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Alaska Department of Natural Resources
Division of Mining, Land and Water

Rex Trail Management Program

Important Flooding Notice:

Due to significant rain events in August, trail conditions are now hazardous from Windy Creek to Seven Mile Lake. Waters from Windy Creek have jumped their banks and are flowing east down the main alignment of the Rex Trail. Water flow has carved several steep sided holes in the middle of trail, up to 4 or 5 feet deep in places.

Please travel carefully, especially at water crossings as water flow is very fast and deep with newly deposited gravel/mud bars in unexpected locations. While we have not visited the Tatlanika or Totatlanika river crossings this season, water is expected to be high.

Rex Trail flood photo
Rex Trail in winter photo

Please Note:

Seven Mile Lake Reroute Project is complete and open to all traffic. Please use this new route and avoid travel along the original trail near the lake.

Management Action

On May 12, 2008, the Division issued a management decision for the Eastern Rex Trail both restricting the use of highway vehicles between 1500 lbs and 10,000 lbs (previously authorized under Generally Allowed Uses, 11 AAC 96.020) and implementing a decision to not issue permits for off-road vehicles (including both tracked and wheeled vehicles) over 1500 lbs between the dates of April 15 and October 31 annually. ORV's 1500 lbs and under were still allowed, provided the conditions in 11 AAC 96.020 were met.

On August 25, 2009, this decision was amended, allowing for issuance of permits to rubber tracked vehicles from 1500 lbs up to and including Nodwell RN110 or similar sized vehicles during the fall 2009 hunting season (August 25, 2009 Amendment). This amendment has been extended several times, including the 2014 and 2015 hunting seasons when the first of two pilot projects (Small Vehicle Reroute) was completed. A second and more ambitious pilot project, known as the "Seven Mile Lake Reroute", which aims to provide for an expanded range of vehicle use, is now being undertaken. The Department continues to monitor sites previously established as part of a long-term monitoring program and is also periodically inspecting the Small Vehicle Reroute; measurements of the established monitoring plots are anticipated to continue to be collected both before and after the fall moose seasons. Initial data analysis has been completed and is available at the Rex Trail Monitoring Report.

In August of 2018, the Department again extended this amendment to authorize issuance of individual permits for certain tracked rigs for the fall 2018 and 2019 hunting seasons. This extension will allow the Department to continue data collection in accordance with the ongoing monitoring program for two additional hunting seasons under similar vehicular usage conditions until anticipated completion of the Seven Mile Lake Reroute in June, 2019.

Permits issued for the fall hunting seasons will be valid from August 29 through April 15 of each year; a separate permit will be required for each year. These permits will be made available over-the-counter at the Public Information Centers in both Fairbanks and Anchorage, as well as digitally (Permit Application PDF ) and via fax. There is a $240 application fee that may be paid in person, via mail, or with a Credit/Debit card over the phone. Please note that permits cannot be approved until this fee is received. Permits may be issued subject to the following conditions (not a complete list):

  • The applicant must describe and provide a picture of their vehicle, report the number of persons in their party, and a general location as to where the vehicle will be used (Parks Highway to Totatlanika River, Parks Hwy to Tatlanika River, Parks Hwy to Wood River, Parks Hwy to beyond the Wood River: please note that a photo must be submitted even if you previously received a permit;
  • Permit is valid for rubber tracked vehicles over 1500 lbs up to and including Nodwell RN110 sized vehicles. This would include Nodwells, Weasels, SUSV's such as the Hagglund BV206, or similar, may be articulated, and must utilize rubber type tracks (steel grouser bars and/or cleats are permitted);
  • Travel under this permit is limited to the Rex Trail. No travel is authorized off the Rex Trail by vehicles over 1500 lbs, except as authorized below to vehicle parking areas;
  • Vehicle operator must keep the signed and approved permit on site and available for inspection in the field at all times;
  • No skid mounted or wheeled trailers are allowed;
  • Vehicle parking sites may be established on state land within 100 yards of the Rex Trail and sited in naturally occurring or existing clearings;
  • And, general vehicle operations shall be conducted in a manner which causes the least amount of impact to the vegetation and soil.

The Rex Trail

In 2007, the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mining, Land & Water (Division) received many complaints from the public regarding trail conditions, the Division's management of the eastern Rex Trail and the implementation of current regulations. The increased level of use, trail conditions that negatively affect safety of travelers, and restricted traditional access has compelled the Division to reevaluate its management options for the eastern Rex Trail.

The Rex Trail is an important access route which has been in use since the 1920's, and serves as a vital transportation route for mining, hunting, private property access, recreation, and trapping. Several placer mines currently operate in the vicinity of the Rex Trail and private landowners have properties in settlement areas of Gold King, Southwind, and Wood River. Both miners and residents rely heavily on the Rex Trail in the winter for hauling supplies. More recently, the Rex Trail has become popular with moose hunters from around the state as a land-based access route into Game Management Unit 20A.

General state lands are managed by the Division for multiple-use consistent with Alaska Statutes and Regulations. The management responsibility - to manage land for the maximum benefit of all Alaskans - is delegated to the Division through the legislature by virtue of the Alaska State Constitution. The size and scope of this responsibility is vast, and the means for implementation (staffing and operational funds) are limited. Implementation of the Generally Allowed Use regulations (11 AAC 96.020) and associated policies encourage a wide scope of public use of state lands without direct agency oversight through permitting. The Division's primary management responsibility with respect to easements has been to identify, reserve, and defend the public's right to use access easements consistent with the purposes for which they were established. On occasion, there is a potential need for trail restrictions or closures, and the authority to accomplish this is found in state statute and regulations.

Court Cases

The May 2008 and August 2009 decisions were both appealed to the Commissioner of DNR. The Commissioner denied the appeals and upheld both DMLW decisions. The decisions were then appealed to the Alaska Superior Court, which upheld DNR's decisions on February 1, 2011. The Superior Court case was appealed to the Alaska Supreme court, which again upheld DNR's decisions on November 23, 2012.

Public Participation Requested

We recognize the importance of this issue to the public and need your input to guide the future short-term and long-term management goals of the Rex Trail. The public is encouraged to comment on the management options for the Rex Trail through this website or by mail to the Division of Mining, Land & Water-Rex Trail, 3700 Airport Way, Fairbanks, AK 99709.

Questions or information on this project or how you can get involved can be directed to Adam Leland at 451-2722, or click to email.

This site will be updated with news, information and opportunities for public involvement regarding the Rex Trail.

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