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The Goldstream Public Use Area: Keeping the public-use designation will benefit Fairbanks

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The variety of groups that want to continue the Goldstream Public Use Area tells quite a bit about the level of support for this long-standing recreation area that is in need of legislative reauthorization.

The Alaska Outdoor Council, the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks, the Alaska Miners Association, the Arctic Audubon Society and the Fairbanks North Star Borough trails advisory group all want the area continued in its current form.

The Legislature in 1990 set aside the 2,000-acre space for public recreation purposes, but that designation will expire in July unless the Legislature acts to renew it. The Senate on Friday passed a renewal measure by a vote of 15-0, with five members absent.

The area, in the vicinity of Ballaine Road along Goldstream Creek, is popular with a variety of user groups. It’s largely swampy, making it good for berry picking in the fall. It’s also used by hunters and, in winter, by snowmachiners and dog mushers.

The bill, Senate Bill 195, would repeal the sunset clause of the original measure, making the Goldstream Public Use Area a long-term fixture of Fairbanks. Few things are permanent, of course, and the Legislature could, after passage of this bill, change the purpose of the area if the need arose.

For now, however, the general sentiment is to keep the area as it is. More than 100 letters of support have been submitted on behalf of the bill.

The Senate’s strong vote of support and the backing of a mix of user groups should make it easy for the House to pass the measure and for Gov. Sean Parnell to sign it into law.

The Daily News-Miner encourages residents to make themselves heard through the Opinion pages. Readers' letters and columns also appear online at newsminer.com. Contact the editor with questions at letters@newsminer.com or call 459-7574.

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Guidelines

The Daily News-Miner encourages residents to make themselves heard through the Opinion pages. Readers' letters and columns also appear online at newsminer.com. Contact the editor with questions at letters@newsminer.com or call 459-7574.

Community Perspective

Send Community Perspective submissions by mail (P.O. Box 70710, Fairbanks AK 99707) or via email (letters@newsminer.com). Submissions must be 500 to 750 words. Columns are welcome on a wide range of issues and should be well-written and well-researched with attribution of sources. Include a full name, email address, daytime telephone number and headshot photograph suitable for publication (email jpg or tiff files at 150 dpi.) You may also schedule a photo to be taken at the News-Miner office. The News-Miner reserves the right to edit submissions or to reject those of poor quality or taste without consulting the writer.

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