To the editor:
At breakfast last Friday, during a quick visit to Fairbanks, I was startled to see my name on the editorial page of the News-Miner. I want to say that I very much appreciated the courtesy that you extended to me personally while exploring your concerns with the process by which the joint Boards of Fisheries and Game created their list of candidates for commissioner of Fish and Game.
Now that I have been appointed commissioner, however, I also want to express how enthusiastic I was last Friday while visiting with staff at the Fairbanks Fish and Game office, meeting with municipal officials, and looking over the site of the future fish hatchery and the Creamer's Dairy barn.
As I've learned elsewhere, among people interested in commercial fishing issues, Alaskans are passionate about their fish and wildlife - and justifiably so. I certainly see that passion expressed here in the Interior. Over the next few years, I hope that the good folks of Fairbanks will share that passion and help me and the department help you: With solidifying our abundance-based, intensive management and predator control programs; with keeping federal incursions into our state's sovereignty to a minimum; with creating a world-class hatchery and interpretive center; and with expanding on the good work already evident at Creamer's Field.
We have a lot to be thankful for, in enjoying Alaska's bounty of fish and game, but we have also a heady responsibility to promote and protect its uses. My view and responsibility is now broadened to include the needs of sport fishermen, hunters, guides, trappers, subsistence users and wildlife viewers throughout Alaska in addition to those of commercial fishermen and I welcome these broader challenges. Since graduating from the university here, several decades ago, I have admittedly been a somewhat infrequent visitor to interior Alaska; that is about to change.