017 - 14:03
  • Hunting waste dumped at Beach Lake Park in early September, 2017. (Photo courtesy Eagle River-Chugiak Parks and Recreation)
  • Hunting waste dumped at Beach Lake Park in early September, 2017. (Photo courtesy Eagle River-Chugiak Parks and Recreation)

Piles of hunting waste abandoned in busy area parks are frustrating municipal crews and endangering park users and wildlife, according to Eagle River-Chugiak Parks and Recreation officials.

On Sept. 9, members of the Chugiak Dog Mushers Association discovered a pile of bloody animal bones while preparing for their first dryland event of the year at Beach Lake Park, said local parks manager Karen Richards. The next morning, park crews found more. Within three days, they’d removed six hunting waste dumpsites from around the popular Birchwood green space, Richards said.

“It’s just aggravating,” she said. “It’s so dangerous in that area.”

While it tends to happen every year around hunting season, public parks and animal parts aren’t a good mix, Richards said. It’s illegal to dump hunting waste there, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Animal waste can be disposed of at the Anchorage Landfill.

Removing carcasses from the woods is “quite an endeavor,” Richards said. Park employees move earth to cover the smell, search the woods for remnant piles and make a trip out to the municipal dump. And they have to do it quickly, because of the bears, she said.

Last month, a carcass dumped off Kerbow Lane drew a persistent grizzly bear to the area around Loretta French Park, Richards said. Beach Lake Park – home to the local mushing association and numerous bikers and dog-walkers and other trail users – runs the same risk.

“We have two or three resident grizzlies and black bears at Beach Lake, and they’ve been so respectful of the public and their pets and everything,” she said. “I certainly don’t want to lead them into a situation where we’re having to get rid of our wildlife because they’re being baited in.”

In a Monday morning Facebook post, Eagle River-Chugiak Parks and Recreation officials asked park users to report suspicious or illegal activity to the Anchorage Police Department at 907-786-8900, or to the parks department at 907-343-1500.

“To the unpleasant and indifferent individuals who continue to illegally dump their hunting waste in Beach Lake Park (and others) instead of disposing the remains properly; As you are apparently unaware, you are putting a good number of park staff, children’s camps, respectful park users, their pets and dog teams, as well as our resident wildlife in danger needlessly. Please stop abusing the park, these actions are not welcome,” the parks department post read.

“To all of our avid and respectful Park users and neighbors we welcome you and love to see the parks used in the manner they were intended, THANK YOU!”

Contact Star reporter Kirsten Swann at kirsten.swann@alaskastar.com

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