The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks expressed outrage at the National Park Service’s decision to announce the final rule that amends its regulations to adopt the state of Alaska’s approved hunting practices, which target predator species, and include killing black bear sows with cubs at den sites; killing wolves and coyotes, including pups, during denning season; and harvesting brown bears over bait. The final rule will be published next week.

Phil Francis, Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks:

“We are appalled by the Secretary of the Interior’s decision to adopt these cruel and unsportsmanlike hunting practices on National Park Service (NPS) preserve lands in Alaska.

The Coalition supports legally authorized sport and subsistence hunting in national preserves in Alaska; however, it must be regulated by practices that align with long delineated NPS laws, regulations, and policies.

Techniques such as killing bear sows with cubs at den sites or harvesting brown bears over bait are clearly inappropriate within units of the National Park System. The Organic Act, which established the National Park Service, mandates that the NPS manage native wildlife populations to maintain the natural abundance, diversity, and distribution of those populations in ALL park units throughout the country, including in Alaska. This means allowing natural predator-prey relationships and population dynamics to occur, rather than removing the predators through objectionable hunting practices.

Secretary Bernhardt’s decision to force the NPS to adopt these hunting practices at national preserves in Alaska is ill-considered, politically motivated, poorly justified, and antithetical to the national values which are so clearly stated in the NPS Organic Act. In total, up to 20 million acres of preserves could be affected as well as up to 8 million acres of Congressionally-designed Wilderness Areas. This issue cuts to the core of the important national values of our country that the NPS is mandated to protect for all Americans.

This final rule marks a sad day for America’s National Park System. The National Park Service is mandated to conserve wildlife, not exploit it through these objectionable hunting practices.”