A Lions Club is asking the city to allow snowmachine use in the motocross area of Kincaid Park, on about 15 acres on the south side of the 1,500-acre park.
No other place in Anchorage is available for snowmachine races, said Dane Ferguson, president of the Alaska State Sno-X Lions Club. Ferguson, a past X Games competitor, said he'd also like to introduce people to freestyle snowmachining.
The Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage doesn't think allowing snowmachines in the park is a good idea. Snowmachines in the past have travelled on ski trails, which is unsafe, said association executive director Diane Moxness. Noise is also a concern, she said.
The motocross area is closed in winter.
The park is best known during snow months for its world-class cross country ski trails. There are also single-track bike trails used year-round. In summer, Kincaid features soccer games, disc golf, motocross, runners, walkers and bicycle riders.
A public hearing on the Lions Club proposal is before the city Parks and Recreation Commission on January 10, said city parks superintendent Holly Spoth-Torres. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Spenard Recreation Center.
Spoth-Torres said snowmachine use has never been authorized in the park, and city law prohibits snowmachines in parks unless they're specifically okayed.
But Jim Burkholder, a long-time resident who lives near the motocross parking lot, on Jodhpur Street, said there was quite a lot of snowmobile riding in the park until about four years ago. "Jodhpur parking lot was a disaster from the standpoint of some of the activity going on there."
Burkholder is against opening the area to snowmachines.
To allow snowmachines, the city would likely have to revise the Kincaid Park master plan, Spoth-Torres said.
Ferguson said the Lions Club would set up rules and be willing to enforce them, to hold down noise and keep snowmachine riders in the right area, and off the hills. The rules would include requiring the machines to use stock exhaust systems that are quieter than custom exhaust systems, he said.
The club would have a member there whenever the area was open, he said.
"We're going to start out lecturing people and making them sign and initial," he said. "We have no problem kicking you personally out of there."
Supporters of the snowmachine club packed a Sand Lake Community Council meeting in November, said council president Dan Burgess. Afterward, the council voted to approve a letter saying the council "wishes to express our enthusiastic support and need for winter recreational motorized use in the Anchorage area."
The council did not endorse the Kincaid proposal per se, and council members asked the Lions Club to go talk to residents who live near the motocross area, Burgess said.
Another Lions group, the Anchorage Racing Lions, manages motocross events at Kincaid Park in summertime.
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By ROSEMARY SHINOHARA