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State gives Alaskans more time to comment on wildlife strategic plan

Posted: Tuesday, November 05, 2002

The director of the Alaska Division of Wildlife Conservation announced he is extending the deadline for public comment on the division's newly released draft strategic plan.

Now you have until Nov. 15 (instead of the previously announced Nov. 1) to get your comments to the division regarding the plan, which attempts to set management directives for the division for the coming decade.

Director Wayne Regelin is quoted in a press release saying a number of people, including the media, pointed out that more time was needed to give a thorough review of such an important document. He says he wants to be responsive to the public and ensure people have time to review the document and provide meaningful feedback. ''Five weeks, rather than three, is a more reasonable length of time for this to occur,'' he said.

We think it will be plenty of time for Web savvy readers to respond. But the five weeks includes the time these documents will soak in the mail system, to and from the source, and languish in personal post office boxes that go unchecked for days at a time. But it's still tight -- especially on top of a general election when people's minds are otherwise occupied where governmental matters are concerned.

It is better, however, and we appreciate the division's responsiveness. ...

... (W)e have heard from some trappers who are suspicious of this process. One reason is because the president of the association was not included in an original scoping session in Anchorage that included users from a broad range of interests -- mostly non-consumptive. The second, of course, is the division's recent proposal to the Board of Game to make permanent a buffer zone outside Denali National Park and Preserve that eliminated wolf hunting and trapping opportunities for locals in an attempt to preserve packs that tend to roam near where summertime tourists may see them.

It's no wonder trappers are a little leery of division moves at this time, especially in attempts to set future policy.

But the division is laying its future guiding strategy out for comment now, and the director says he wants to be responsive. We can't complain about that.

The best action at this point is to make sure they hear what is most important to the Alaskans who buy the permits and licenses and pay the federal taxes that keep the division up and running.

You have until Nov. 15 get your thoughts in their hands.

-- Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Oct. 29



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