Group Calls For Boycott on Alaska After Game Officials Allow Wolf Trapping Near Denali National Park

A decision by Alaska's Board of Game to wipe out a wolf no-take buffer zone near Denali National Park prompted a call Monday for a boycott on vacation travel to the state. There were several proposals before the board last week to enlarge a wolf buffer zone in a notch of land surrounded on three sides by Denali. Some proposals used the George Parks Highway as an eastern-most boundary, another proposed the Nenana River as a border. The Park Service proposal is in yellow, the Defenders of Wildlife proposal is in green, and the largest proposal, outlined in blue, was submitted by the Anchorage Fish and Game Advisory Committee. The purple crisscrossed area reflected the current buffer zone.

A decision by Alaska's Board of Game to eliminate a wolf no-take zone on land surrounded on three sides by Denali National Park and Preserve has prompted an animal rights group to call for a boycott on tourism travel to Alaska this year.

The Game Board voted 4-3 last week to not only reject requests to expand the existing buffer zone, but to eliminate it entirely.

There once was a proposal to turn over to the park this rectangular block of land due west of Healy, Alaska, that follows the Stampede Trail, but it never got off the ground. As a result, wolves that leave the park and follow caribou to wintering grounds on this landscape are subject to trapping in some places. There has been a buffer zone that comprises roughly half of the rectangle on the western end in which wolves can't be hunted or trapped.

The decision to do away with the buffer zone was condemned Monday by Friends of Animals.

“The state decision is obnoxious,” said the group's president, Priscilla Feral. “And it contradicts what the park authorities had asked for. Federal officials had recommended expanding the buffer zone to protect wolves naturally wandering outside the park’s boundaries.

“As long as Alaska officials thumb their noses at common sense and decency, the public should stop supporting the state," she continued in a prepared statement. "We understand this is not easy for businesses, but we need their public declaration in support of the wolves and their advocates! It’s the (state) government that’s condoning the killing of the very animals tourists go up to see.”

The existing buffer zone had covered 90 square miles, according to the National Parks Conservation Association. Packs that frequent it and which often are viewed by Denali visitors include the East Fork Pack, the Grant West Pack, and the Nenana Pack. Packs that were wiped out by hunting and trapping include the Headquarters Pack, Savage Pack, and Sanctuary Pack, according to the group's records. Not every individual of a pack must be killed for the pack to collapse. And in some cases, new packs have re-established themselves in similar territory and have new names.

Friends of Animals, a group opposed to all hunting and trapping of wolves, pressed to reinstate a 600 sq.-mile east and northeast boundary buffer similar to that established in November 1992. Instead, not only has that area shrunk, but the current Board of Game went so far as to try to control federal lands proposing wolf control inside Denali National Park.

“Don’t support Alaska,” Ms. Feral said. “Alaska’s state officials have shown a disgraceful lack of respect for nature and the ecosystem as well as the wolves themselves. Governor Sean Parnell needs to step in and control the humans who are paid by the state.”

Appended to the release was a request that those upset with the Game Board's decision write Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell to let him know they will boycott travel to Alaska because of the state’s "wolf persecution."

WRITE TO:

Gov. Sean Parnell
P. O. Box 110001
Juneau, AK 99811-0001
Email:

Telephone: (907) 465-3500

Comments

Have just spent the last hour cancelling our scheduled month-long trip to Alaska in June -
And sent the Gov an email telling him just WHY!
I certainly CANNOT condone nor support such a decision regarding wilderness habitat, & don't mind making my opinions known!!!

What is the obsession with these people who just want to kill wolves? God put those creatures on earth~they are here for a reason!

Per Alaska's Wildlife Active Management.

Wolves and bears are very effective and efficient predators of caribou, moose, deer and other wildlife. In most of Alaska, humans also rely on the same species for food. In Alaska’s Interior, predators kill more than 80 percent of the moose and caribou that die during an average year, while humans kill less than 10 percent. In most of the state, predation holds prey populations at levels far below what could be supported by the habitat in the area. Predation is an important part of the ecosystem, and all ADF&G wolf management programs, including control programs, are designed to sustain wolf populations in the future.
When the Board of Game determines that people need more moose and/or caribou in a particular area, and restrictions on hunting aren’t enough to allow prey populations to increase, predator control programs may be needed. Hunting and trapping rarely reduce wolf numbers enough to increase prey numbers or harvests.

Cudos to Alaska for looking out for their people and not folding to special interests. New York's Adirondack Park should take a lesson from Alaska.

I'm headed to Alaska fo my next vacation.

Obviously, the State has the right to manage their lands as they see fit. It is unfortunate that the Board of Game has recended a mutual management program with the National Park Service by eliminating the buffer zone and reopening the area to trapping. I was once a trapper and a hunter, and I consider both legitimate uses of wildlife under well regulated and scientifically founded management programs. However, the State of Alaska has long had a difficult time accepting that predator control programs are usually counterproductive when the goal is to artifically increase prey species for human use. This is a holdover from the days of intensive wolf control (eradication) efforts of territorial and early statehood days. The end result is too often overbrowsing/grazing, populations weakened by survival of inferior animals and the tendency for residents to rely on excessively large prey populations. My primary concern in re: to Denali is that aerial hunting will be permitted to reduce wolf pacts that use the park as part of their territory.

I'm with Terry. Man is part of nature. Man can help control animal populations just like wolves control prey populations. I highly doubt this decision will harm the essential wolf population of central Alaska. The Alaskan Board of Game knows what it is doing. Bleeding heart animal fanatics do not.

And yes, I'm still going to Alaska for vacation this year. I only need to decide on the long bus tour or the 1/2 day bus tour.

Boycotting travel tourism in Alaska is short-sighted. It would only result in hunters representing a larger portion of those who visit that state.

What would hurt would be to boycott any products that come from Alaska and telling retailers that you will be happy to resume buying Alaska products after the Alaska's Board of Game to re-instates the wolf no-take zone. If retailers receive enough complaints they will either cease ordering or greatly reduce ordering Alaska products. Word would, then, get to Alaskans who send these products.

Terry Aubin: "Predation is an important part of the ecosystem, and all ADF&G wolf management programs, including control programs, are designed to sustain wolf populations in the future."

However, “The park service also says the park’s wolf population is the lowest it’s been in more than 20 years.”

http://newsminer.com/view/full_story/6504070/article-National-Park-Service-supports--expanding-no-trapping-area-near-Denali?instance=home_lead_story

Terry Aubin wrote: "In most of Alaska, humans also rely on the same species for food."

However, "Alaska politicians, including ex-Gov. Sarah Palin, have sponsored and championed an aerial wolf hunt on state-owned lands, with the goal of increasing populations of moose and caribou for SPORT and subsistence hunters." http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/archives/196806.asp

Terry Aubin: "[Kudos] to Alaska for looking out for their people and not folding to special interests."

However, “Nancy Bale, president of the Denali Citizens Council, which also submitted a proposal to expand the buffer zone, presented the board with a 35-page petition containing more than 500 signatures from people supporting an expanded buffer zone, including more than 100 SIGNATURES FROM RESIDENTS OF THE DENALI PARK AREA AND ALMOST 300 FROM ALASKA.”

http://newsminer.com/view/full_story/6504070/article-National-Park-Service-supports--expanding-no-trapping-area-near-Denali?instance=home_lead_story

If the decimation of the caribou population during legal hunting season last year is any indication, Alaska's Board of Game has set the stage for possible endangerment of this critical predator.
If I recall correctly, a large portion of the caribou herd had crossed into legal hunting territory, and an absolute slaughter ensued. Wasn't the hunt shut down after less than a single day? Can anyone honestly say that massacre was a subsistence hunt? Give me a break.
We can only expect that another such slaughter will eventually occur, this time with wolves, by eliminating this buffer zone.

Eliminating the buffer zone in this area is like luring animals into a closed pen for easy target practice, any hunter with an ounce of self respect would know that. Where's the skill in that? Where's the "game"?

This move has nothing to do with protecting caribou and moose as a food source, and everything to do with the greed that every white Alaskan seems to be born and raised with, most of whom are not native Alaskans at all.
Wolf pelts are worth a lot of money. Just imagine how much some hunting tour concessioner could charge us poor suckers from the lower 48 for the chance to bag a wolf during their once-in-a-lifetime vacation.

This action by the Board of Game smacks of the same sense of entitlement that some folks seem to think is a God given right. And it is shameful. It has nothing to do with the sport of hunting, and everything to do with greed.

Alaskans now and forever will live in the state of denial that they are not part of the United States and therefor not subject to Federal guidelines and regulations that protect Alaskan resources for ALL Americans. This action by the Alaskan Board of Game is just another example.

It's also interesting to note that this decision takes place just months after the untimely death of renowned wolf biologist Gordon Haber. Looks like the state is taking advantage of Haber's absence from the debate to make their decision.

Will a boycott be effective in getting a message to the Board of Game? I don't think so. Those folks really don't care if we come to visit or not, despite the millions of dollars that tourism brings to the state annually, because the majority of businesses (around Denali anyway) aren't even owned by Alaskans, native or local. So a boycott would hurt the "outsiders" more than it would Alaskans.

I say let them destroy every natural resource in their pursuit of personal rights and selfish, greedy happiness, and watch over time how their arrogant hubris turns to contrite reflection and requests for help from the federal government to fix the beautiful resources they have destroyed.

I would be interested in hearing why this decision was taken. As this is presented now I feel it is slightly biased.

I've been boycotting Alaska and their products for years now, ever since I first heard they were killing wolves up there. People should've been boycotting a long time ago but should be doing it now more than ever. Their game commission is one of the worst I have ever heard of and should get their priorities strait. This is the 21st century people, we shouldn't be doing things like that.

Anybody interested in this issue should read Aldo Leopold on the subject of Hunter vs. Predator ( wolves) and his observations as to the differences between types of control. He observed that natural predation was healthier for the food source of the deer and this in turn led to larger populations for hunters to hunt. But only if the predators had room to thrive. If the wolves are hunted to the point of struggle, the caribou & moose will overpopulate to the point of outeating their food source. At that point those populations start to face hardship due to lack of food, become weaker and more prone to disease, thereby reducing the numbers available for human use. So which path do you choose? Longterm enjoyment and sustainability, or sheer headlong stupidity?

Thanks William, for your support to the wolves. I also wrote protest emails to Gov.

I think governor Parnell is well aware that Alaska's game management practices are unique and not likely to be understood by the rest of the country. But the bottom line is: they work! And as long as they work they have a constitutional obligation to complete and fulfill Alaska's destiny for abundant wildlife. The fact is good wolf management increases their numbers, believe it or not. The balance that is afforded by what looks like Draconian methods to the outsider are simply an understanding that game management has failed in its mission elsewhere in the country. Along with a sensationalized, but negative look at this by the media as well as the general public's willingness to get angry first and ask questions later, we Alaskans are isolated, not only by geography but also differences in perspective. It goes with the territory. But I can assure you, no one wants to kill wolves for the sake of killing wolves. The wolf is the single most difficult predator on all of earth to track down and destroy. It is hard work, even from an airplane. But what happens is that the balance of game animals to predators rejuvenates the populations of all wildlife. This idea of letting nature take it course would be great, if man didn't exist. But since he does, it is like all things, he must take the lead and do what is right. The institutors of our constitution knew this and as a result most Alaskans have embraced this wisdom as right for Alaska. It is truly too bad that you did not come to the greatland despite some of the problems we have. Perhaps you would understand better if you did. That is after all part of visiting another part of the world. I am sure it wouldn't be any different if you visited Jamaica or Israel.

Shoot the wolves and you have more moose. More moose means more wolves. Whats the problem? Or should I say problem solved!

I sincerely hope you tell all your friends to also boycott ever coming to Alaska. Most of us are so tired of you know-nothing out of staters trying to manage our state for us ... You really dont do anything but make a menace out of yourselves and just get in our way. Worry about your own state and stay the hell out of ours!

This comment was edited to remove some colorful colloquialisms. -- Ed.

Brought to you by the same folks who complain about mule pool on.the trails while those same mules carry their beer, steaks and Thanksgiving Turkeys to Phantom Ranch, the really clueless. Nothing personal but keep looking for the real answers.