December 20, 2012 | Volume 42, No. 51

Fish and Game group election draws 78

Seventy-eight residents turned out Dec. 14 for the election meeting of the Upper Lynn Canal Advisory Committee to the boards of Fish and Game.

Committee chair Tim McDonough said the crowd overflowed into the hall outside the assembly chambers and he had to create additional ballots. Members of the committee are elected by residents who show up for the meeting.

Julia Heinz, Kip Kermoian, John Katzeek and John Tronrud of Skagway were elected. Members Sean McLaughlin and Al Gilliam lost their seats.

The turnout for the meeting was exceptionally high.

Heinz said some of the crowd may have been due to an email chain that apparently started when she told a friend she was seeking a seat. “There’s a lot of power in that.” Other candidates also recruited support, she said.

Heinz describes herself as an avid hunter and subsistence user. She said she’s interested in local fish and wildlife issues and in finding ways of protecting the valley’s critical wildlife.

She said there’s no particular wildlife issue she’s focused on, but she’s hoping to see a researched discussion of issues, with all sides represented. As a woman who hunts, she’s a member of the fastest-growing segment of the hunting population, she said.

A discussion of regulatory proposals scheduled for last week’s meeting was postponed until February to include Department of Fish and Game recommendations. McDonough said the February meeting may include discussion of subsistence Dungeness harvest. Some residents have expressed concerns about declining stocks.

Last week’s meeting included a brief discussion of concerns about anglers disturbing eagles and fish in the critical habitat area of the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. That issue may be revisited.

A February meeting date has not been set. Committee members include Randy Jackson, Dave Werner, Dean Risley and Luke Rauscher.