(JUNEAU) - The Alaska State Senate approved House Bill 139 by a vote of 16 to one on Monday. Sponsored by Rep. Mike Hawker (R-Anchorage), HB 139 closes land within the upper Glacier Creek and Winner Creek drainages to mineral exploration for 10 years. The move keeps the land open for other development purposes.
"This closure gives land managers time to solicit proposals from potential developers to put in additional ski areas," Hawker said. "Without the closure, conflicting mining claims could arise and preclude the development of those ski areas."
The 10-year window also provides an ample timeframe to include the development of such a resort in the state and Municipality of Anchorage land use plans. If no development process begins by April 3, 2012, the land re-opens to mineral entry. Nevertheless, Hawker says the area has potential for new recreational development.
"Girdwood is developing a plan to make it a popular tourist destination four seasons a year," Hawker said. "An important part of that is to expand the ski areas into the world class areas that are behind Mount Alyeska."
After reconsideration, HB 139 will move to the governor for approval.