by Lorien Nettleton ~ February 18th, 2012
Two proposals that affect game management units near Denali National Park are being reviewed by the Board of Game. One would legalize motorized access for hunting in the Yanert basin, and another would institute predator management practices for the first time in the area.
The Board of Game’s Proposal 213 would introduce a late season motorized hunt into the Yanert Valley of Unit 20A, currently one of the last areas statewide where a non-motorized hunt is still in place. The Department of Fish and Game hunt says the hunt is a way to increase access to moose, but many locals have opposed this hunt, citing the game management philosophy of “maximum take” and its environmental and social impacts in an area with little or no trailhead parking and limited access. A winter motorized hunt after September 30th would introduce snowmachines and four wheelers and other motorized vehicles, which has residents concerned about impacts on the terrain, similar to highly trafficked access trails like the Rex Trail on the Parks Highway north of Healy.
Intensive management is being discussed for Unit 20c, which runs north from the boundary of Denali National Park. Proposals 227 and 229 would declare Unit 20C an intensive management area, and institute a plan for maximizing the yield of moose for human harvest, by setting high harvest numbers and instituting predator killing activities.
The Denali Citizens’ Council says the current proposals follow a game management that seeks to maximize the human “take” of moose by instituting these programs without the necessary scientific justification. The Council adds that there is little science showing that Unit 20C can support greater harvest numbers.