To the editor: Sean McGuire’s Nov. 2 opinion column is a clear expression of the condition he erroneously claims the Board of Game suffers from: unbalance.
His assertions distort reality by 1) ignoring the full state constitutional language that requires sustained yield of all renewable resources; 2) ignoring state law requiring optimizing wildlife harvests to benefit people in some cases — the Board of Game is obliged to set regulations accordingly; and 3) the “Stampede Corridor,” otherwise known as the Wolf Townships, is portrayed as somehow having pierced Denali National Park, when in fact those townships were state-selected and/or state-owned lands long before Denali Park was expanded in 1980. Denali then engulfed the Wolf Townships with “pure park” on three sides.
The most egregious statement by McGuire is that in recent times Board of Game members are considered “by many” to be “wolf-haters.” When you blame “hate” for disagreements or actions, it blows away respect for differing views and consideration of relevant facts. Poof!
A similar incident is revealing. In a February 2016 National Geographic magazine story about the park, then-Park Superintendent Don Striker is quoted, “It’s good politics to hate the parks and overlook all the good they’ve done.” It seems Striker was also willing to settle for “hate” as the basis for disagreements over issues.
Since Striker made those remarks, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Park Service’s authority on state navigable waters. It took 11 years and $1.5 million from John Sturgeon and other private parties to win that case — prompted by law and justice, not hate.
In almost 60 years living in Alaska, including a couple decades as a state game biologist working closely with Board of Game members, I have never known any board member I considered a “wolf-hater.”
“Hate” is a death sentence for dialogue, tolerance and understanding. It is a sad state of affairs that thoughtlessly claiming “hate” underlying our disagreements has become so popular.
I “hate” to say it, but I think the problem for Denali Park wolves is that they are underfed, in part because the Denali Caribou Herd has not recovered its former size even after decades of no hunting.