Letters to the Editor

Posted: Monday, September 10, 2001

No appeal on Katie John paves way for permanent federal oversight

This summer, the Federal Subsistence Board closed all sport fishing for king and chum salmon in the Yukon/Kuskokwim area of Alaska while keeping most subsistence fisheries open.

This decision follows closely on the heels of the Katie John case and is a preview of what is to come on the Kenai and other areas of Alaska.

Recently, the Knowles/Ulmer administration broke their promise to appeal the Katie John case in addition to breaking their oath to protect the constitution of Alaska. This decision was blasted by conservatives like Sen. Murkowski but was applauded by the biased newspapers and local liberal activists like Judy Salo. There is little doubt Alaska would have won on appeal.

So what does this decision by Knowles/Ulmer mean for Alaskans?

It means a greatly divided state with the federal government having permanent control and oversight of hunting and fishing in Alaska. This oversight would continue regardless of a ballot initiative to change our constitution.

Changing our constitution, which is modeled after our federal constitution, would make it legal for the federal government to have even more control because of the continued oversight statewide.

If you don't want the federal government to allow subsistence nets to replace sport and commercial fishing and to greatly diminish hunting rights, you better get actively involved with sportsmen groups and make your vote count.

There's a good chance you will see the names Ulmer, Knowles, Salo and Smalley on one side and the names of Murkowski, Halford and Kelley on the other side in the next election cycle.

We need a governor who will try to get our rights back from the feds and to protect our Alaska constitutional rights of equality for all the people.

Donald Szepanski

Alaska Outdoor Council Member

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