Wolf Song of Alaska News

Game Board Wrong

Letters / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / March 11, 2010
To the editor:

I disapprove of the Board of Game’s management of our Interior wildlife resources. Board members are supposed to reflect the diversity of different user and interest groups, who all have a right to their share of Alaska’s wildlife. 

The current members of the game board consist entirely of hunters, hunting guides, trappers, National Rifle Association members and, with the governor’s latest appointment, the owner of a fur tannery and trap manufacturer. Unsurprisingly, the decisions by this board regarding Interior proposals have been openly biased and solemnly benefiting their own user group, providing for enhanced harvest opportunities. The board decided to eliminate a protective zone for the Denali Park wolves.

The overwhelming majority of local residents, the Denali Citizens’ Council, even park authorities, asked for an expansion of the protective zone, based on low population numbers and increased incidents of wolves trapped and shot just outside the park’s boundaries. Close to half a million tourists annually visit Alaska’s most popular national park in hope to see those wolves, yet the board opted to eliminate the existing zone to benefit a handful of trappers instead.

The board also failed a proposal to give the most basic protection to the community of Healy, which in recent years has been inundated by trappers disregarding any ethical standard in their attempt to catch a fur bearer. Traps set right along public roads, popular established recreational trails and private property lines have hurt people and maimed pets alike, yet the board decided to disregard the needs of a whole community to benefit a few irresponsible trappers.

This is a sad day for our local trappers who prove that a peaceful coexistence is possible. I support trapping when it’s done in a respectful manner and doesn’t jeopardize the safety of my family. I am a traditional skin sewer and buy hides from local trappers. However, that does not mean I want to see every wolf turned into a ruff. Decisions by the board should be balanced, benefit all of us and ensure healthy, plentiful wildlife for our future generations not only to harvest but also to study and enjoy.

by Anja Phenix / Healy



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