Wolf Song of Alaska News

Board of Game Needs More Oversight

Letters / Juneau Empire / March 31, 2010

Barring a completely new administration, wildlife management in Alaska is in desperate need of greater legislative oversight for appointments to boards, commissioners and wildlife policy decision-making. Although such legislative power exists, it hasn't been used enough or effectively. It is time for legislators to step up their role of providing such oversight.

Recent administrative appointments, such as Al Barette's appointment to the Board of Game by Gov. Sean Parnell, need to be overturned by the Legislature. Legislative approval is required for this appointment.

Barette, Parnell's most recent appointee to the Board of Game, already has failed to abstain from voting on issues where his trapping and fur businesses in Fairbanks creates a clear conflict of interest, most specifically the most recent vote abandoning the wolf hunting and trapping buffer zone around Denali National Park that squeaked through, on a 4-3 vote, despite public testimony running 156-3 against abandoning the buffer zone.

The shooting of collared wolves who strayed from the Yukon park and preserve near Eagle and Tok by Alaska Department of Fish & Game aerial gunners also points out the importance of creating buffer zones around parks and preserves. Parks, preserves, buffer zones and wildlife corridors are essential to maintaining healthy wildlife in Alaska for game hunters, as well as for those who appreciate wildlife for their intrinsic value.

Decision-makers need to examine whether or not excessive and indiscriminate culling of wolves is generating too many stray and hungry young wolves who have no leaders to teach them their historical hunting areas and regions. Such a situation may be resulting in a greater danger to humans than would be the case if a more moderate management approach were put into place that took into account the importance of pack lineage, training and leadership.

Legislators, please provide better oversight for your constituents on these important issues. See that wildlife boards and commissions have a proper balance and better represent the residents of Alaska.

Kathleen Menke

Haines AK

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