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Board of Game supports shortened wolf hunting season north of Denali National Park

May 8, 2016

Proposal-141-webNPS Proposal passes at March Statewide Regulations Meeting

Without admitting that there is a conservation problem for Denali wolves, the Alaska Board of Game recently voted, 5-2, to shorten the wolf hunting season on a limited area of state lands in the Wolf Townships (see map on this page). This shortened season was brought forth by the National Park Service in Proposal 141, and was defended before the Board of Game by Superintendent Don Striker and Resources Chief Dave Schirokauer at its Statewide Regulations meeting in Fairbanks, March 18-29, 2016.  Proposal 141 ended wolf hunting on April 15th rather than May 31st. Board members Turner, Brown, Spraker, Hoffman and Probasco voted Yes, members Sager-Albaugh and Fanning voted No.

We celebrate this seemingly small but still significant change in regulation of hunting on lands outside Read more

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Middle Nenana AC looks at NPS proposal to shorten wolf season – Tuesday Feb 16

February 15, 2016

wolfWhat: Middle Nenana River Fish and Game Advisory Committee
Where: Anderson Lion’s club
Time: Tuesday, February 16th, 6 PM
Agenda: Middle Nenana River AC Agenda 2016 Feb 16

Recently, DCC filed an agenda change request for the Board of Game to consider a wolf buffer at its March 2016 meeting in Fairbanks, in order to protect Denali Park wolves when they venture onto state lands northeast of the park. The National Park Service, unbeknownst to us, had also filed an ACR, using similar arguments but asking for a different solution. NPS asked that the Board shorten wolf hunting season from the current season, Aug 10 – May 31, to Aug 10 – April 15th, to help spare wolves that venture from the park during reproductive season and when more hunters are in the field at bear baiting stations (season starts April 30th).

The NPS ACR, ACR #20 (click to read), was accepted, and will considered as a proposal at the Board of Game meeting March 18-27 in Fairbanks.  On Tuesday February 16th, the Middle Nenana Fish and Game AC, our local advisory group, will meet in Anderson to discuss this and other proposals, and vote on its recommendations to the Board of Game.

Although a long drive, this meeting should prove to be interesting, as the Committee considers a variety of proposals destined to be heard by the Board of Game at its upcoming meeting.

 

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DCC Submits Comments on Agnew::Beck recommendations

November 1, 2015

boroughcolorThis past weekend, DCC submitted comments on the Draft recommendations of the consulting firm Agnew::Beck to the Denali Borough on land classification and management.  The comments addressed issues brought up by the consulting firm around land management processes, conflicts and next steps in this young borough.  Please read our comments below.

DCC Comments Agnew::Beck recommendations to Denali Borough

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DCC submits comments on Denali Trails Plan scoping

October 31, 2015

DCC submitted comments today supporting the existing vision for trails in the Denali National Park backcountry and suggesting that formal (built) trails be analyzed under a Formal Trails Plan.  We suggested some other areas where trails could be developed and gave our position on pets and bicycles.  Feel free to read our comments at the link below.

DCC- Trails Plan Scoping 2015

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Denali Borough to have meetings to discuss Agnew::Beck land planning recommendations

September 29, 2015

Color_Borough_Logo_WebATTEND A MEETING AND SHARE YOUR VIEWS 

The consulting firm of Agnew::Beck was recently hired by the Denali Borough to assist with creating a management system for Borough owned land. Agnew::Beck has created a draft report and is looking for public comment on it.  Read a copy of the Agnew::Beck land management recommendations, along with a trove of information on borough land planning at the Denali Borough Land Management page.


To learn more and share your views, please attend one of the following meetings:
October 12, 2015 6 pm – 7:30 pm   Tri-Valley Community Center in Healy
October 13, 2015 6 pm – 7:30 pm   Anderson City Council Chambers (before the Anderson City Council meeting)
October 14, 2015 5 pm – 6:30 pm   McKinley Park Community Center (before the Denali Borough Assembly meeting)
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New report presents Denali Borough demographics

September 13, 2015

Denali-Borough-webThe State Department of Labor and Workforce development recently published, in its September magazine, Alaska Economic Trends, an update on Denali Borough demographics.  Read this interesting report in the magazine, linked below.

Alaska Economic Trends – Sept 2015

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DCC Comments on Draft Alaska Wildlife Action Plan

September 7, 2015

IMG_6278

We suggested that Dall’s Sheep be considered a sentinel species.

The Draft Plan, which seeks to list species of greatest conservation need in Alaska, and use federal funding to monitor and protect them, is available for download here.  Overall, the plan is very comprehensive and interesting, and its listings and concerns are well-presented. The problem of climate change is well-presented and actions to protect and preserve species in the face of climate change are committed to.

Public comment was solicited on the Draft Plan, with a deadline of September 4.  DCC’s comments made suggestions, asked questions and pointed out problems with the scope of this plan.  Read our comments below.

DCC Comments on Draft Wildlife Action Plan 2015-  submitted on September 4, 2015

 

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Wolf hunting on state lands next to Denali closed by Emergency Order – what’s next for Denali wolves?

July 11, 2015

NPS photo

NPS photo

After three deaths of Denali’s East Fork Pack wolves this spring, all caused by human activities on state lands next to Denali, DCC members and others called for an Emergency Closure of these lands to wolf hunting for the rest of the season, May 31st in Game Management Unit 20C. On May 14th, the Director of the Alaska Division of Wildlife Conservation, Bruce Dale, signed an order to establish the closure.

While we are certain that the abundant public request for this closure influenced the decision, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game assured us that our arguments were not convincing and that the decision was made for a very specific and narrow reason – the unforeseen consequence of recently adopted regulations placing more hunters in the field during spring brown bear baiting activities.

At this point, wolf hunting will open on August 10, 2015 on state lands surrounding the national park and will continue until May 30th, 2016, barring any new closures or orders. Meanwhile, advocates for creating a no wolf-take area surrounding the northeast corner of the park are continuing the pressure, including a group that recently met with Governor Bill Walker and Commissioner Sam Cotten in support of a buffer easement, a land management designation that would bypass the Board of Game decision-making process.  The DCC Board has preferred to use the Board of Game process, and we have collaborated with the Alaska Wildlife Alliance to draft a Proposal for the Board of Game’s 2016 meeting. Look for copies of our Proposal in another post. We are acutely aware that the Board of Game has not been receptive to proposals advocating non-consumptive use allocations recently. However, we remain hopeful that with wolf numbers low, and given the importance of the Denali region for wolf viewing and for NPS’s wolf-study program, the evidence for a buffer is mounting.

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Open Letter to Alaska Director of Wildlife Conservation supports closure

May 9, 2015

From: nancy@denalicitizens.org
Sent: Saturday, May 09, 2015 12:55 PM
To: bruce.dale@alaska.gov
Subject: Denali wolves emergency closure

Dear Mr. Dale,

I spoke with you briefly at the recent Board of Game meeting regarding wolf numbers in Unit 20C overall and adjacent to Denali Park. At that time I mentioned that ADF&G had, in its most recent management report, established a density goal for wolves, and that numbers both inside the park portion of 20C and in the GMU as a whole are well below that density number.

Although it is unclear if the Department intends to adopt management practices to support that density goal, it is nevertheless in print as a goal. Despite this goal, the Board of Game recently increased the hunting bag limit from 5 to 10 wolves in 20C, next to the park, and continues to maintain a late hunting season, until May 31st.  Now, with wolf numbers lower inside Denali and packs vulnerable to hunting in the townships north of the park, the density numbers will fall again.

I, and my organization, the Denali Citizens Council, support an emergency closure of the remaining wolf hunting season on state lands northeast of Denali National Park, as a way to support wolves who den in the park and predictably venture into the Wolf Townships, and as a way for the department to manage for its stated density goals.  This pattern of wolf out-migration from Denali has been in place since the 1980s and happens whether or not the park has a “prey problem,” following late winter cyclic-migration of caribou. It is well known that the East Fork wolves denned close to the northern boundary this year, and the pack has already suffered three trapping/hunting losses, one a pregnant female. There are 22 days left in the season and no guarantee that the alpha female of the East Fork pack will not be shot.

It is well within your purview and authority to do an emergency closure now, based on Fish and Game-stated density goals and management vision for wolves. The fact that the statewide population of wolves is not threatened should not be an impediment to making this closure, as the Department often manages at the subunit level when the situation demands. Many folks have stressed to you the importance of these wolves to those who visit the Denali region. Their importance for the viewing public is not simply a National Park goal, it is a stated goal in published ADF&G documents.

In the history of this issue, there has been a tendency for the biologists to tell us that we must go the board of game and then for the board of game to send us back to the biologists. This reluctance to address the issue of Denali wolves from either side of your department has placed it in a sort of regulatory limbo for almost six years now.  Meanwhile the wolf numbers have declined inside Denali to numbers so low that every single death gains significance, especially if the wolf is pregnant.  Controlling human take at such times can be an effective tool for supporting Department goals.

The Denali Citizens Council is composed of close to 300 members, most of whom have lived or now live in communities around the park. Many of our members recently wrote to the Commissioner asking for this closure.  Please don’t hand this closure off to the Board of Game.  They will not be able to handle it before the end of the season. If you or the Commissioner do not perform this closure, it will not happen.

 

Respectfully,

Nancy Bale
Denali Citizens Council

 

 

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DCC joins others in asking for Emergency Wolf Hunting Closure

May 9, 2015

wolfAfter the loss of three individuals, one a pregnant female, to the East Fork pack, which last year denned very close to the northern boundary of the park, DCC joined a number of local and regional voices in requesting an Emergency Closure to wolf hunting of state lands adjacent to the northeast corner of Denali National Park, for the rest of the season, which ends May 31st.  Although time is ticking along and we’ve heard nothing yet from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, we are watching carefully for word.

 

Dan Bross of KUAC radio has done an excellent series of broadcasts on this topic. See his latest one at http://fm.kuac.org/post/denali-wolf-shootings-add-population-decline

 

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Wolf Monitoring report details three human-caused deaths this spring

May 6, 2015

Denali wolves remained highly vulnerable this spring, with two dens east of the Savage River and one pack, East Fork,  subject to attrition through both hunting and trapping. A report detailing the situation of Denali wolves was made available this week. Read it below.

Denali Wolf Monitoring 2015 – 5-5-2015 Update

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Jan-Feb DCC News now online

April 28, 2015

Cover page DCC NewsRead why we supported a recent emergency petition for wolf buffers, information on small hydro in the Denali Borough, the Community debate on coal, and updated news on the Stampede State SRA proposal. This is a large file, and will take a little time to download.

Jan-Feb DCC News 2015

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