Recent paid commentaries are antithesis of civil discourse
January 20, 2022
The ADF&G, Division of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) is constitutionally mandated to manage game using sustained yield principles. Within that mandate our management attempts to address the public’s will, particularly as expressed through regulations and guidance from the Alaska Board of Game. To improve public understanding of game populations in the Haines area, in recent years the DWC has initiated research projects to inform management of goats, brown bears, and moose. Those projects were initiated at the request of the community and Upper Lynn Canal Fish and Game Advisory Committee and reflect a cooperative working relationship between DWC, wildlife user groups, and area residents. We are all fortunate to have a cadre of professional DWC biologists to conduct this work in an objective, transparent, and scientifically valid manner. Unfortunately, the integrity of two DWC biologists was recently questioned.
As wildlife managers, DWC recognizes the diversity of values and opinions about wildlife and encourages respectful dialogue among user groups and with DWC. However, recent opinions published in the Chilkat Valley News are the antithesis of a respectful conversation. In those opinions two DWC biologists were accused of lying, favoring one user group over another, and manipulating data. Those unsubstantiated personal attacks are untrue,
harmed relationships, and should not be tolerated.
Disagreements are normal, and as long as discussions remain civil, they can lead to research and management strategies that better reflect public priorities. We encourage anyone interested in wildlife management to learn the facts and hold DWC accountable because misinformation can have severe consequences for relationships and the successful and appropriate management of wildlife. DWC staff are exceptional. In many cases they are the public face of the agency, and their professionalism and dedication to public service helps DWC cooperate with users to successfully manage wildlife for all Alaskans. In Haines, as throughout Alaska, DWC biologists spend an enormous amount of time working with the public to plan and execute projects. That includes meeting with communities and users to keep them informed and avoid conflict and presenting findings through in-person and virtual presentations, Advisory Committees meetings, and community training events. Those efforts keep the public informed and DWC transparent, accountable, and connected to the interests of communities and the users we serve.
We would like to clarify that decisions about management and research programs are always vetted by regional and often statewide leadership. DWC biologists do not work in isolation. DWC leadership directs, monitors, and reviews projects; and ultimately determines how information we gather will be used to manage wildlife. If there are questions or concerns about DWC programs or staff, please contact DWC regional or statewide leadership (Tom Schumacher, Regional Supervisor, 465-4359 or Ryan Scott, Assistant Director, 465-4191). DWC has a long history of working in the Chilkat Valley and upper Lynn Canal, and we appreciate the interest and input received from area residents. In many cases that has helped improve management outcomes. We look forward to continuing that collaborative and productive relationship in managing the incredible wildlife resources we are fortunate to have so close at hand.
Thank you & Happy Holidays,
Div. of Wildlife Conservation members
Eddie Grasser, Director
Ryan Scott, Assistant Director
Tom Schumacher, Region I Supervisor