With the start of Memorial Day weekend, Alaska State Troopers are stepping up enforcement in the four safety corridors across the state from now until July 1. These areas have had a historically higher number of collisions with serious injuries and fatalities. Fines are double in these corridors, which include:
• Mileposts 87 to 117 of the Seward Highway,
• Mileposts 44.5 to 53 of the Parks Highway,
• Mileposts 83 to 93 of the Sterling Highway,
• Mileposts 0.6 to 17.2 of Knik-Goose Bay Road.
Law enforcement officers will look for poor driving like speeding, passing in no-passing zones and erratic driving. Officers also will be looking for motorists not wearing seat belts. Motorists should drive with headlights on where it's posted to do so. You can report dangerous drivers to the Troopers by calling 911.
Troopers will be in the Knik River Public Use Area on all-terrain vehicles and four-wheel-drive pickups to ensure that people are using the area appropriately. Regulations prohibit activities like burning wood pallets, target shooting in restricted areas, shooting at targets made of unauthorized materials and cutting down trees.
The American Red Cross offers these travel safety tips:
• Be well rested and alert,
• Don't follow other vehicles closely.
• Stop frequently when traveling long distances.
• Clean your vehicle's lights and windows.
• Drive with headlights on.
• Carry an emergency kit.
• Let someone known your destination, route and expected arrival or return time.
For more information, visit redcross.org.BOATING
If you venture onto the water, the Coast Guard strongly encourages wearing a life jacket. Federal law requires that a life jacket be available for each person on a boat and that those age 13 or younger wear them while on the water. Coast Guard Petty Officer David Mosely said boaters should be in life jackets at all times.
"It doesn't matter what age or physical condition," he said. "You don't always have time to locate a life vest and put it on in an emergency. In Alaska, especially, when you go into cold water, the first thing you do is gasp - whether you want to or not. A lot of times that means you're swallowing water. You need a life jacket to get back to the surface and air."
A new television public service announcement urging boaters to "Wear It" featuring Iditarod musher Ken Anderson will debut this weekend.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary will perform safety inspections at the north boat ramp and campground at Big Lake. Volunteers will be on site "pretty much throughout the day" for the entire weekend, Mosely said.
Temporary restrictions have been issued by the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge for the area around the Russian River Ferry from May 25 to Oct. 1. The restrictions are aimed at reducing bear-human conflicts and include the following:
• All food, beverages, garbage and equipment used to transport or store such items (such as coolers and backpacks) must be locked in a hard-sided vehicle or camper, in a commercially produced bear resistant container, or within immediate grasp - that is, within three feet - of a person at all times.
• All lawfully retained fish must be similarly contained or "closely attended" by a person, meaning within 12 feet.
• Pets must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet.
The restrictions apply to all lands and waters within ¼ mile of the Russian and Kenai rivers, extending from Russian River Falls downstream to the confluence with the Kenai, then downriver on the Kenai to the powerline crossing.