Category Archives: Federal Law

Bear Cub Killers in Alaska Have an Ally in Donald Trump – Mother Jones article

Bear Cub Killers in Alaska Have an Ally in Donald Trump

The brutal scene unfolded in 30-second snapshots, captured in discrete moments by a motion-activated camera. Two hunters skied toward a den on Esther Island in southern Alaska and found a sow and its two newborn bear cubs. After killing all three with rifles, the hunters packaged meat from the mother in game bags, leaving the dead cubs in the snow. Two days later, they returned to retrieve the shells from their weapons and hide the cubs’ bodies.

The April 14 slaying, detailed in police reports and the Anchorage Daily Newsoutraged activists and environmental groups who have long protested the state-sanctioned killing of bears and wolves through extreme means. The two hunters in Esther Island were charged with breaking anti-poaching laws and hiding evidence, but Alaskan hunters have long resorted to shooting these animals from helicopters and butchering them in dens without legal consequence. Not even research subjects for government studies are spared from the dramatic rise in predator killings. The three bears on Esther Island were part of a US Forest Service study, and the sow wore a collar identifying it as a research subject. Between 2005 and 2015, hunters killed 90 wolves wearing similar collars… read the full article at Mother Jones

Tell Senator Murkowski that we want salmon stream protections today

We are passing this on from our friends at Alaska Wilderness League.

Southeast Alaskans have been working together for years to chart a new course for the Tongass National Forest – one that supports the region’s economy and the region’s unique quality of life.  In less than a few months, this work will be complete… unless Senator Murkowski succeeds at delaying this great progress.

Murkowski is attempting to amend a very popular bill – one that would better fund the fighting of wildfires – with language that would stop the adoption of the new management plan developed by a diverse set of stakeholders including – the timber industry, government officials, and conservationists.

Please follow the link below to add your voice to a message to Senator Murkowski:

Tell Senator Murkowski that we want salmon stream protections today

President Obama declares waters in and near Bristol Bay off limits to oil and gas leasing- ADN

From Alaska Dispatch, by Lisa Demer, December 16, 2014

Read the full article at Alaska Dispatch News

President Obama on Tuesday declared Bristol Bay “a beautiful natural wonder” and designated its salmon-rich waters indefinitely off limits for oil and gas leasing.

Environmentalists say the move provides significant protection not just for the iconic Bristol Bay sockeye salmon, but for crab, herring, halibut and groundfish, including the lucrative pollock fishery. And salmon returning to the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers pass through the waters that had been considered for drilling.

“Hey, everybody,” President Obama said in a videotaped message posted Tuesday on YouTube. “Earlier today I took action to make sure that one of America’s greatest natural resources and a massive economic engine not only for Alaska but for America, Bristol Bay, is preserved for future generations.”

Some 40 percent of the nation’s wild-caught seafood comes from Bristol Bay, and its waters have supported Alaska Native people for centuries, the president said.

“It’s something that’s too precious for us to just be putting out to the highest bidder,” Obama said.

Read the full article at Alaska Dispatch News


Alert: The National Park Service needs your comment to protect Alaska’s wolves and bears!

Please help us stand with the feds to limit the state’s egregious predator control!

The National Park Service (NPS) has taken a courageous stand against the Alaska Department of Fish & Game and the Alaska Board of Game for the protection of bears and wolves. The Park Service will undoubtedly face staunch opposition from the Board of Game and rabid criticism from many hunters for its proposal to ban the following egregious predator control (killing) methods:

* baited snare sites to attract grizzly bears,
* spotlighting (to locate and then kill) denned black bears,
* shooting wolf mothers with dependent pups, and
* shooting bear sows with dependent cubs

The Park Service has proposed banning these activities on the approximately 20 million acres of land designated as “national preserves” it manages in Alaska. The Alaska Board of Game’s longstanding insistence that predator control programs apply to lands managed by the feds is a threat to the Park Service’s ability to sustain natural and healthy wolf and bear populations.

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. (Note: “preserves” are managed in the same manner as national parks, but by law are open to sport hunting. The proposed regulations would affect the 1.3 million acres of land designated as “preserve” within Denali National Park and Preserve’s 6 million total acres.)

Please take a moment to write to the NPS to express your strong support for its proposal to ban these barbaric predator control methods. The agency desperately needs broad public support for this action, which surely will draw unbelievable fire from the well-funded and politically influential hunting organizations both in Alaska and the Lower 48.

Please show your support for Alaska’s wildlife by sending comments via e-mail or snail mail. Comments will be accepted until Dec. 3, 2014.

(You may wish to first write your comments, then paste them into the comment box provided on that page.)

Joel Hard, Deputy Regional Manager
National Park Service
240 W 5th Ave.
Anchorage, AK 99501

Below is a sample letter. Please feel free to personalize the letter or write a comment in your own words – these can have a much greater impact than form comments. You may also use the draft of AWA’s comment letter,  and the NPS press release.

Please note: a Facebook chat on the proposal will be held later this month, and public hearings on the proposed ban will be held in locations across Alaska in October and November. We will be sending a list of these dates and times in a separate email Alert.

Thank you for supporting AWA and Alaska’s wildlife.


Sample letter:

Joel Hard, Deputy Regional Manager
National Park Service

RE: Hunting and Trapping Regulations in Alaska National Preserves
RIN: 1024-AE21

Dear Mr. Hard;

Thank you for standing up to the Alaska Board of Game by proposing regulations to permanently prohibit snaring, brown bear baiting, use of artificial light to locate and then kill hibernating bears, taking wolves when they are with pups, and killing bear cubs and sows with cubs on our national preserve lands.

I strongly support your approval of these proposed regulations.

Such targeted killing of top predators ignores the resulting long-term and possibly irreversible negative impacts on entire ecosystems. No doubt these Intensive Management programs will eventually have a detrimental effect on the very species – primarily moose and caribou – which they seek to increase, solely for the benefit of hunters.

The NPS is directed by Congress to protect natural and healthy populations of wildlife. Manipulation of wildlife populations to benefit other species (such as those being hunted) is specifically prohibited in the NPS Management Policies, which states: “The Service does not engage in activities to reduce the numbers of native species for the purpose of increasing the numbers of harvested species (i.e., predator control), nor does the Service permit others to do so on lands managed by the National Park Service.”

I ask that you follow the above directive and implement the proposed ban on the state’s abhorrent and ill-conceived intensive management program on national preserve lands in Alaska.

Being able to see bears and wolves in Alaska’s national preserves is an experience that I want to ensure is safeguarded for my generation and those to come.

Again, I ask that you approve these proposed hunting regulations. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

[Your Name]
[City, State ZIP]

NPS announces public hearings on sport hunting proposals

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.

You can download the NPS press release in PDF format at the bottom of this post.

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.

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.

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 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.