FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Alaska Board of Game began a 10-day meeting Friday with three new members weighing in on a variety of issues including predator control and restricting harvests.
Gov. Tony Knowles named the three new members to the board just two weeks ago. They are Bruce Baker of Juneau, Caleb Pungowiyi of Kotzebue and Michelle Sparck of Bethel. The three replace Mike Fleagle of McGrath, Greg Roczicka of Bethel and Greg Streveler of Gustavus, all of whose terms expired Jan. 31. Each had served six years on the board.
Knowles, who has resisted the call from hunters for predator control to boost moose and caribou populations, has repeatedly stated he wants more diversity on the game board besides just hunters and trappers. His latest appointments reflect that philosophy, said Mike Tinker, chairman of the Fairbanks Fish and Game Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to the game board regarding wildlife management in the Interior.
''He's picking people he knows are going to go in his direction,'' Tinker said.
Baker is the former deputy director of the Department of Fish and Game's Habitat Division. He sat on the Brown Bear Management Team that the game board appointed to make recommendations for creating bear viewing areas in Southeast.
Pungowiyi serves as a special adviser for Alaska Native affairs to the Marine Mammal Commission. He is president of NANA's Robert Aqqaluk Newlin Sr. Memorial Trust in Kotzebue.
Sparck has worked for the past five years as a legislative liaison for the Association of Village Council Presidents, where she monitors legislative activities regarding Alaska Native issues.
''I suspect because of their backgrounds in public policy issues they'll be strong advocates for rural subsistence users, which isn't directly tied to the board's activities,'' said Dick Bishop, vice president of the Alaska Outdoor Council, which has been at odds with Knowles for years over wildlife management.
But Paul Joslin, executive director of the state's largest wildlife preservation group, the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, applauded the appointments. He said the game board is much more balanced than it has been in the past.
''It's definitely more science-based, and we champion the science aspect,'' Joslin said.
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