Legislature(1999 - 2000)

02/28/2000 01:17 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
HB  349 - FISH AND GAME/REFUGES/HABITAT & USE AREAS                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR MASEK  announced that the  first order of  business would                                                              
be HOUSE BILL NO. 349, "An Act relating  to powers of the Board of                                                              
Game,  means of  access for  hunting, trapping,  and fishing,  the                                                              
definition of 'means' and 'methods,'  and hunting safety education                                                              
and  game  conservation   education  programs;  relating   to  the                                                              
purposes of  game refuges, fish  and game critical  habitat areas,                                                              
and public use areas."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 0108                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
EDDIE GRASSER, Legislative Aide for  Representative Beverly Masek,                                                              
Alaska  State  Legislature,  indicated  Representative  Masek  had                                                              
introduced  HB 349  in response  to the  continuing problems  with                                                              
wildlife  management and  the legitimate  human  uses of  wildlife                                                              
resources.   He explained that  American culture has  changed over                                                              
the  past century  from  being  predominantly  rural.   The  urban                                                              
culture  that now  exists  has moved  away  from the  ties to  the                                                              
natural resources  that more  rural people have.   He  pointed out                                                              
that several  groups have arisen in  the last half of  the century                                                              
that are  either less  than understanding of  rural values  or are                                                              
outright  against them.    These groups  have  pursued agendas  to                                                              
close down trapping, and hunting  and, in some instances, fishing;                                                              
or they have tried to use strategies  that limit human consumptive                                                              
uses through  the curtailment  of management  strategies,  such as                                                              
predator-prey relationship management.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GRASSER indicated  that, for  the  most part,  "environmental                                                              
extremist  groups"  really  do  not  care  about  conservation  of                                                              
wildlife.    The   history  of  their  finances   shows  that  the                                                              
predominant  share  of their  financial  resources  has gone  into                                                              
activities such  as limiting or  curtailing trapping,  hunting and                                                              
fishing or  other resource  uses.  He  pointed out that  in direct                                                              
contrast to that, trappers, hunters  and fisherman have pushed for                                                              
legislation   on  the  national   scene  to  promote   responsible                                                              
conservation of wildlife and the  continued uses of wildlife; they                                                              
have  also  contributed  billions  of  dollars out  of  their  own                                                              
pockets  to  groups  like  Ducks  Unlimited,  Rocky  Mountain  Elk                                                              
Foundation,  the  Foundation for  North  American  Wild Sheep  and                                                              
other  groups.   Mr.  Grasser  stated  that the  changing  dynamic                                                              
between rural  versus urban culture  in America has also  begun to                                                              
affect the philosophy  of some personnel of the  Alaska Department                                                              
of Fish & Game (ADF&G), where biologists  support the anti-hunting                                                              
movement.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRASSER  noted that HB 349  has several sections  dealing with                                                              
issues of importance to the hunting  and trapping public.  Section                                                              
1 attempts  to direct  ADF&G and  the Board of  Game to  adhere to                                                              
management  philosophies which clearly  support wildlife  programs                                                              
that include actual efforts by ADF&G  to maintain and enhance game                                                              
populations  for  human  consumption.   The  current  language  in                                                              
Section 1 and 2 directs ADF&G to develop wildlife resources.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GRASSER  noted  that  a  few   years  ago  the  Alaska  State                                                              
Legislature  had strengthened  Section 2  by including  amendments                                                              
that set  forth rules  for active  management to  take place.   He                                                              
said that  regardless of  actions by the  Board of Game  and other                                                              
pleas by  rural Alaskans,  thus far ADF&G  has been unable  to act                                                              
upon recommendations by the Board  of Game.  He explained that the                                                              
change  from "development"  to "enhancement"  is  intended to  add                                                              
more strength to  the intensive management rules that  were put in                                                              
place.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRASSER turned attention to Section  3.  It requires the Board                                                              
of  Fisheries  and the  Board  of  Game  to follow  certain  rules                                                              
whenever contemplating further restrictions  on access.  In recent                                                              
years, he  noted, ADF&G  and the  boards have proposed  increasing                                                              
restrictions on access, but little  evidence has demonstrated need                                                              
in relation to  biological concerns.  He surmised  that ADF&G will                                                              
express  opposition   to  Section  3  because  of   the  need  for                                                              
flexibility  to restrict  access in  order to  better manage  user                                                              
groups;  the department  also may argue  that biological  concerns                                                              
will arise if HB  349 passes.  He noted that millions  of acres in                                                              
Alaska already  are off-limits  to motorized  access.   He further                                                              
suggested  that  ADF&G would  argue  that  there is  little  need,                                                              
outside of  biological reasons, to  limit access further.   As for                                                              
the second concern,  the language in Section 3  clearly allows for                                                              
Board of Fisheries  and Board of Game [to take]  action where they                                                              
find it  necessary for sustained  yield management that  is needed                                                              
for enhancement or protection of  habitat, or that is necessary to                                                              
protect the  values within legislatively  approved areas,  such as                                                              
wildlife refuges.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GRASSER  explained   that  Section  4  defines   "means"  and                                                              
"methods."    The  intent  is to  come  up  with  some  reasonable                                                              
statutory parameters for the Board  of Game to follow, rather than                                                              
leaving  a  loophole.   Section  5  amends the  language  creating                                                              
refuges, so  that it is clear  that trapping, hunting  and fishing                                                              
are  legitimate uses  of  those areas.    Refuges were  originally                                                              
suggested and supported  by hunters for a variety  of reasons, Mr.                                                              
Grasser  asserted; however,  the  agenda of  the  environmentalist                                                              
community  has recently  included action  to eliminate hunting  in                                                              
these  areas.   He  noted that  Congress  recently passed  similar                                                              
legislation protecting  trapping, hunting and fishing  on national                                                              
refuges.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GRASSER noted  that  Sections 7,  8 and  9  relate to  hunter                                                              
education and wildlife  conservation education.   He surmised that                                                              
ADF&G likely  will have a problem  with the mandatory  language in                                                              
Section 7, but he indicated that  is something that should be able                                                              
to be  worked out.   Sections 8  and 9 are  permissive and  do not                                                              
require  any grants  to  be made,  nor do  they  allow any  grants                                                              
unless approved  by the  legislature; however,  they restrict  any                                                              
grants  to  groups  organized to  support  and  protect  trapping,                                                              
hunting and fishing.   Sections 8 and 9 are in  direct response to                                                              
materials put  out by ADF&G  that cast  hunting and trapping  in a                                                              
bad light.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRASSER explained  that those educational materials  have been                                                              
amended  and   reissued;  however,   [ADF&G]  is  still   weak  on                                                              
supporting human consumptive uses  as legitimate.  He said this is                                                              
of great  concern because  many teachers  in public education  are                                                              
less than supportive of hunting and  trapping.  He indicated it is                                                              
also of great  concern that ADF&G will not lend  its very credible                                                              
support of  hunting and trapping  when ballot initiatives  dealing                                                              
with  wildlife uses  arise.   Sections  10  through  19 deal  with                                                              
public use areas;  again, the new language is  intended to protect                                                              
human consumptive uses as legitimate  in those areas.  Mr. Grasser                                                              
concluded  that it  is clear  that anti-hunting  groups, by  their                                                              
very nature, cannot work constructively with consumptive users.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0933                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY  requested clarification as  to whether Mr.                                                              
Grasser was indicating that ADF&G has made false statements.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRASSER  clarified that  he had  said anti-hunting  groups put                                                              
false information on television.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COWDERY   wondered  if  ADF&G  has   always  given                                                              
straight answers.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRASSER  indicated that  it would be  a difficult  question to                                                              
answer.  He stated that he believes,  in his relationship with the                                                              
department,   that  he   has  received   good  answers  from   the                                                              
biologists.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE requested clarification  on the reference Mr.                                                              
Grasser had made to ballot initiatives  with regard to aerial wolf                                                              
hunting.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRASSER  said ADF&G was  supposed to weigh  in on the  side of                                                              
legitimate hunting and trapping with  regard to the value of land-                                                              
and-shoot  methods  that  give some  protection  to  the  ungulate                                                              
population, which [the department]  refused to do, contending that                                                              
it was a public matter that the voters needed to decide upon.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1136                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
RICK  THOMPSON, Regional  Manager,  Division of  Mining, Land  and                                                              
Water,  Department  of  Natural  Resources  (DNR),  testified  via                                                              
teleconference from  Anchorage.   He indicated that  his testimony                                                              
was primarily in  reference to Sections 10 through  19, the public                                                              
use  areas.    He informed  members  that  the  public  use  areas                                                              
currently  are under  complete  management of  DNR,  which is  not                                                              
shared with ADF&G.  He expressed  concern with the language in the                                                              
bill;  he suggested  the  changes regarding  the  purposes of  the                                                              
public use  areas give  more of  a flavor of a refuge,  as opposed                                                              
to a  public use  area.   He mentioned  that DNR  does not  manage                                                              
motorized access on general public-domain  state land for fish and                                                              
game purposes.   Rather,  [DNR] limits  its scope  and purpose  to                                                              
public access and the effect on the resources.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  informed members  that as the  land manager  for the                                                              
Nelchina Public  Use Area,  he is unaware  of any situation  where                                                              
DNR has  considered or implemented  any restrictions  on motorized                                                              
access.   He  mentioned  that DNR  has been  contemplating  resort                                                              
development  for many years,  a part  of which  is in the  Hatcher                                                              
Pass Public Use  Area, and he is not sure how  the language in the                                                              
bill will affect that.  He noted  that in general the department's                                                              
main concern is  the changing of the flavor of the  purpose of the                                                              
public use areas and what the management intent is there.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BARNES recalled  there  being considerable  public                                                              
debate relating  to the use of  off-road vehicles in  the Nelchina                                                              
Public Use  Area, specifically, to  closing the area  to motorized                                                              
use.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMPSON  confirmed  that  the debate  did  take  place,  but                                                              
indicated that, as  far as he knows, that [closing]  has not taken                                                              
place.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BARNES referred to  Mr. Thompson's testimony  that                                                              
DNR has  not considered  closing any areas  to off-road use.   She                                                              
asked whether she had heard him correctly.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  replied that  he did  say that.   He indicated  that                                                              
[DNR]  would consider  anything  that  came up  in  the matter  of                                                              
public process.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BARNES said she does  not want committee members to                                                              
be misled into believing something that is a falsehood.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1412                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRASSER  explained that  the intent of  HB 349 was  to protect                                                              
the traditional uses:  hunting, fishing  and trapping.  He said it                                                              
may  create some  tension with  DNR,  but he  believes that  ADF&G                                                              
still retains the management authority  over the wildlife on those                                                              
lands.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 1466                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ROD ARNO  testified via  teleconference from  Wasilla.   He stated                                                              
that he  is in favor  of HB 349,  particularly when the  number of                                                              
Alaskans purchasing  hunting licenses is approximately  15 percent                                                              
of  the total  population.   He said  he understands  the need  to                                                              
protect the minority.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1538                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
WAYNE  REGELIN,  Director,  Division   of  Wildlife  Conservation,                                                              
Alaska Department  of Fish & Game,  agreed with many of  the goals                                                              
Mr. Grasser  had pointed  out for HB  349.  However,  he expressed                                                              
concern with some of the specific  language changes and the effect                                                              
they  might have  on the  management of  wildlife in  Alaska.   He                                                              
stated:                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1  of the bill  changes the reason  for creating                                                                   
     the Board  of Game from conservation and  development of                                                                   
     Alaska's   game  resources   to  the  conservation   and                                                                   
     enhancement  of these resources  - sounds like  a simple                                                                   
     change,   to  change  something   from  development   to                                                                   
     enhancement,  but  this  could  have  some  ...  serious                                                                   
     unintended consequences.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     The  supreme  court  has  defined   development  of  our                                                                   
     natural resources to make them  available for human use.                                                                   
     Enhancement,   however,   relates    to   improving   or                                                                   
     increasing  the  size  or  the   health  of  a  wildlife                                                                   
     population  without regard  to human  utilization.   And                                                                   
     traditionally the Board of Game  has adopted regulations                                                                   
     providing  for an allocation  of wildlife resources  for                                                                   
     human  use.    This language  change  would  change  the                                                                   
     emphasis  in   our  management   from  the  size   of  a                                                                   
     population rather than its use.   It could result in the                                                                   
     curtailment  of   hunting  opportunities  in   order  to                                                                   
     increase wildlife populations.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     The language  we have  now I don't  see a problem  with.                                                                   
     At the  least, I would say  that you would want  to have                                                                   
     both  enhancement  and  development,  but  certainly  we                                                                   
     should keep  the [word]  "development" in this  section.                                                                   
     Section 2 does the same thing,  just in a different part                                                                   
     of the statutes.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1670                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOULE wondered  how  Section 1  would  apply to  a                                                              
situation where  there is predator  control, for instance,  in the                                                              
McGrath area.   He asked whether  it would change how  ADF&G would                                                              
manage the moose resource.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN  responded that  he does  not believe so.   If  it did                                                              
anything,  it would  make it more  difficult to  do wolf  control,                                                              
because it  would put the emphasis  on the size of  the population                                                              
rather than on the use of the population.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR HUDSON wondered about the  court decisions, which Mr. had                                                              
Regelin referred  to, that speak  to development as it  relates to                                                              
the use of  the game.  He  asked whether enhancement  may conflict                                                              
with those court decisions.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR  REGELIN replied  that he  believes so.   He  indicated he  has                                                              
discussed it with the Department  of Law at length, and there is a                                                              
very  specific  ruling  by  the   Alaska  Supreme  Court  on  what                                                              
development means in relation to  fish and wildlife resources.  It                                                              
means "to make them available for human use."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  REGELIN  noted  that  Section   3  would  limit  the  boards'                                                              
authority  to  restrict the  methods  of  access for  purposes  of                                                              
taking fish  or game.   The Board of  Fisheries and Board  of Game                                                              
would only be able to limit access  in a hunt, in an area that the                                                              
legislature had  designated, or  if a majority  of the  local fish                                                              
and  game  advisory  committees   from  the  area  agreed  to  the                                                              
restriction.   For example, the Board  of Game would no  longer be                                                              
able to  use access  restrictions to  reduce conflicts  among user                                                              
groups unless the local advisory committees agreed.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  REGELIN noted  that  there are  many  control  use areas,  to                                                              
reduce conflicts among  different user groups.   Therefore, HB 349                                                              
would  create a  cumbersome  and probably  unworkable  requirement                                                              
that local fish and game advisory  committees approve restrictions                                                              
on  traditional  access, because  most  of these  committees  meet                                                              
infrequently;  achieving a  consensus among  the different  groups                                                              
could take years.   Mr. Regelin indicated that he  has always felt                                                              
strongly  that the  advisory committee  [system]  is an  excellent                                                              
one, but it should be advisory and  should not have veto authority                                                              
over decisions made by the Board of Game.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1917                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  MASEK interjected  that with  regard to  Section 3,  the                                                              
Board of  Game had passed a  measure asking the  Administration to                                                              
help out  in the  McGrath area,  and apparently  there is  nothing                                                              
happening with that.   The Governor is not listening  to the Board                                                              
of Game's wishes, she maintained,  which are to have ADF&G come in                                                              
and help with the  moose and wolf problem.  She  asked Mr. Regelin                                                              
to continue with his testimony.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  REGELIN said  he understands  the  issue in  McGrath, but  he                                                              
doesn't think  access to  the area  is at issue  there.   He noted                                                              
that Section  4 would define "method"  and "means" in  statute and                                                              
restrict them to "tools, implements,  devices or vehicles employed                                                              
to take fish  and game."   He explained that although  methods and                                                              
means  are not  currently  defined in  statute  or regulation,  an                                                              
entire section of  the codified regulations deals  with method and                                                              
means.  He  pointed out that the  method and means -  or the rules                                                              
in the  regulations that  are not  specific to tools,  implements,                                                              
devices  or  vehicles  -  would  go away,  the  way  the  bill  is                                                              
currently  structured, or  would have to  be restructured  somehow                                                              
into another  part of the regulation.   He suggested that  if that                                                              
is not  the intent,  the [sponsor]  needs to figure  out a  way to                                                              
restructure Section  4 so that it  doesn't have some of  the rules                                                              
go away that are essential for wildlife management.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  REGELIN turned  attention to  Section 5.   He  noted that  it                                                              
expands the purposes of state game  refuges to include enhancement                                                              
of fish  and game, fish  and game  habitat and traditional  public                                                              
uses of fish and game.  It makes  the perpetuation and enhancement                                                              
of public  recreation in a refuge  or critical habitat  area equal                                                              
in value to  the conservation, protection and  enhancement of fish                                                              
and game.   The addition of  the language "perpetuate  and enhance                                                              
general public  recreation in a  quality environment" is  going to                                                              
make it very  difficult and probably more expensive  to manage the                                                              
ten state  wildlife refuges.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN reiterated  that what the bill is  putting traditional                                                              
access and recreation on the same  level as protection of habitat,                                                              
which  could create  some real  problems.   For instance,  [ADF&G]                                                              
needs  to restrict  certain  types  of access  such  as kayaks  in                                                              
Potter's Marsh so  that they don't disturb the  nesting waterfowl.                                                              
He said  that he is  very proud of  [the state's] ability  to keep                                                              
refuges open to all the traditional  uses and to hunting.  He does                                                              
not see any reason  to change that at this point,  and he believes                                                              
that it would be more detrimental than helpful.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN  pointed out  that Section  7 would eliminate  ADF&G's                                                              
authority  to develop  its hunter  safety  education program,  and                                                              
would only  authorize the department  to assist private  nonprofit                                                              
organizations  in developing  a hunter  safety education  program.                                                              
He emphasized that ADF&G has an excellent  hunter safety education                                                              
program;  it  provides  a  coordinated  delivery  system  that  is                                                              
consistent all  across the state.   If the  bill were to  pass, he                                                              
would be concerned with the consistency  in the course and whether                                                              
it would be  delivered statewide.  Furthermore,  losing the direct                                                              
link from the department to the hunters could be detrimental.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 2244                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE  asked how long  it has taken to  develop the                                                              
hunter  safety education  program.   He  also asked  what kind  of                                                              
resources have been put into it, up to this point.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  REGELIN  explained  that  [ADF&G]  has had  a  hunter  safety                                                              
education program since the mid-1960s.   It is available mainly in                                                              
the urban areas, but in the last  year [the department] has worked                                                              
on  remote delivery  systems through  the Internet  and videos  so                                                              
that they can  deliver the course statewide.  Five  years ago, the                                                              
budget was about  $200,000 a year; however, that  has increased in                                                              
the last  five years  to $450,000  a year.   He believes  that the                                                              
increased funding is  an investment in the future  of hunting.  He                                                              
referred  to a comment  made by  Mr. Grasser  about hunting  being                                                              
under attack;  he said  one way to  respond to  that is  through a                                                              
hunter  safety education  program,  making sure  that hunters  are                                                              
responsible users of the wildlife resources.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  HUDSON referred  to  the subsistence  issue.   He  asked                                                              
whether Mr.  Regelin foresees any  conflict with regard  to access                                                              
for hunting,  trapping and  fishing with the  new regimen  that is                                                              
coming down in federal regulations.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN  answered that he does  not see any direct  link right                                                              
now.   The state management  system utilizes controlled-use  areas                                                              
in a  variety of ways,  which the  federal agencies will  probably                                                              
never do because  they have the mandate to provide  an opportunity                                                              
for subsistence hunting  only to subsistence users  based on where                                                              
they live.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR HUDSON  asked Mr.  Regelin if he  would look into  that a                                                              
little more.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2549                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN said he would.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOULE asked  whether  the bill,  in its  entirety,                                                              
would help or hinder predator control.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN indicated  that the bill would take  the emphasis away                                                              
from uses  of a wildlife  resource and place  it on the size  of a                                                              
wildlife  resource.   He does  not  believe that  action would  be                                                              
wise, because it  could harm the efforts to  provide opportunities                                                              
for  human  uses   of  wildlife  resources.     He  believes  that                                                              
enhancement and  development are  very different things,  he said,                                                              
and  if   the  bill  moves   forward,  he  recommends   that  [the                                                              
legislature] consider using both words.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2621                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DICK  BISHOP,  Vice  President,   Alaska  Outdoor  Council  (AOC),                                                              
indicated that the AOC is very interested  in some of the concepts                                                              
expressed in HB 349, such as the  protection of traditional access                                                              
for fishing,  hunting and trapping; improving  habitat maintenance                                                              
in public  use areas; and  expanding support for  hunter education                                                              
and game  conservation education.   However, there is  language in                                                              
the bill  that needs additional  work.  He  said the AOC  would be                                                              
willing to work with the committee.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR MASEK responded  that it is encouraging  to know, because                                                              
part of the process is making a good bill even better.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
NANCY  HILLSTRAND  testified  via  teleconference  from  Homer  in                                                              
opposition  to  HB  349.    She said  she  agrees  with  what  the                                                              
testifiers from ADF&G and DNR had  stated.  She believes they have                                                              
a good democratic  process presently, which allows  them to battle                                                              
controversies,  and  it  is  a bad  idea  to  have  any  knee-jerk                                                              
reactions at this  time.  She pointed out that  society is gaining                                                              
recognition of what multiple-use  means, and the need is to reduce                                                              
conflict, not create  conflict.  She also noted the  need to allow                                                              
the Board  of Game and  the Board of  Fisheries to work  without a                                                              
stranglehold.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 2847                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN SCHRADER, Conservation Advocate,  Alaska Conservation Voters                                                              
(ACV), stated  that the ACV is  a nonprofit entity  that currently                                                              
represents  over  40  Alaskan  organizations,   as  well  as  some                                                              
business  members.  Altogether,  ACV represents  more than  22,000                                                              
registered  Alaskan  voters; members  can  be  found in  all  user                                                              
groups   of   Alaska  wildlife,   including   subsistence   users,                                                              
recreational  hunters, wildlife  viewers and  photographers.   The                                                              
ACV  respects and  appreciates the  long, rich  tradition held  by                                                              
Alaskans,  Native  and  non-Native alike,  regarding  the  state's                                                              
wildlife  resources.     The  ACV   also  acknowledges   that  the                                                              
opportunity to view and use the wildlife  resources extends to all                                                              
Americans and, indeed, to visitors from other countries.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. SCHRADER  indicated ACV  supports wildlife management  actions                                                              
that are  based on unbiased  scientific studies which  reflect the                                                              
values of  most Alaskans.   Therefore,  members have been  greatly                                                              
concerned about the continuing position  taken by the Alaska State                                                              
Legislature   that   fails   to    recognize   the   legislature's                                                              
responsibilities  under the  Constitution of  the State of  Alaska                                                              
and the  Public Trust  Doctrine to  care of  the wildlife  for the                                                              
benefit of all Alaskans.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SCHRADER  explained that  the  first  concern with  the  bill                                                              
relates  to  the  substitution  of   the  word  "enhancement"  for                                                              
"development."    The ACV  has  great concern  that  "enhancement"                                                              
clearly  mandates principles  that  are single-mindedly  aimed  at                                                              
increasing  a population,  whereas "development"  embodies a  full                                                              
range of policies that address the  long-term benefits of wildlife                                                              
resources  for all user  groups.   The ACV  has always  maintained                                                              
that  the  Board of  Game  and  ADF&G  should  not have  any  more                                                              
restrictions placed  on them as far  as their ability  to regulate                                                              
access, particularly motorized access.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 00-15, SIDE B                                                                                                              
Number 2952                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SCHRADER  further  stated  that  Section  5  is  particularly                                                              
disconcerting because  it expands the management  mandate of ADF&G                                                              
over all of  refuges in the state.   Many of those refuges  - such                                                              
as  Creamer's Field,  McNeil River,  "Anchorage  Coastal" and  the                                                              
Mendenhall Wetlands  - are highly prized by Alaskans  and visitors                                                              
to the  state.   To statutorily  mandate that  activities such  as                                                              
hunting,  trapping and  motorized recreation  be permitted  in all                                                              
refuges  clearly  fails  to  recognize  that some  areas  must  be                                                              
managed to avoid conflicting uses.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. SCHRADER  pointed out that in  Section 9 the ACV's  concern is                                                              
with requiring  that ADF&G restrict  its  grants  to organizations                                                              
that promote  and advocate  hunting and trapping.   The  ACV would                                                              
suggest  authorizing   grants  only   to  organizations   that  do                                                              
educational work, not advocacy work.   Members ACV join with other                                                              
Alaskans  who  are  calling  for  balanced,  fair  and  farsighted                                                              
wildlife   management  decisions   based  upon   the  best,   most                                                              
comprehensive,  unbiased  scientific  data  available.    The  ACV                                                              
cannot  support  HB 349  in  its  current  form, because  so  many                                                              
provisions run counter to that approach.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR MASEK announced  that testimony on HB  349 was concluded.                                                              
She indicated  that she  intended to work  on the bill  with ADF&G                                                              
and other parties  who have concerns,  and to take it up  again as                                                              
soon as possible.  [HB 349 was held over.]                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                

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