State biologists are reminding dog owners to keep their pets leashed when visiting parks, wetlands, sanctuaries and other places migrating birds stop to rest, feed or nest.
"Dogs are pretty good at finding nests and displacing incubating females," said Jason Schamber, the state waterfowl coordinator at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. "Disturbing spring migrants can negatively affect birds that are completing migration and preparing to breed."
Migratory birds and their nests are protected from harassment by state law and under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Who's coming to Alaska?
— Some 4 million ducks.
— About 2 million geese.
— 25,000 Pacific sandhill cranes.
— 22,000 trumpeter swans.
Typically, migration peaks in early to mid-May, with nesting in June.
New fees at Hatcher Pass, other state parks
New fees will be collected beginning in May at Independence Mine State Historical Park in Hatcher Pass and several state parks in the Fairbanks area.
Independence Mine will charge a $5 per vehicle day-use fee and a $3 per person entrance fee during summer months to mine site visitors.
Other parks that will begin charging a $5 per vehicle day-use fee include the Chena River State Recreation Area, Big Delta State Historical Park, Totem Bight State Historical Park, Rosehip Campground, Mile 28 Boat Launch, the Stiles-Colorado Creek Trailhead, Mile 36.5 Shooting Range, Mile 37.7 and 39.6 bridge river access, Red Squirrel Campground, Mile 44 boat launch, Mile 48 pond, the lower and upper Chena Dome trailhead, Salcha River State Recreation Site, Clearwater State Recreation Site and the Delta State Recreation Site.
"It is tough to estimate the future revenue from the new northern-area collection points because we haven't been collecting visitor counts in a lot of those areas," wrote Matt Wedeking, deputy director and operations manager for the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation.
However, he said Independence Mine and Totem Bight could bring in more than $150,000 a year, based on previous visitor counts.
The fees "will further the division's goal of making park operations more self-sustaining and less reliant on the state of Alaska's general fund," he added.
Visitors with Alaska State Parks' $50 annual parking decal don't pay day-use feels.
Want to change hunting regs?
Dissatisfied Alaska hunters, now is your time.
The Alaska Board of Game will accept proposals for regulation changes pertaining to hunting in the central and southwest regions until May 1.
Proposals received will be considered during the statewide regulations meeting this November in Anchorage and at the central/southwest meeting in Dillingham three months later.
Final proposals will be on the board's website by September.
Calls for proposals, forms and the board's meeting schedule are on the Board of Game website. ( www.boardofgame.adfg.alaska.gov )
Tern festival in Yakutat
For the seventh year, returning Arctic and Aleutian terns will be celebrated during the Yakutat Tern Festival June 1-4.
The festival includes field trips, seminars, banquets, kids' activities and more.
Julia Parris, a University of Washington professor of ocean fishery sciences, is the keynote speaker. She'll discuss the recent seabird die-offs in the North Pacific and the impact of citizen scientists. Parris has been honored as a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Year of the Oceans Environmental Hero. She's executive director of the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team.
For information, visit the festival website.