Why Risk Another Tourist Boycott with Wolf Policy?

Juneau Empire / Letters to the Editor / May 8, 2003


Is our Legislature in denial of the past as it considers the passage of HB 208 and SB 155? These bills would enable the Board of Game to enact predator control with aerial, one-day, land-and-shoot practices. This practice is so archaic, brutal, and unethical (not giving to fair chase) that in the early 1990s there was a tourist boycott of our state, which promoted initiatives in 1996 and 2000 that ultimately banned aerial, one-day, land-and-shoot practices.

One would think that such past history would have prevented such bills from rearing their ugly heads again, but no, the public's tolerance for such wildlife management is being tested again.

There are several disturbing aspects of this bill which prompt me to believe that it will be used as a smoke screen to ward off another tourist boycott should it be adopted. Those aspects include the following: The Board of Game does not need the backing of the Department of Fish and Game or the backing of the governor to enact aerial predator control and the predator control itself will be implemented by private citizens, not by the state. I believe that gives the illusion to those that live "outside" that it is not the state of Alaska that is supporting and enacting aerial predator control, but it is some entity other than the state, thereby decreasing the risk of another tourist boycott. I believe that tourists will see through this smoke screen in a second. The economic impact of these bills could be considerable. With this in mind why would our Legislature consider passing bills that are clearly not in the best economic interest of our state? Why would our Legislature consider passing bills that have been voted down by Alaskans twice?

It is incumbent on us to notify the legislators in our districts to oppose these bills and to encourage them to have their colleagues do the same.

-- Jenny Pursell / Juneau

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