Press Release Sep 4, 2014

Drawing the Line: National Park Service Releases Bold New Proposal to Protect Alaska's Bears and Wolves

Proposed regulation changes would protect bears and wolves in Alaska's national preserves

Anchorage, AK – In a bold move, the National Park Service today released proposed permanent hunting regulation changes to protect bears and wolves in Alaska’s national preserves, an effort the state has failed on, with its aggressive predator control actions. The National Parks Conservation Association has spent more than a decade voicing its concerns over the state’s Intensive Management philosophy which set the hunting methods currently allowed on our public lands, and applauds this strong action.

“By introducing these wildlife regulation changes, the National Park Service is taking an unprecedented stand to defend its mandate to maintain healthy wildlife populations – a move that the National Parks Conservation Association wholeheartedly supports,” said Jim Stratton, Deputy Vice President of Regional Operations for the National Parks Conservation Association. “At issue isn’t whether you can hunt in Alaska’s national preserves, but how you hunt. Most notably, we are pleased to see the National Park Service proposing to ban such unbearable hunting methods as spotlighting, which involves shining a light on bears in their dens in order to shoot them.”

National Park Service policies clearly state that any action that manipulates one wildlife population to benefit a hunted species, such as the state of Alaska’s war on bears and wolves in order to grow more moose and caribou, is not allowed. The park service has regularly identified state hunting regulations that conflict with how it manages wildlife, and has repeatedly submitted requests for the Alaska Board of Game to either change the rules or exempt NPS lands. Since 2000, NPCA has documented more than 60 times where the state has rejected reasonable requests and adopted hunting regulations that conflict with the National Park Service wildlife management mandate, which provides for natural and healthy wildlife populations on park service lands.

“Through its proposed regulation changes, the National Park Service is doing exactly what the Alaska Board of Game has asked it to do over the years – create its own rules to guide how wildlife is managed and protected on its lands open to sport hunting,” said Stratton. “Alaska’s national parks and preserves attract visitors from around the world for the opportunity to see animals like bears and wolves – alive. Intensive management, or killing bears and wolves to increase moose and caribou populations is something the state has the authority to allow on its lands; and now we’re asking for the state to respect the National Park Service’s efforts to protect its lands, where sport hunting is allowed. Predator control and national park lands just don’t mix.”

The park service will host public hearings in communities in and around Alaska’s national parks and preserves. The public comment period for draft regulations runs through December 3, 2014.

Click here for additional information on Alaska’s intensive management policies.

Click here to view the National Park Service’s proposed regulation changes.

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About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.