Nothing's Changed; Fish and Wildlife Protection Needs to Stay Separate

Letters to the Editor / Anchorage Daily News / May 20, 2003


Once again the Murkowski administration is putting the screws to Alaskans. Your May 3 issue explained that Joel Hard, director of Alaska fish and wildlife protection, had retired rather than stay and see the trooper division swallow up the fish and wildlife protection division ("State's top fish and wildlife officer retires," May 3).

Having worked as a game warden for a few decades, stationed in Petersburg, Cordova, Valdez, Palmer, Homer and Dutch, I well know the importance of retaining the division as a separate entity.

This long-simmering attempt by the troopers to obtain control of the fish and wildlife protection budget has been addressed many times over the years but was successfully fought off until this coup de grace. A story in the August 1985 issue of Alaska magazine titled "Alaska Game Wardens -- An Endangered Species?" effectively summed the issue up, explaining how this malignancy was being orchestrated. User groups worked with various legislators, bringing enough heat to halt the attempted coup. Those who are truly concerned about the Alaska fish and wildlife must get off their butts and contact their legislators.

In 1985, Director of Fish and Wildlife Protection Red Henderson, addressing this issue, wrote: "To provide the enforcement control necessary to reduce the rampant over-harvesting and destruction of our wildlife resources, an enforcement branch of specially trained officers ... is necessary to do the job." Things haven't changed.

-- Lew Brantley / Sequim, Washinton

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