Wolf Song of Alaska News

Legislature Rejects Game Board Appointee

Jeremy Hsieh / The Associated Press / Anchorage Daily News / April 9, 2010

JUNEAU -- The Alaska Legislature has rejected the controversial appointment of a Fairbanks man to the state Board of Game

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Lawmakers, meeting in joint session Friday, voted 31-27 against Al Barrette. He was appointed to the board in February but needed legislative approval.

His record in the last two months proved to be part of his downfall as lawmakers cited his votes against Alaska Native subsistence and local interests against those of hunters. Barrette is a trapper and tanner.

Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, said the Legislature needed to decide whether Barrette reflected Alaskans' values. He then ran down a litany of votes and actions he said Barrette's taken, including opposing limiting the harvest of beavers in the Yukon Flats region, where he said locals favored limits; voting to authorize the baiting of brown bears, which he said the rest of the board rejected; and advocating use of snowmachines to harvest wolves in a buffer zone near Denali National Park that the board had just done away with. The board rejected that, he said. "In my opinion, this record does not reflect how I want Alaska's wildlife to be managed," Wielechowski said.

Rep. Carl Gatto, R-Palmer, said lawmakers all have records and votes on certain legislation that people can quibble with. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Fairbanks, said he knows Barrette and thinks it's commendable that he's been so open about his hunting, fishing and tannery work. Barrette also became a lightening rod after he gave a videotaped interview in which he was seen skinning a wolf and espousing the Bible to explain man's dominion over animals.

He later said that was taken out of context and that he believed in science-based management of the state's wildlife.

Critics have said Barrette's decisions consistently favor one group -- hunters -- regardless of scientific data and public sentiment.
Gov. Sean Parnell's office did not immediately return a message left Friday seeking comment.


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