Friends of Old Knik
We are a cemetery association. We have friends worldwide. Our goal is to keep construction and development away from historic cemeteries.
Thankyou to Northern Justice Project for helping with the injunction to save the cemetery at Cannons Hill. We pray no one will be willing to disturb the graves.
On May 20,2007 Our group Friends of Old Knik found a large 8'x10' x2'deep hole cut in the Wet Gulch trail in Knik.This trail is an RS2477 trail and is protected by that statute and by a 17b easement also.
We hope that is just a mistake and it will be fixed., the hole was dug about 50 feet from the Graves at Lot 1 USS 1726. This is the land given to Knik Tribe for protection around the cemetery.
We hope the current owners of the pit will use Ground penetrating Radar before any more digging is done.
It was noticed a small cross and rocks were placed between the graves along the edge at Cannon hill mile .5 kgb road......this is not done by members of our group. We regularly place flowers and crosses but this new cross is unknown to us. There also appears to be some distubance inside the fence, by the pine tree roots,and by the new cross/rocks. Friends placed the wreath/flowers by the fenced graves 4/10/07,but not the new cross/rocks.It looks lik someone buried something in front of the rocks...... and a circle was drawn around the area...? Please call if this is you....232-1387.
AS 29.45.030. Required Exemptions.
(3) property used exclusively for nonprofit religious, charitable, cemetery, hospital, or educational purposes;
Why then does the Mat-Su Borough tax cemeteries?
The following letter will hopefully change some policies in the Mat-Su Borough.
To Mayor Tim Anderson
Congratulations on your victory.
Our group has been trying to get the historic cemeteries listed below off of the tax rolls, and lid foreclosure list. I have communicated with the specific departments and I have gotten no where. Please let us know the best way to get these properties protected. Your cultural resources department is unable or unwilling to add these properties to the list of protected cemeteries. It is against state law to tax cemeteries. I have pointed this out in years past but there has been no change.
This information was shared with Sandra Garley last year before she left. She had made our group promises to change these problems. If the only way to make these changes is to speak at an assembly meeting then I will do that, but it would be better to deal with this out of the public eye.
1. uss 239 Tract B Russian Orthodox Cemetery. Currently in foreclosure on the LID list. Should be removed from list so it doesnt get sold in a foreclosure sale.
2. Tax Lot A2 mile 14.5 KGB road. Currently owned by Asbury Moore a private land developer. This property is a native cemetery with many graves from the early 1900's. Visable spirit houses. No cemetery designation.
3. Lot 23-24 Century subdivision. Original Wasilla Cemetery. Owned by Brenda Currier.(John Shadrach) Zoned residential and taxed by the borough and city of Wasilla. This is against state law. no cemetery designation.
4.Lot 7,8,9 block 5......Lot 10 Block 4 in Ancient Tree subdivision. These should all be classified as cemetery land. Currently it is classified as historic but if the Tribe sells any of the lots they would lose the designation and become a taxed residential cemetery. This summer Carol Theodore(Pauls ex-wife) had 2 of these lots for sale.......There are 3 decades of archeology work done on these lots already and Dr. Yesner informed me that there are graves there, including Chief Wasilla whose grave was tended for many years by the boy scouts of the wasilla area. Fran has work to finish on this project because all artifacts have not been accounted for. per Dr. Yesner.
5. Knik Museum Cemetery- This cemetery was documented by archeologists in the 80's. ( the Reger/Mischler survey)It is now owned by the borough and managed by the Historical Society for the borough. These graves are close to being directly under the Herning Warehouse. Please separate the cemetery land from the museum land and donate it back to Knik Chiefs Foundation or Knikatnu inc. for protection from intrusion. It could be added to lot 6,7,8 of uss 1726.
6. The Iditarod Trail by the Museum crosses over the top of graves. This easement was done as part of ANSCA requirements. Use of the easement should be discontinued and the fence should be removed as it encourages people to use this disrespectful easement. The land is already owned by Knikatnu and they have promised to protect the cemeteries from further intrusion. There is another easement that could be used for the race, it comes off of Knik Lake and bypasses all cemetery land.
If anyone receiving this letter is willing to propose the changes needed, we will be happy to provide documentation for all the above statements.
Thanks for your help
President Friends of Old Knik
The following letter is a reply from the Mayor Tim Anderson.
Re:Historic Grave Sites
In response to your email of October 27, 2003. I asked the Planning Department to prepare a short summary on the status of each of your concerns.
In the first paragraph of your email you state It is against state law to tax cemeteries. According to Borough Staff, the properties you refer to are not classified as cemeteries but as historic grave sites.
1. Regarding USS 239, Tract B, Russian Orthodox Cemetery. This lot was pulled from the Local Improvement District ten years ago. It has come up for review on an annual basis; however, a clerk's deed will not be issued.
2. Tax Lot 2 Mile 14.5 Knik-Goosebay Road is in private ownership. If the property owner wants to survey out his determined grave sites, he may do so , and fill out the state requirements to turn it into a cemetery.
3. Lots 23 and 24 of the Century Subdivision are also in private ownership. Once again, it is up to the private owner to seek cemetery status.
4. Lots 7,8,9,block 5 and lot 10 Block 4 in Ancient Tree subdivision are all tax exempt lots. These lots belong to the Knik Village Council. In August 2003, staff recommended that they vacate the lot lines to create one parcel so that they are not sold individually. The Knikatnu Corpopration said they would pursue that end at a later date. There is one known grave site on Lot 8 block 5, which does not constitute a cemetery, but is an important grave site that needs to be respected.
5. There have been graves identified by Doug Reger (archaeologist) behind the Museum if Herning's warehouse. All graves are being respected by the Historical Society.
6.The Iditarod Trail does indeed cross a known cemetery. The agreement with Knik was that it could be used only in winter under snow. Staff agrees that a separate trail should be located to avoid the cemetery. It has been discussed with Planning Directors a number of times over the years. An alternative needs to be worked on.
If you have an questions or further concerns, please give me a call at 745-9682
This quote comes from the field notes provided with the USS 1726 survery of Knik.
"US Survey No. 1726 includes practically all of what now remains of the village of Knik....
This survey includes all the graves in this vicinity most of which are Natives.
There are however a considerable number of Native graves scattered all along the shore of Knik Arm from the Westerly edge of Knik down the Arm for several miles.
While the survey is executed primarily for the purpose of townsite and cemetery, it is very improbable that Knik will ever have population enough again to warrant subdivision into lots and blocks and so far as I could determine such subdivision is not desired by any of the property owners included in the survey.
Due to the Native graves being in so many small cemeteries, it necessitated a very irregular shaped survey."