Supreme Court rejects trail restriction lawsuit

The Alaska Supreme Court says the Department of Natural Resources can limit heavy off-road vehicles that tore up a trail north of the Alaska Range.

A ruling released Friday says the DNR commissioner was within his rights to impose restrictions on the Rex Trail, which extends 50 miles across mostly state and federal land from the Parks Highway to the Wood River.

The trail is popular with moose hunters but users by 2007 had caused deep, dangerous ruts or new trails to avoid them.

The department’s northern region manager in May 2008 restricted vehicles weighing more than 1,500 pounds between April 15 and Oct. 31 beyond the trail’s first 1.5 miles.

A lawsuit by Robert Caywood and 25 other plaintiffs challenged the restrictions.