Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly passes resolution calling for Denali wolf/bear protection
The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly passed a resolution on a 6 to 3 vote, which calls on Alaska’s Governor Bill Walker to “close the areas adjacent to Denali National Park and Preserve to the trapping and hunting of bears, wolves, and wolverines”. The spirited debate and testimony lasted 4 hours on the evening of 8/25/16.
In 2009, the Alaska Board of Game repealed a no hunting buffer on a 10 by 30 mile strip of state land covering key portions of the ancient migration routes for Denali wolves, bears, sheep, and caribou. When Denali was expanded under the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), Sen. Ted Stevens’ compromise states:
“The Committee agreed to the deletion of the major blocks of State Lands that are within the House-recommended boundaries. These occur primarily in 3 areas. In the northeast portion of the area, near the existing headquarters, there are some 3 townships of state lands which are critical for sheep, caribou, and wolf habitat and should eventually become part of the park… The committee recognizes that these areas are important to the park and recommends that the Secretary seek land exchanges with the State of Alaska that would serve to bring these areas into the Park.”
Source: Alaska National Interest Lands Report of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, United States Senate, Legislative Day 11/5/79, Page 167.
Since the no hunting buffer was repealed, hunters and trappers have systematically lured bears and wolves to their bait stations just outside the park boundary, and killed them. Hunting guide Coke Wallace was quoted in National Geographic’s How Can 6 Million Acres at Denali Still Not Be Enough? “That was the third time I ruined millions of people’s Denali National Park viewing experience.” See attached poster with photo and quote, presented during Assembly testimony.
The resolution’s passage is a significant turning point, since Fairbanks was traditionally the epicenter for wolf control programs, despite a1993 tourism boycott over aerial wolf hunting, that cost the Alaska tourism industry an estimated 13% of its 1993 revenue, according to tourism industry trade group officials.
Photo Credit Ed Davis.
Coke Wallis Photo used with permission from National Geographic