Fish and Game committee comes up 1 seat short

Posted: Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Kenai-Soldotna Fish and Game Advisory Committee is trying to lure in new candidates after last week’s elections left the committee’s membership incomplete.

Last week’s elections filled eight seats, including three of four available designated seats, but the fourth designated seat, the subsistence seat, remains vacant.

Subsistence received its own seat for the first time this year after the committee decided to split the personal use and subsistence seat into two.

“They’re not the same thing,” said Gary Dawkins, the committee chair.

In addition, feedback Dawkins received while doing a radio interview Jan. 18 indicated the public wants a seat devoted to addressing subsistence issues, he said.

As part of the committee’s effort to fill its subsistence seat, some general guidelines have been mapped out.

In the guidelines, the committee asks that nominees have at least some experience with subsistence and have or are currently qualified for state or federal subsistence, including Tier 2.

“They could have done it 20 years ago. As long as they did it, they qualify,” Dawkins said.

Someone who teaches a subsistence class for a Native association or lives a subsistence lifestyle would make an ideal candidate, Dawkins said.

“We want someone to have that background so they can enlighten us,” he said.

The committee, which is responsible for advising the statewide boards of Fish and Game, received no candidates for the subsistence position during elections, but did fill eight other seats with seven new members and one re-elected member.

New members include Jim Nelson, Mike Crawford, Dave Atcheson, Kurtis Dunham, Dennis Gease, Tim Green and Mike Frost. Dawkins, a member of the committee for 12 years, was re-elected.

Five of the newly elected members filled at-large seats, seats that can be held only by members who represent neither the commercial nor guide industry.

At-large members, Atcheson and Dunham, were elected for three-year terms, and Gease was elected for a two-year term. Green and Frost were elected as at-large alternates.

Nelson, Crawford and Dawkins filled three designated seats for three-year terms. Nelson was elected to the personal-use seat, Crawford ran unopposed and was elected to the committee’s trapping seat, and Dawkins was elected to the hunting seat.

After public elections, the committee voted to elect a secretary, vice chair and chair. Dunham was elected to become secretary and Kenai Peninsula College Director Gary Turner was elected vice chair. Dawkins was re-elected as chair of the committee, but not without stiff competition.

“I really had to run hard for my seat. I’ll tell you that. I had a lot of opposition,” he said.

The whole committee is made up of 15 members and two alternates, including three members representing the commercial industry and three representing guides.

Committee members Rowland Maw, Paul Shadura and Dyer VanDevere represent the commercial industry, and Joe Connors, Mel Erickson and Joe Hardy represent the guides.

Last week the committee also said farewell to departing member Bill West. West was a member for 22 years and last held the trapping seat.

Anyone interested in running for the committee’s subsistence seat should call Dawkins at 262-3993. An election to fill the seat will be held at the committee’s next meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Kenai River Center.

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