VITAMIN DEMOCRACY courtesy of The Mudflats!
Today is the day that confirmation hearings have been scheduled for Al Barrette to the Alaska Board of Game. This post is designed to help you speak up and make your voice heard regarding how you feel about that decision. The Board of Game is one of the most powerful boards in the state, and the decisions it makes affect not only hunters and trappers, but wildlife viewers, photographers, tourists and the tourism industry, small business statewide, and anyone who loves Alaska’s wildness and wants to see balance in its management.
Al Barrette owns a commercial tannery and a wolf trap company, and he cast the deciding vote to eliminate the Denali National Park wolf “buffer zone” that added additional protection for the packs that live within the park boundary. These are the wolves that tourists come to see, and Mr. Barrette, if confirmed, will continue to be allowed to vote on issues like this by which he profits financially. This is simply outrageous.
If you need reminding about why this is a devastating choice for Alaska’s wildlife, and a bold statement of the intentions of the Parnell administration to step up predator eradication in our wild lands at the expense of tourism, and the small businesses that depend on it, you can read my previous posts:
Here is the schedule of the confirmation hearings for Al Barrette:
House Resources – Monday April 5 (TODAY) at 1 pm.
Senate Resources – Wednesday April 7 at 3:30 pm.
Legislative Call In Number: (877) 763-5073
Legislators in the House and Senate need to hear what you think. To assist you in preparation of your spoken or written comments which are desperately needed, there is some information listed below.
PLEASE DO NOT simply cut and paste. Your effectiveness comes when you demonstrate that you understand the issues and have formulated your own opinions based upon the facts and on Mr. Barrette’s qualifications and history. Think of the right wing and their mass faxes, all saying the same thing, and all getting it WRONG. Find a point or two below that speaks to you, and talk about it. Or give an overview of why you think this choice is bad.
This appointment is SO controversial that thinking and reasonable people on both sides of the aisle are against this confirmation, which means your voice will actually really matter!
Emails for the legislators making the decision are listed at the end of the email. Support wildlife, support tourism, and support local business. Please be respectful, and please don’t be silent.
Overview of Mr. Barrette at the Interior Board of Game Meeting – His first sitting on the BOG:
1. Significant questions regarding his owning a tannery and his subsequent conflict of interest regarding liberalizing harvest regulations for fur bearers and big game;
a. He declared a conflict and did not vote due to having voted as a Fairbanks Advisory Committee member on one proposal yet it appears he did not preclude himself on all the proposals the Fairbanks Advisory Committee voted on;
b. He also declared a conflict of interest regarding a trapping proposal stating he stood to profit from the regulation but did not declare the same conflict regarding the Denali Wolf Buffer Zone and other proposals liberalizing trapping and harvest regulations;
2. Clearly opposed rural subsistence priority for fish and game as a member of the BOG;
3. A very “liberal” (read pro predator control) Board of Game voted 1 – 6 against Mr. Barrette four times in his first sitting on the board;
4. Founding Principle appears to be: “Nature Cannot Run Wild”
“It specifically puts out in the first book of the Bible, in Genesis, that we should subdue nature and control it. We should be the managers of the animals and through the sin of Adam and Eve is what brought it on”
– Al Barrette / January 2009 Interview / Backpacker Magazine
Record regarding Wolf and Bear Management:
1. After voting in favor of revoking the Denali Wolf Buffer Zone Mr. Barrette petitioned the board to authorize using a snow machine to harvest wolves in the “old” buffer zone region (GMU 20C) along the border of the park;
a. Not one member of the board would support Mr. Barrette’s proposal;
“I just cringe at the thought of a snow machine running down the park boundary chasing wolves – it’s almost beyond me. It might be something to do but I don’t know if I could it.” – Cliff Judkin’s Chairman of the BOG responding to Al Barrette
2. Voted to revoke the ADF&G’s statewide bear management policy that guides the department’s scientific management of Alaska’s Bears March 6 – Afternoon Session
a. This policy prohibits the snaring of bears unless conducted under the authorization of predator control program. The Board did not agree with him.
3. Voted in favor of removing brown bear tag fees in all interior GMU’s. Tag fees are an important source of revenue for the ADF&G: March 1;
4. Voted to authorize the baiting of Brown Bears. Every other member of the Board strongly opposed it: March 3 – Proposal 129;
5. Liberalize the baiting of black bears during the entire month of July. Amended a proposal to allow baiting in interior Alaska when residents / tourists and families are actively fishing, hiking and camping. Every BOG member opposed Mr. Barrett’s radical amendment: March 1;
6. Voted in favor of allowing commercial guides to register up to 10 bait stations. The first time this has ever been authorized outside the boundaries of a predator control area. A significantly more liberal allowance than resident Alaskan’s are given. Promoting preferential status for the guiding industry. This may be illegal under the State Constitution’s equal access clause and what about his conflict of interest regarding profiting from tanning bear hides: March 1;
7. Voted in favor of eliminating Black Bear sealing requirements in interior Alaska: March 1 – Proposal 11;
8. Opposed a National Park Service request to make it illegal for Non Native urban hunters to kill black bears, including sows and cubs, in their dens using high intensity lights in Denali National Preserve.
9. Approved of citizens using helicopters to support the killing of wolves in the Upper Yukon Tanana Predator Control Program March 4 – UYTPCA Department Overview Testimony
Record Opposing Rural and Native Subsistence:
1. Aggressively lobbied to revoke the Kanuti Control Use Area designation near Bettles: March 6 – Afternoon Session.
a. There was no formal public announcement or public testimony regarding revoking the CUA;
b. The Kanuti CUA was created to protect local subsistence moose harvest and is strongly supported by the local residents;;
c. Division of Subsistence warned Barrette that prior to such an action the Board must address meeting subsistence needs in the region;
d. No other member of the Board of Game supports Mr. Barrette’s attempts;
2. Voted to increase the harvest in the Central Alaska Caribou herd along the Haul road from 2 to 5 caribou;
a. While simultaneously supporting the opening the haul road controlled use area to snow machine access:
b. The village of Anaktuvuk Pass lies within the migration route of the Central Arctic Caribou herd;
“All those villages that are in that area are only on the outside migration of the Central Arctic Caribou herd. Not really one village relies on the Central Arctic Caribou herd – it only supplements their take … and here’s an opportunity to allow more Alaskan’s and non residents to have greater access or opportunity to harvest more caribou and maybe help relieve some of our problems in the Nelchina, Mulchatna, and the Fortymile Caribou. To take an additional few more caribou to make the cost justifications here” – Al Barrette
3. Voted against an Amount Needed for Subsistence of only 2 – 4 sheep for interior Native villages in Game Management Unit 19: March 2 – Proposal 82;
a. The Board found a positive Customary and Traditional Use of sheep in this region but would not designate an Amount Necessary for Subsistence;
b. The ADF&G supported an ANS of up to 10 sheep;
“Their subsistence needs are being met by other things but they want to add sheep to it?” – Al Barrette
4. Opposed a Customary and Traditional use finding for Native subsistence harvest of the Chisana Caribou herd, in particular the community of Northway: March 4 – Proposal 18;
a. The ADF&G Division of Subsistence provided strong evidence of traditional Native harvest. The Chisana herd will have no preference for subsistence harvest on State lands:
“Of the eight criteria we get to pick from it defers to reliance and I could not find a definition in the codified for reliance so I have to depend on my own until I get a dictionary and I did not think it fit on relying on that resource.” – Al Barrette
5. Voted against finding a positive Customary and Traditional use of black bears for rural subsistence hunters in two Game Management Units (GMU 20 & 12) despite the documented harvest of 78 black bears by rural village communities. These are the same GMU’s where he supported allowing guides to have up to 10 bait station!: March 1 – Proposal 8;
6. Voted to repeal important Native moose harvest traditions: March 3 – Proposal 89
a. In the Koyokuk Controlled Use Area the local Native community considers it disrespectful to waste the head of a moose. When the Koyokuk CUA was established the regional advisory councils formed a working group and developed a moose management plan that requested the heard of a moose be harvested in their area. AHTNA Native Corporation also requires the harvest of a moose head on their lands in the region.
b. Al Barrette opposed not only this salvage requirement but voted to repeal ALL discretionary salvage requirements in the Koyokuk CUA;
7. Opposed setting a limit on beaver harvest in the Yukon Flats region. March 2 – Proposal 95
a. The Yukon Flats Citizen Advisory council requested a limit be set on beaver harvest. Local communities felt it was disrespectful to have an unlimited harvest opportunity for beaver. Mr. Barrette opposed them;
Record of Conflict of Interest/ Disenfranchising Citizens:
1. Conflict of Interest Declarations by Mr. Barrette Personally:
a. Proposal 2: Modify Trapping Season: He wrote the proposal:
b. Proposal 3: 72 hour trap check requirement – Conflict due to potential profit: March 1;
c. Proposal 14: Modify the Fortymile Caribou Hunt – states he voted on the proposal as a Fairbanks AC member: The Fairbanks AC Notes (AC 5) state that all the voting took place at one meeting. The Fairbanks AC submitted 11 pages of comments to the Board of Game: March 4
d. Proposal 70: Authorize off road vehicle access to the Wood River Controlled Use area. Both the Board of Game and the Fairbanks AC (of which he was a member) opposed Proposal 70 that Mr. Barrette personally drafted and submitted to the Interior Board of Game meeting: March 5;
2. Key vote to oppose and revoke the Denali Wolf Buffer Zone. March 5 – Proposal 63;
a. Mr. Barret stands to profit from the decision of liberalizing trapping harvest by owning the local tannery;
b. Mr. Barrette likely voted on the proposal as a Fairbanks AC member which excludes him from voting on the proposal as a board member;
c. Mr. Barrette previously declared a conflict of interest regarding proposal 3 stating he stood to profit from a 72 hour trap check requirement. Why did he not use the same logic on this vote;
3. Opposed restricting trapping in residential areas in the Healy area
a. Even though there was extensive public comment regarding pets being caught and killed in traps and even people being caught in traps;
4. Supported a six year moratorium on accepting or discussing Denali Wolf Buffer proposals;
a. The Board is mandated by the legislature to address public concerns and this moratorium not only rebukes the legislatures intent upon establishing the board it also is quite likely illegal;
5. Actively involved in lobbying for sponsorship and passage of HB 267 prior to being appointed to the Board of Game where he voted to approve of the bill.
a. This bill would allow snow machine use in the Dalton Highway Controlled Use Area – the same region Mr. Barrette voted to increase.
b. Voted in favor of the BOG supporting HB 267. Al Barrette was tasked with drafting the letter of support. There was no public announcement regarding discussion of this bill, no public testimony, and the public never saw a copy of the letter nor has letter ever been posted to the BOG website;
“I think more access in the area would certainly be advantageous to people that like to hunt caribou, bears and moose etc. I just hate to see another Denali Highway where it’s just like a bunch of locust inundating the whole country up there. That is how we move forward on this earth.” – Cliff Judkins / Testimony in support of the HB 267 / March 6
Biblical References Regarding His Game Management Philosophy:
1. Regarding cow caribou hunting in the Fortymile Caribou herd in the Upper Yukon Tanana Predator Control area: March 4 – Fortymile Working Group Overview
“Speaking of teaching and training the next generation of hunters that are coming up, you know, to bring the younger generation out to the field to make them shoot a bull, and to teach them to shoot a bull even though there is ample opportunity to harvest a cow… I think it relates right back to our moose cow harvest where we are having to teach, like my generation, and maybe the one prior to mine, that it is acceptable to harvest cows and female deer of the cloved and hooved species…” – Al Barrette
2. In an interview for Backpacker Magazine in January 2009 Mr. Barrette quotes from Genesis:
Watch the video HERE.
“It specifically puts out in the first book of the bible, in Genesis, that we should subdue nature and control it. We should be the managers of the animals and through the sin of Adam and Eve is what brought it on”
– Al Barrette