Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

02/15/2017 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 105 DENALI WOLF SPECIAL MANAGEMENT AREA TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Public/Invited> --
+= HB 40 TRAPPING NEAR PUBLIC TRAILS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Public/Invited> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
           HB 105-DENALI WOLF SPECIAL MANAGEMENT AREA                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:09:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON announced  that the  first order  of business                                                               
would  be HOUSE  BILL NO.  105, "An  Act establishing  the Gordon                                                               
Haber Denali Wolf Special Management Area."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  advised the committee would  be a forthcoming                                                               
committee  substitute (CS)  to  the bill  that  would change  the                                                               
special  management area  to a  critical habitat  area.   He said                                                               
representatives from  both the Alaska  Department of Fish  & Game                                                               
(ADF&G) and the  Department of Law were online  and available for                                                               
invited testimony,  and the committee had  heard previous invited                                                               
testimony on the bill.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  asked Mr. Dale  to share his thoughts  on the                                                               
forthcoming CS that would move  control of the special management                                                               
area, currently under the Department  of Natural Resources (DNR),                                                               
to a critical habitat area to be controlled by ADF&G.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:12:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE DALE,  Director, Division of Wildlife  Conservation, Alaska                                                               
Department of  Fish &  Game (ADF&G),  stated that  the department                                                               
has  thirty-two   special  areas   that  it   currently  manages,                                                               
including  McNeil River  State  Game Sanctuary  and  Refuge.   He                                                               
noted that there are three  or four classifications of areas, one                                                               
of which  is a  critical habitat area  that generally  involves a                                                               
management plan with the Division  of Habitat.  He explained that                                                               
the enabling  legislation "lines out"  the purposes and  then the                                                               
department creates a management plan to meet those purposes.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  asked Mr. Dale  to clarify whether he  is the                                                               
director  of  the  Division of  [Wildlife  Conservation]  or  the                                                               
Division of Habitat.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. DALE replied  he is the director of the  Division of Wildlife                                                               
Conservation.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON  inquired  whether  the  department  holds  a                                                               
position on HB 105.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. DALE answered that  the state is neutral to HB  105.  He said                                                               
the department  always remains neutral and  makes recommendations                                                               
on allocation  issues.  He  noted that  this is not  a biological                                                               
concern, but is an issue  surrounding the allocation of resources                                                               
between viewers of  wildlife and those who  have other wilderness                                                               
values, versus those who are interested in hunting and trapping.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON inquired  whether  the department  considered                                                               
the issue  an allocation issue even  though there are a  few wolf                                                               
packs that may no longer exist.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DALE  stated that  he  would  not  speak  on behalf  of  the                                                               
National  Park Service  (NPS), U.S.  Department of  the Interior.                                                               
He  explained that  Denali National  Park  and Preserve  ("park")                                                               
wolves are  harvested at a  very low  level that does  not affect                                                               
population size or  population dynamics.  He said  ADF&G looks at                                                               
wildlife  in  terms  of  populations  and  is  tasked  to  manage                                                               
wildlife on  a sustained yield basis.   He shared that  there has                                                               
been little  to no  disagreement among  biologists that  the pack                                                               
population  is not  affected by  low  harvests, and  there is  no                                                               
debate that  packs come  and go as  a part of  wolf ecology.   He                                                               
added  that packs  can break  up and  be recolonized  - sometimes                                                               
with no  loss of den  and pup production.   He referenced  a 1997                                                               
study that looked into the idea  that family groups persist for a                                                               
long length  of time.  He  said the study looked  at the genetics                                                               
of  wolves  in Denali  National  Park  and  Preserve and  in  the                                                               
Superior  National Forest,  Minnesota, and  basically found  that                                                               
wolves strongly  avoid inbreeding, which indicates  that there is                                                               
regular turnover  of the  genetic makeup  in packs  [document not                                                               
provided].                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  shared his understanding that  the department                                                               
is neutral on HB 105.   He asked whether data suggesting that the                                                               
wolf population decreased from 160 in  1990, to 57 in 2015, was a                                                               
concern to the department.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DALE  replied there  is  still  a  healthy and  viable  wolf                                                               
population  there.   He informed  the committee  that wolves  are                                                               
just like  any other game  where populations  rise and fall.   He                                                               
affirmed  that  there is  clear  evidence  of this  supported  by                                                               
publications  by  the  U.  S.   Geological  Survey  (USGS),  U.S.                                                               
Department of the  Interior.  He mentioned a  book called "Wolves                                                               
of Denali"  that explains how  caribou numbers  fluctuate, caused                                                               
by weather events in Denali  National Park and Preserve, and that                                                               
the  wolf population  followed that  same trend.   He  noted that                                                               
wolf  populations that  are not  heavily  harvested are  affected                                                               
mostly by  prey, ungulate availability, and  the vulnerability of                                                               
prey in terms of environmental  conditions, such as snow, and the                                                               
nutritional status and condition of the prey species.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:18:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  opined that  the department is  not concerned                                                               
with trapping but instead is interested in climate and browse.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO  offered   his  understanding  that  the                                                               
department  currently has  no  data  from the  east  side of  the                                                               
Nenana River.  He  said that he would refer to  the wolves of the                                                               
area as the Totatlanika pack, the  Healy Creek pack, and the Wood                                                               
River pack.   He asked whether  the department was going  to have                                                               
any  data   from  that  area  available   during  [the  2017-2018                                                               
legislative] session.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. DALE  said the department has  recent data for the  area that                                                               
will  be presented  to  the  Board of  Game  (BOG), DNR,  meeting                                                               
beginning 2/17/17.   He said the density of wolves  is over twice                                                               
as high east of the park as it is in the park.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON reopened invited testimony.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:21:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
FRAN MAUER  informed the  committee he is  a 46-year  resident of                                                               
Alaska  and has  worked as  a  wildlife biologist  for almost  30                                                               
years.  He stated his support  for HB 105 which would establish a                                                               
special  management  area  to protect  wolves  from  hunting  and                                                               
trapping  on state  lands  adjacent to  the  northeast corner  of                                                               
Denali National  Park and Preserve.   He  noted that the  area is                                                               
sometimes referred  to as the  wolf townships.  He  said previous                                                               
testifiers  already  described  how  the area  is  important  for                                                               
Denali National  Park and  Preserve wildlife,  especially wolves.                                                               
He  added   that  the  aforementioned  speakers   also  described                                                               
situations where hunters and trappers  used extreme methods, such                                                               
as bait stations and animal carcasses,  to lure wolves out of the                                                               
park  to their  deaths.   He explained  that ecologists  define a                                                               
decline  in wolf  population  as a  "population  sink" if  annual                                                               
mortality exceeds  reproduction on  an annual  basis.   He opined                                                               
that  a population  sink  is occurring  in  the proposed  special                                                               
management area and would continue  to decrease the Denali wolves                                                               
as long as "these silly practices are allowed to continue."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.   MAUER   disagreed  with   Mr.   Dale   and  expressed   his                                                               
understanding that  the bill  is focused  on wolves  and specific                                                               
den sites  in the northeast part  of the park, that  are commonly                                                               
seen by  visitors on the  Park Road.   Although a  decimated wolf                                                               
population  can  repopulate  the  area, a  population  sink  will                                                               
continue as long as mortality  rates are higher than reproduction                                                               
rates.  He pointed out there  is evidence that if a breeding male                                                               
or female  is killed during  the breeding season it  would affect                                                               
the pack  by possibly  breaking up  the entire  pack.   He opined                                                               
that Mr. Dale is "dancing around  the actual specifics of what is                                                               
going on in Denali."   He shared his belief that  BOG seems to be                                                               
incapable of solving the population  sink problem because it only                                                               
looks out for  hunters and trappers.  He  recommended fostering a                                                               
responsible wildlife viewing program  that is renewable and holds                                                               
great  economic benefit  for Alaska.    Mr. Mauer  urged for  the                                                               
passage of HB 105.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:25:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KNEELAND TAYLOR said he has lived  in Alaska for 41 years and has                                                               
served on three BOG subcommittees.   He agreed with Mr. Dale that                                                               
the problem is  an allocation issue between the  interests of two                                                               
hundred  and fifty  thousand people  who ride  the buses  through                                                               
Denali National  Park and Preserve  in the summer, versus  one to                                                               
four hunters  and trappers.   He explained that according  to the                                                               
Alaska  State   Constitution,  wildlife  is   a  publically-owned                                                               
resource  and opined  while preferential  uses are  permitted, in                                                               
this  choice between  the desire  of  many people  to view  them,                                                               
versus a few individuals who want  to take the wolves, the choice                                                               
should be obvious.  He recalled from  2001 to 2003 he served on a                                                               
BOG  subcommittee  that was  unable  to  reach consensus  on  the                                                               
Denali wolf buffer.  As  the non-consumptive user representative,                                                               
he  said he  felt "his  side"  asked for  too much  land, and  he                                                               
encouraged the  committee to  consider a  smaller parcel  of land                                                               
that was only in the wolf  township-Stampede Trail area.  He said                                                               
that protection  of a  smaller area worked  well with  the wolves                                                               
next to the Park Road and  Teklanika and Toklat Rivers.  Further,                                                               
he related  a suggestion from  a trapper that when  family groups                                                               
leave the park,  there could be an emergency  closure because the                                                               
packs  could  be  located  by  radio  collars  on  alpha  wolves.                                                               
Recently,  there   have  been  several  requests   for  emergency                                                               
closures, but the commissioner [of  the Alaska Department of Fish                                                               
& Game] failed to act  because there was no biological emergency.                                                               
He  suggested  the  committee consider  giving  the  commissioner                                                               
express  authority to  close areas  for trapping  and hunting  of                                                               
wolves  when  there  is information  that  particular  groups  of                                                               
wolves have left the park.   He offered his belief that BOG feels                                                               
that the  closure of wolf  hunting and trapping outside  the park                                                               
is  some sort  of a  bargaining  chip for  the state  to get  the                                                               
federal government  to be  more accommodating to  the state.   He                                                               
reiterated that according to the  state constitution wild animals                                                               
belong to  all and  are to  be managed  for the  maximum possible                                                               
benefit.   Mr. Taylor  opined using the  animals as  a bargaining                                                               
chip is unconstitutional.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:30:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON opened public testimony.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:31:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOEL BENNETT said  he has lived in Alaska  for forth-eight years,                                                               
is an  active licensed hunter,  and disclosed he  was legislative                                                               
counsel for  seven years.   Also, he  served on BOG  for thirteen                                                               
years - including  1992 when the first buffer zone  was created -                                                               
and  the  debate at  the  time  was  an  allocation issue  and  a                                                               
recognition that there  were competing interests, as  well as the                                                               
fact something should  be done about the issue.   Although it was                                                               
difficult to  define geographic borders,  BOG created  the buffer                                                               
zone in good faith; however,  this issue is coming forward again,                                                               
after  twenty-five  years,  showing  BOG cannot  deal  with  this                                                               
issue.   In his experience,  the legislature becomes  involved in                                                               
such  issues   because  the  greater  public   interest  requires                                                               
resolution  by statute.   He  stressed  there is  an urgency  for                                                               
action due to the special geography  and the location of the wolf                                                               
townships  that make  the issue  more  than just  a trapping  and                                                               
hunting  closure issue.   He  urged the  legislature to  create a                                                               
special  area,  if  only  for  economic  reasons.    Mr.  Bennett                                                               
reiterated many  tens of  thousands of visitors  to the  park are                                                               
state residents,  and wildlife viewing is  growing in popularity.                                                               
He urged for  the committee to pass a reasonable  bill that would                                                               
stop the issue from reoccurring.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WESTLAKE asked  Mr.  Bennett for  the reason  the                                                               
past wolf buffer zone agreement included a sunset date.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BENNETT answered  that  the  action of  BOG  in  1992 was  a                                                               
compromise, because some wanted a  larger area and some a smaller                                                               
area.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:36:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GERALD BROOKMAN stated that he  has been an Alaska resident since                                                               
1957 and he currently  lives in Kenai.  He said  he used to hunt,                                                               
and trapped with his father as  a youth.  He expressed his strong                                                               
support  for  the  bill  and   opined  the  area  affected  is  a                                                               
relatively small area.  Mr.  Brookman urged the committee to pass                                                               
the bill as written.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:37:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AL BARRETTE  said that at the  last hearing he heard  a lot about                                                               
tourism and protecting the tourism  economy; in fact, in a recent                                                               
state parks and  recreational area budget overview  it was stated                                                               
there  were  over  five  million  visitors  to  state  parks  and                                                               
recreational areas.  According to  his research, tens of millions                                                               
of dollars are  being invested outside the entrance  to the park,                                                               
which indicates tourism is thriving.   Mr. Barrette stated Denali                                                               
National  Park and  Preserve has  had  record-setting years  with                                                               
hardly a decrease  in visitations over the past two  decades.  He                                                               
pointed  out  the bill  proposes  to  protect wolves  from  being                                                               
hunted and  trapped, yet  trapping will still  be allowed  in the                                                               
area, and  he inquired if  a trapper incidentally catches  a wolf                                                               
in a trap  not initially set for a wolf,  then all other trapping                                                               
will be shut  down.  He referred to evidence  that trappers catch                                                               
wolves in  sets not designated  for wolves.   Turning to  BOG, he                                                               
said  BOG has  to  comply with  state law  and  the Alaska  State                                                               
Constitution.    In [Article]  8,  [Section]  3, the  common  use                                                               
clause led  the legislature  to enact  AS 16.05.258,  which dealt                                                               
with  subsistence uses,  preferences,  and priority.   He  opined                                                               
that even  if BOG's  decisions are  not popular,  it is  bound to                                                               
comply  with  the  law.    Finally,  Mr.  Barrette  said  he  was                                                               
disturbed  that a  proposed special  use area  was named  after a                                                               
person who was known to commit game violations.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  asked whether Mr. Barrette  was claiming that                                                               
the late Gordon Haber committed game violations.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. BARRETTE answered yes.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:41:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHNNY JOHNSON  testified in support of  HB 105.  He  said he has                                                               
lived in Alaska  for almost 50 years and has  many connections to                                                               
Denali National  Park and Preserve,  beginning in 1968 as  a park                                                               
ranger, and later  as a wildlife photographer.   Mr. Johnson said                                                               
he has hunted  and trapped in the area, although  not for wolves,                                                               
and was  a close personal friend  of Gordon Haber.   Referring to                                                               
testimony by the previous speaker,  he informed the committee the                                                               
[alleged game violation] incident in  question was when Mr. Haber                                                               
released a  wolf that he was  told was trapped in  an area closed                                                               
to  wolf trapping.   Mr.  Johnson expressed  his support  for the                                                               
proposed bill  because it  is the  right thing  to do,  and added                                                               
that wolves are  important to the integrity of the  park, and the                                                               
park is  of great value to  Alaska.  He acknowledged  there are a                                                               
lot of  people who dislike  wolves; in fact,  at one time  it was                                                               
common  to  poach   wolves  in  the  park.     For  his  wildlife                                                               
photography  business, photographs  of  wolves  are difficult  to                                                               
obtain, and  his best have  been taken  inside the park  and have                                                               
contributed substantially  to his income.   He opined  the wolves                                                               
hold   great  value   both  for   tourism   and  for   commercial                                                               
photographers.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON shared her  appreciation for Mr. Johnson's                                                               
photography and testimony.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON read from the  Alaska State Constitution, [Article 8,                                                               
Section 3] as follows:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
        Wherever occurring in their natural state, fish,                                                                        
      wildlife, and waters are reserved to the people for                                                                       
     common use.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:45:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SCOTT OGAN  spoke in opposition to  HB 105, noting that  he spent                                                               
25  years  working on  federal  overreach  issues.   The  federal                                                               
government is  currently managing  and classifying more  lands as                                                               
national parks, and is doing  a horrible job managing wildlife on                                                               
federal  lands, as  in the  [Alaska  Peninsula National  Wildlife                                                               
Refuge].  He  shared that he has spent thousands  of hours flying                                                               
and in the bush, and it is very  rare to see a wolf; in fact, the                                                               
proposed  bill may  decrease wildlife  sightings "if  there's too                                                               
many wolves knocking  down the ungulates."  He stated  that he is                                                               
opposed to  expanding boundaries  beyond the  federal park  for a                                                               
buffer zone.   Mr. Ogan restated his strong  opposition to extend                                                               
federal  management scenarios  beyond the  boundaries of  federal                                                               
lands.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:47:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ED SCHMITT said  that although he has only lived  in Alaska since                                                               
2007, recently he has taken notice  of the decline in Denali wolf                                                               
pack  populations.   He  mentioned  the  six-year moratorium  BOG                                                               
placed on the  issue, and added an organization with  which he is                                                               
involved encouraged  BOG to discuss  the situation,  and although                                                               
BOG acknowledged  the Denali wolves  were disappearing,  it still                                                               
took no  action.  He  opined management should include  an active                                                               
and  appropriate  response to  the  numbers  of wildlife  in  the                                                               
population, which  is not occurring  from BOG.  Mr.  Schmitt said                                                               
he is in support of the  proposed bill and a management plan that                                                               
could acknowledge that  the importance of wildlife  viewing is in                                                               
the state's best interest.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO  asked  Mr.   Schmitt  to  identify  the                                                               
aforementioned organization.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHMITT answered  he is the president of  the Alaska Wildlife                                                               
Alliance.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   BIRCH  asked   whether  there   were  additional                                                               
witnesses waiting to testify.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON  said there  were  about  19 and  stated  his                                                               
intention to  leave public testimony open  on HB 105 and  move to                                                               
the next bill at 2:00 p.m.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:50:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  has heard  from witnesses  who have  had to                                                               
wait.   He  inquired  as  to whether  the  committee extends  the                                                               
invitation to testify, and to whom.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  answered that  it is  the prerogative  of the                                                               
chair to invite testimony.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR TARR  added that the  sponsor of  a bill works  with the                                                               
committee  chair  to  choose   invited  testimony,  for  example,                                                               
witnesses who  are experts  on a particular  item related  to the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  surmised  there  is  no  expectation  that                                                               
invited testimony will represent both sides of an issue.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  questioned  whether  in the  case  of  a                                                               
committee bill, the committee determines invitees.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   JOSEPHSON   said  no.      In   further  response   to                                                               
Representative  Johnson, he  said  he did  not  intend to  reopen                                                               
public testimony during the hearing  of the forthcoming CS for HB
105.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  TARR, in  further response  to Representative  Johnson,                                                               
said sometimes  a second  round of  public testimony  on a  CS is                                                               
necessary.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:53:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAULINE STRONG  stated her support for  HB 105.  Ms.  Strong said                                                               
Alaska should be large enough for  one area where a wolf pack can                                                               
live without  being trapped or  hunted.  She said  Gordon Haber's                                                               
studies   showed   that   wolf  packs   can   develop   long-term                                                               
institutional  knowledge  that  makes them  different  from  wolf                                                               
packs  with less  experienced  members  [document not  provided].                                                               
Furthermore,  the loss  of  the  eastern buffer  zone  set up  to                                                               
protect  wolves  is the  reason  long-established  wolf packs  no                                                               
longer exist.   Recently, it  is common to  hear that one  of the                                                               
remaining few adult  wolves - often a pregnant one  - was killed,                                                               
which breaks up the formation of  packs.  If baiting stations are                                                               
allowed close  to the  park boundary, the  park will  not contain                                                               
the wolf pack, and wolves on  the eastern park boundary need more                                                               
room; however, with  the reestablishment of a  buffer zone, there                                                               
is a possibility  that a wolf pack could  develop naturally, over                                                               
time,  into  more  than  just a  few  inexperienced  or  orphaned                                                               
juveniles.  Ms.  Strong said it would be wonderful  to know there                                                               
is room  in Alaska for  at least  one truly wild,  unaltered wolf                                                               
pack.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:55:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOAN  FRANKEVICH,   Spokesperson,  National   Parks  Conservation                                                               
Association  (NPCA), said  NPCA is  a nationwide  nonprofit, with                                                               
over  2,000  members in  Alaska,  that  was  founded in  1919  to                                                               
protect national  parks.  She  said NPCA supports HB  105, noting                                                               
that  the issue  addressed by  HB  105 really  needs a  long-term                                                               
solution.   She stated that this  is not a hunting  versus a non-                                                               
hunting  issue, nor  is it  a state  versus federal  issue.   Ms.                                                               
Frankevich opined that  the best question to ask is,  "What is in                                                               
the best interest of the state,  and what makes the most sense on                                                               
how wolves are  managed on this land?"  One  of the core services                                                               
of  the  Division  of  Wildlife   [Conservation],  ADF&G,  is  to                                                               
maintain  and  enhance  opportunities  to hunt,  trap,  and  view                                                               
wildlife.   Furthermore, she said  in 1992, when BOG  created the                                                               
first wolf buffer, it clearly  wrote in its findings, "The wolves                                                               
that inhabit  Denali National  Park are  valued resources  of the                                                               
people of  Alaska and  the United  States" and  she agreed.   Ms.                                                               
Frankevich stated  she and  her husband  are employed  in tourism                                                               
and tourism feeds  many Alaska families.  In a  manner similar to                                                               
the state  protection of  bears in the  [McNeil River  State Game                                                               
Sanctuary and  Refuge], and walrus  in the [Walrus  Islands State                                                               
Game  Sanctuary],  it  needs  to  protect  the  wolves  primarily                                                               
inhabiting Denali National Park and  Preserve because they can be                                                               
easily seen in  the wild by Alaskans and visitors.   Finally, she                                                               
invited  the  committee to  visit  the  park  and  use a  map  to                                                               
understand  how state  land, and  critical  habitat for  caribou,                                                               
extends  into  the  park  and  creates an  issue  in  need  of  a                                                               
permanent solution.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:59:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARILYN  HOUSER stated  that  she supports  HB  105, which  would                                                               
protect wolves  by establishing  a no  hunting, trapping  area on                                                               
state  land adjacent  to  the northeastern  park  boundary.   She                                                               
observed that the  removal of an established buffer  area in 2010                                                               
by BOG has led to a reduction  in the number of wolves and stable                                                               
wolf packs  in the  park, and  has significantly  reduced viewing                                                               
opportunities for  both Alaskans and  tourists.  She  opined that                                                               
in the time of dwindling revenue,  the state needs to do all that                                                               
it can to  support the tourism industry, and  wildlife viewing is                                                               
a  primary  motivation for  many  of  the  visitors who  come  to                                                               
Alaska.   Ms. Houser  said that  in the almost  40 years  she has                                                               
lived in  Alaska, during numerous  trips to Denali  National Park                                                               
and Preserve, she used to occasionally  hear or see a wolf in the                                                               
park, but in  recent years she has not.   She urged the committee                                                               
to quickly move the bill from committee.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:01:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PATTI  BARBER  stated  that  she  is opposed  to  HB  105.    She                                                               
explained that  anti-trapping groups petitioned BOG  to establish                                                               
a protective zone along the  boundary of Denali National Park and                                                               
Preserve,  but  later it  was  removed  because animals  did  not                                                               
observe  the boundaries.   She  surmised that  the proposal  is a                                                               
back door  attempt to  close hunting  and trapping  near national                                                               
parks  around the  state.    Wolf packs  have  eaten  all of  the                                                               
available  ungulates.   Ms. Barber  requested a  map of  the area                                                               
that would be affected by the proposed bill.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:02:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  announced HB  105 was  held over  with public                                                               
testimony open.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CSHB105 vers J.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 105
HB105 Letters in Support.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 105
HB040 Letters of Support.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB040 ver j.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB105 Letters in Support 2.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 105
HB040 Letters in support 2.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB040 letters of opposition.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB105 Letters in Support 3.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 105
HB040 Letters of Opposition 2.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB040 Letters of Support 3.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB105 Letters of Support.pdf HRES 2/15/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 105