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Contact: John Quinley, 907-644-3512
The National Park Service will hold 17 public hearings this fall on proposed regulations and environmental assessment related to sport hunting in Alaska's national preserves.
The proposals include prohibitions on taking wolf and coyote pups and adults in early summer when they den and their pelts have little commercial value; the taking of brown bears over bait stations; and the use of artificial light to take black bear cubs and sows with cubs at dens. Other procedural changes and wildlife harvest related changes are also proposed.
Recent authorizations by the State of Alaska's Board of Game have liberalized predator hunting practices in many areas. This includes national preserves, which are managed in the same manner as national parks, but by law are open to sport hunting. Liberalized predator hunting intended to manipulate natural population dynamics conflicts with National Park Service law and policy. National park areas are managed to maintain natural ecosystems and processes, including wildlife populations and their behaviors. While sport hunting is consistent with the purposes for which national preserves were established in Alaska, NPS policies prohibit reducing native predators for the purpose of increasing numbers of harvested species.
The proposed rule would not restrict federal subsistence hunting on NPS managed lands.
An informational Facebook Chat will be held beginning October 20 and running through October 31. The regional Facebook address is www.Facebook.com/AlaskaNPS. On October 21, from 10 a.m. to Noon, National Park Service staff will be available to post real-time replies to questions. On-line dialogue is not considered official public comment.
The proposed regulations would apply in the following national preserves: Denali, Wrangell-St. Elias, Glacier Bay, Yukon-Charley Rivers, Gates of the Arctic, Noatak, Bering Land Bridge, Lake Clark, Katmai, Aniakchak, and the Alagnak Wild River.
On October 27, the NPS will hold a phone-in hearing from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. where callers will identify themselves and can provide testimony which will be recorded. The toll-free number is 1-888-921-5898; callers will use 5499349# as the access code and be connected to the hearing.
The in-person public hearing schedule is as follows:
October 21 Palmer Community Center, 610 S. Valley Way 3-7 p.m.
October 22 Bettles, Gates of the Arctic NP Visitor Center 4:30-6 p.m.
October 22 Denali NP, Murie Science & Learning Center, 5-6 p.m.
October 23 Healy, Tri-Valley Community Center 6-7 p.m.
October 27 Cantwell, Cantwell Community Hall 6-7 p.m.
October 27 Nome, Sitnasuak Building, Front Street 6-7:30 p.m.
October 28 Kotzebue, Northwest Arctic Heritage Center 6-7:30 p.m.
October 28 Anchorage, Lydia Selkregg Chalet, Russian Jack Springs Park 3-7 p.m.
October 30 Fairbanks, Morris Thompson Center, 7-9 p.m.
October 30 Soldotna, Kenai Peninsula Borough Building 3-7 p.m.
November 1 Yakutat, Yak-Tak Kwaan Office 1-4 p.m.
November 5 Eagle, Eagle School 6-8 p.m.
November 5 Copper Center, Wrangell-St. Elias NP Visitor Center (Mile 106.8 Richardson Highway) 4-6 p.m.
November 6 Tok, Tok School 6-8 p.m.
November 18 Port Alsworth, Lake Clark NP Visitor Center 6-8 p.m.
November 20 Naknek, Bristol Bay Borough Assembly Chambers 7-9 p.m.
In addition to taking public comment in person and by phone, comments may be made on line by following the links at nps.gov/akso/management/regulations.cfm or by postal mail to NPS Regulations, 240 W. 5th Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501. A copy of the proposed rule may be requested at the same mailing address. A copy of the proposed rule, draft environmental assessment, economic analysis, news releases and other related material is available at nps.gov/akso/management/regulations.cfm.