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January 19th: URGENT – help us change the Board of Game!

Right now we have an excellent opportunity to get a non-consumptive representative appointed to the Board of Game – please send your comments to Gov. Walker ASAP!

The terms of two members of the Board of Game will expire this year, and Gov. Bill Walker will very likely make his selections to fill those seats this week. Among the applicants are two exceptionally qualified candidates who will speak for non-consumptive users of wildlife.

Please contact Gov. Walker immediately to let him know that you want a more balanced Board of Game, and that you support these candidates:

Dr. Stephen Stringham
Kneeland Taylor

Please send your comments to:

Gov. Bill Walker: governor@alaska.gov

cc:

Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott: byron.mallott@alaska.gov
Deputy Chief of Staff John Hozey: john.hozey@alaska.gov

If you would like to read more about the candidates, please see the background information provided below.

Following are a few points to choose from when you compose your message (it will have more impact if you put the information into your own words. It need not be lengthy!):

  • Alaska’s wildlife belongs to all Alaskans, and all user groups must have a voice in its management. Right now, the basic principles of fairness and inclusion are absent from the Board’s deliberations and wildlife management decisions.
  • Only about 20 percent of Alaskans hold a hunting and/or trapping license. Without a non-consumptive voice on the board, 80 percent of Alaskans have no representation in wildlife management decisions. Those non-consumptive users – photographers, wildlife watchers, tourists who spend millions of dollars here annually – are excluded from the decision-making process.
  • Both Stephen Stringham and Kneeland Taylor are exceptionally qualified to serve on the Board. They are long-time Alaskans, and both have spent decades working on wildlife issues.
  • For many years, all seven members of the Board of Game have been personally involved in hunting and/or trapping, some earning their living from those or closely related activities. Consequently, they have a vested interest in managing Alaska’s wildlife for the benefit of like-minded consumptive users.
  • The goal of a hunting-controlled Board is managing wildlife to create an artificial abundance of moose and caribou by eliminating wolves and bears. This is not ecologically sound management, and is ultimately unsustainable. Future generations of Alaskans will have to try to undo this damage.
  • Neither candidate for the Board has a personal agenda to ban or severely limit Alaskans’ right to hunt or trap – in fact, many years ago, both were involved with hunting. They do favor scientific, balanced wildlife management that addresses the concerns and values of all user groups – not just hunters.

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Again, please send your message to Gov. Walker as soon as possible. (We apologize for the urgency – we too received short notice of the governor’s impending decision!)

Gov. Walker’s nominees for the Board will be forwarded to the Legislature for a confirmation vote. The terms of current Board members Nate Turner of Nenana and Pete Probasco of Palmer will expire at the end of June; only Turner has asked to be reappointed to another term.

Candidates’ background information:

Dr. Stephen Stringham of Soldotna has lived in Alaska since 1970. He is president of WildWatch, a consulting company serving clients such as corporations, small businesses and Native American tribes.He holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and has a Ph.D. in behavioral and population ecology. His experience includes conducting extensive moose and bear research projects, founding and directing the Environmental Office of the Blackfeet Indian Nation, and serving on the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s polar bear management team. Currently he focuses on consulting, research, ecotourism and teaching bear safety courses.

An excerpt from Stephen’s application letter:

“… [T]he BoG currently pays negligible heed to the needs of many Alaskans who enjoy viewing wildlife, or to the needs of those businesses which depend on wildlife viewing by Alaskans and tourists. Wildlife viewing is a major component of ecotourism, which adds $2 billion per year to Alaska’s economy. Why not strive for $3 billion/yr?

“[It] has a long and shameful history of antagonism and contempt towards members of the public who advocate non-consumptive uses of wildlife. Alaska’s wildlife belongs to all its citizens, and should be managed to meet the full spectrum of public needs rather than being reserved almost entirely for the benefits of consumptive users.

“[The Board’s] intensive management program relies on an erroneous interpretation of scientific evidence about wildlife population ecology and about the best ways to conduct predator control. This results from the BoG’s long history of cherry picking scientific findings that can be interpreted to support their version of intensive management, while ignoring everything contradicting it.”

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Kneeland Taylor of Anchorage has practiced law in Alaska for nearly 40 years. He is a graduate of the University of Denver College of Law, and currently works as a sole practitioner. His practice focuses on real estate, probate and family law, and Alaska Native corporate matters and Tribal law. He has a long history of active involvement in wildlife issues, and when not in his office he is frequently in the outdoors hiking, ocean kayaking, camping or backcountry skiing (always on the lookout for wildlife). He formerly served on the board of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, and is a current member of the Friends of Chugach State Park steering committee. He also is currently serving as the (only) non-consumptive representative on the Board of Game’s Dall Sheep Working Group.

From Kneeland’s application letter:

“I have been involved in the Board of Game process for many years. I know that if appointed, I will be outnumbered 6-1 on some issues. But I hope to have some success because I hope that by being on the BOG, I will provide inspiration to other non-consumptive users to get involved in the process. Not many of us participate now because it is clear that almost all of the current BOG members don’t care about what we think. Putting someone like me on the BOG might encourage others to get involved.

“… I have watched on several occasions when I believe the BOG might have acted differently if only someone had expressed the position of non-consumptive users at the critical moment when decisions are made. Alaska’s wildlife is a resource that I think should be developed. By the term “developed” I mean that opportunities to view wildlife should be increased, especially in road-accessible Alaska. One example of “development” would be a special management area outside the boundaries of Denali National Park so that our visitors might have greater opportunities to see wolves as they ride the buses on the park road. Had a non consumptive user been on the BOG in 2012 when the existing buffer was repealed, I am confident the BOG would have acted differently.”