Petition to close lands outside Denali National Park to wolf hunting rejected

The Alaska Board of Game again rejected closing state lands northeast of Denali National Park and Preserve to wolf trapping and hunting on Friday.

Board members voted unanimously to reject an emergency petition during the Alaska Board of Game meeting in Anchorage.

The petition was filed by the Alaska Wildlife Alliance and nine other parties, chairman Ted Spraker told the board.

The issue has come before the board in past years and has similarly been rejected.

It arises from a contentious decision in 2010 in which the Board of Game removed a buffer zone around the northeast periphery of Denali National Park where wolf hunting and trapping was prohibited.

On Friday, board members discussed why wolf pack numbers within the park have reached their lowest point since the 1980s.

Conservation groups contend that eliminating the buffer zone has contributed to the decline. Alaska Board of Game director Bruce Dale testified Friday that low numbers of moose and caribou were to blame for low wolf population levels.


Dale told the board that an emergency petition must rise to the level of an "unforeseen, unexpected event … that threatens a resource."

Board member Bob Mumford on Friday called the decision to eliminate the buffer zone "regrettable" but voted against the petition, saying it did not constitute an emergency.

Laurel Andrews

Laurel Andrews was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in October 2018.