May 22, 2018
Coalition Statement on NPS Proposed Rule on Hunting and Trapping on National Preserves in Alaska
The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks is appalled and dismayed to read the National Park Service proposed rule that would open national preserves in Alaska to a variety of unsportsmanlike hunting practices. A 2015 Final Rule codified Park Service prohibitions on certain hunting and trapping practices that are otherwise permitted by the State of Alaska. Now, under the direction of the Department of the Interior, the Park Service is proposing to eliminate ALL of the 2015 restrictions.
On July 14, 2017, a Trump Administration official, Acting Assistant Secretary of Fish and Wildlife and Parks Virginia Johnson, sent the Acting Director of the National Park Service an internal memorandum “directing the National Park Service to initiate a [new] rulemaking process to reconsider the  rule.”
If approved, the new rule would allow following practices: Taking any black bear, including cubs and sows with cubs, with artificial light at den sites; harvesting brown bears over bait; taking wolves and coyotes (including pups) during the denning season (between May 1 and August 9); taking swimming caribou; taking caribou from motorboats under power; taking black bears over bait; and using dogs to hunt black bears.
“The proposed rule sounds nothing like the Park Service I know,” said Phil Francis, Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks and a retired Park Service veteran with over 40 years of experience with the agency. “Under the Organic Act of 1916, the National Park Service is mandated to conserve wildlife, not exploit it through these despicable hunting practices.You don’t have to be an avid hunter to know that killing bears with cubs in their dens or shooting swimming caribou from a moving motorboat are simply wrong.”
The proposed rule is open to public comment until July 23, 2018. It is published in the Federal Register at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/05/22/2018-10735/alaska-hunting-and-trapping-in-national-preserves
The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks is a non-profit organization composed entirely of retired, former, or current employees of the National Park Service (NPS). With over 1,500 members, the Coalition collectively represent more than 35,000 years of experience managing and protecting America’s most precious and important natural and historic places.
Read the memorandum from the Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks directing the NPS to “initiate a rulemaking process to reconsider the rule.”