To the editor:
So Vic Van Ballenberghe laughed when he read the News-Miner's "Impossible standard." His criticism and opinion, not facts, showed the failure to get the "airplane/wolf issue" on the ballot is probably upsetting to him.
The new requirements do ensure that rural Alaskans will not be left out. Too bad it wasn't in place before 1996. Van Ballenberghe's offensive statements that, "Local residents only need to claim fewer moose and more wolves in their area to get the board's attention" and "In three decades of attending board meetings, I've never heard rural residents say there were plenty of moose or ..." show Van Ballenberghe apparently does not like rural Alaskans in front of the Board of Game. Van Ballenberghe implies that local residents "control" the BOG. Now that is worth laughing about!
For members of advisory committees or individually it is good stewardship to provide the Board of Game and area biologists with information on the status of all big game and furbearers. The Denali Advisory Committee recognized the difference in Unit 13 when there was over 28,000 moose and then dropped to 8,000 in less than a decade, and during the same period seeing a threefold increase in wolves. This was reported to the game board over a matter of years and came from many different sources.
However, the board didn't have the necessary "tools" to provide proper management. Had Van Ballenberghe attended our advisory committee meetings, maybe he could have disproved our claims concerning moose/wolves, thus diverting our testimony to the game board. These are public meetings, and the members are volunteers.
The conclusion I reached reading Van Ballenberghe's opinion is a continuation of creating divisiveness between rural and urban Alaskans. In the past, that tactic worked in the larger cities (especially Anchorage). Now, being much wiser, many rural and urban Alaskans will be offended with the continuing tactic of "divide and conquer."
Marty Caress / Cantwell