Most of the attention at the upcoming Board of Game meeting will be on McNeil River's famed gathering of brown bears, and rightly so. But residents interested in wildlife -- and especially bears -- should know that numerous proposals to the board seek increased opportunities to kill bears throughout much of Alaska.
While I wholeheartedly support the harvesting of wild animals for food when done ethically and respectfully, I have big problems with trophy hunting. It's especially appalling to me when such "sport" hunting is permitted in parks. And two of the proposals before the Board of Game seek new opportunities to do that in Alaska's state parks. One proposal seeks to establish a year-round brown bear hunt in Denali State Park, despite little knowledge about the park's bear population and the fact that such a hunt could lead to conflicts with other visitors.
Closer to home, there's a proposal to allow brown bear hunting in Chugach State Park. The argument seems to be that the local bear population can "support" a hunt. I can think of many reasons to oppose the hunt, but chief among my own is the belief -- shared by many other Alaskans -- that some places should be kept off limits to sport and trophy hunting. Anchorage's "backyard wilderness" is one of those. I ask others with similar beliefs to protest any brown bear hunting in Chugach State Park.
---- Bill Sherwonit / Anchorage