State hypocritical in allowing Denali wildlife to be killed

Posted: Tuesday, March 09, 2010

It was recently reported that the Alaska Board of Game made the decision to open the buffer zones to the northeast of Denali National Park to wolf trapping. This decision came about in spite of wide public support from Alaskans to maintain and even increase protection for Denali's wolves.

Furthermore, the National Park Service also wished to maintain the current level of protection as the wolf population has declined to roughly 70 wolves within the park.

This decision, along with many other decisions by the Board of Game, contradicts what is stated in the Alaska Constitution that wildlife belongs to all Alaskans not just to hunters and trappers.

Apparently, the desires of three to four recreational trappers outweigh the desires of all other Alaskans, essentially making wildlife viewers, scientists, photographers, tourists, business and others into second-class citizens without any voices of representation on the current Board of Game.

Quoting from the article - "When we created buffer zones, we had been essentially implementing federal management for federal interests on state land," said board member Teresa Albaugh, who voted to open the land for trapping. "The business of those lands is the business of the federal government."

Exactly. As such, the National Park Service should take a far more aggressive stance toward the state when state actions threaten either or both of the two mandates of the National Park Service - protecting the resource and providing access and experience for park visitors.

Since NPS has federal jurisdiction over its lands, it should re-evaluate its current hunting and trapping bag limits within Denali's Preserve and New Park Additions (and in other parks) and lower them assuming this does not conflict with ANILCA. Additionally, other subjects such as snow machining and other areas of cooperation with the state should be re-evaluated as well and perhaps overturned.

No predator control of either bears or wolves or the baiting of either for hunting or trapping purposes should be allowed on federal lands whether under NPS or other federal agency jurisdiction.

Additionally, perhaps now is the time for the businesses in the Alaska tourism industry - such as Princess, Aramark, Holland America and many other local businesses in the Glitter Gulch area outside Denali - to re-evaluate and consider cancelling their advertising and promotion of these same area trappers's tourism-related businesses.

The financial targeting of tourists in the summer and then the targeting and killing of Denali's wildlife as it travels outside the park in the winter is blatantly hypocritical and is ethically and biologically destructive to Denali.

Bill Watkins


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