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Sen. Murkowski: NPS is Overreaching with New Hunting Regulations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today sent a letter to Alaska Regional Director for the National Park Service, Sue Masica, raising concerns regarding newly proposed hunting regulations for the Denali National Preserve, Wrangell-St. Elias National Preserve, and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve.

“The federal government’s attempts to interfere with the state’s right to manage wildlife within its borders is deeply troubling. Both the substance of the Park Service’s proposed changes and the manner in which the public hearing process is playing out is alarming,” Murkowski said.

Murkowski, echoing the state of Alaska’s interpretation, feels the proposed hunting regulations violate the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), which grants the state, not the Park Service, the ability to manage its own fish and wildlife populations, including regulating harvests.

The new regulations include prohibitions on the taking of brown bears with the aid of bait stations, and shortening the hunting season for wolves and coyotes.  The proposed regulations are an attempt by the National Park Service to preempt the state’s authority when it comes to hunting in the three preserves.

“Equally troubling to me is the way the public hearings process is being treated by the Park Service,” Murkowski said. “Too many Alaskans who will be impacted by these changes simply aren’t going to have a chance to voice their concerns and that does not sit well with me.”

While the National Park Service has held hearings on the proposed rules in several locations around Alaska, Murkowski and other state officials are concerned that Alaska’s harsh winter weather will make it difficult for Alaskans to participate in the hearings.

“I am unconvinced the Service has the right to be imposing their will on the state’s hunting regulations at all,” Murkowski said. “Alaskans absolutely need to have a fair and realistic opportunity to be heard.”

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