Like many Alaskans, I saw my first wild wolf in Denali National Park — a treasure that indicates a healthy, natural ecosystem. Denali wolves don’t know when they have stepped out of protected park lands — but trappers do, as does the Alaska Board of Game, through its elimination of important buffer zones.
Petitions by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and many concerned Alaska citizens urging for a reinstated buffer zone on a small portion of state land that juts into Denali have repeatedly been denied. In addition to unforgettable memories, there are economic benefits from visitors traveling to Alaska solely to see Denali wolves and wildlife. Such tourism diversifies our economy and provides sustainable jobs.
However, wolf-seeking visitors are increasingly out of luck. Denali National Park researchers recently reported a startling decrease in wolf sightings from the park road: from 44 percent in 2010, to 21 percent in 2011, then 12 percent in 2012, to merely 4 percent in 2013. NPCA urges the Board of Game to reconsider its position and take immediate action.
— Joan Frankevich