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Wednesday, March 21 2018 @ 06:45 AM AKDT

UPDATE: Public Notice: Proposed Purchase of Flat Lake Access

Public NoticesUpdate contributed by Rep. Dan Mayfield

"I'm very happy to report that the Mat-Su Assembly approved the purchase of the Flat Lake access this evening at our regular meeting. This purchase ensures that this overland passage will continue to provide a safe public access to Mud Lake and Flat Lake, provide access to trails and promote commerce in our community in perpetuity. Having worked on this result for many years now, even before I was on the Assembly, I am very pleased with this decision. I expect the Borough will host a ribbon cutting event in the following weeks, after closing on the purchase. Please keep your eye out for the invitation.

Very Best Regards,

Dan Mayfield

Mat-Su Assembly

District 5"

Flat Lake Map, source AKDF&G

Previously contributed

Submitted by Rep. Dan Mayfield

MSB Ordinance Serial Number 17-060 is coming up for public hearing and deliberation at the next regular Mat-Su Borough Assembly meeting on June 6th at 6:00 PM in Palmer. This ordinance is sponsored by me and if approved, will appropriate $71,300 from the Land Management Reserve to purchase the land immediately adjacent to the Flat Lake Channel from the Mental Health Trust. The purpose of the purchase is to dedicate this land as a public use transportation corridor within the Big Lake Community. The purchase price is significantly below market value and will provide public access to property owners and visitors in perpetuity.

Here's a little background:

Big Lake is connected to two other lakes via small water channels that were put in by the Army Corp of Engineers in the 60s and 70s. From East to west, you have Big Lake, connected to Mud Lake, connected to Flat Lake by these water channels. The land immediately adjacent to the Mud Lake channel was previously owned by the Mental Health Trust and the land immediately adjacent to the Flat Lake channel is currently owned by the Mental Health Trust.

The further west you go on Big Lake, the fewer roads exist. Many residents and property owners on each of these lakes have water only access to their homes. During the summer, they must take a boat to and from their homes on Mud Lake and Flat Lake using the water channels. During the winter, volunteers plow a road network over the ice (the main road is called Ice 5) to gain access to their homes. Unfortunately, the water channels never freeze properly due to the constant flow of water between the lakes. Over the years, visitors and other inexperienced folks have sometimes attempted to drive their cars, trucks and other vehicles through the channel only to fall into the water causing many rescues in freezing cold water (visit for some recent pictures and stories). Due to safety concerns, the citizens who need access to their properties, utilized the land next to the channels to develop overland passages between the lakes. These overland passages became important to commerce in the area, assured a minimum number of winter rescue efforts, provided access to owner properties in both summer and winter and provided access to recreational activities.

The problem is the overland passage between Mud Lake and Flat Lake is in trespass on Mental Health Trust land. Even though the transportation corridor has been used for almost 50 years, the Mental Health Trust is not subject to prescriptive right claims. In 2011, a 25 foot travel easement between Big Lake and Mud Lake was granted to Big Lake Trails, Inc. in recognition of the importance of the overland route to the local economy and public safety.

Acquiring an easement across the Flat Lake overland passage or developing a deal to trade other Borough land for that land has been rejected by the Mental Health Trust, however, they are interested in a sale to support their mission. The proposed sale is at less than fair market value. I believe this purchase is in the best interest of the residents of the Mat-Su and will return some benefit for the tax dollars these people pay with little return on their investment in services.

So far, all public comment submitted on this ordinance has been overwhelmingly positive and the Big Lake Community Council unanimously supported it.

If you are so inclined, please attend the June 6th Assembly meeting to assure that all Assembly members hear how truly important this is to our community.

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[Update added, Editor]

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