Conservation Coalition Strong when Hunters & Outdoor Industry Joins in: Recent events again show that the wildlife conservation coalition can be powerful when hunters, anglers, and the outdoor industry cooperate with it to fight for common political goals. This power is evidenced by the fact that Utah’s conservative U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz first proposed a bill to sell hundreds of thousands acres of Federal lands in Wyoming but later withdrew it due to pressure from hunters and sports people—Chaffetz said “I’m a proud gun owner, hunter and love our public lands.” This story is available on Wyofile at http://www.wyofile.com/utahs-chaffetz-vows-withdraw-bill-sell-public-lands/
Similarly, the outdoor recreation industry group is seeking to counter the attempt by Utah politicians to reverse the designation of Bears Ears area as a national monument. Indeed, they are threatening to take the Outdoor Retailer trade show out of Salt Lake City where it has been held twice a year and which brings millions to the State. According to an article in the High Country News by Tay Wiles at http://www.hcn.org/articles/utahs-outdoor-rec-industry-defends-public-lands?utm_source=wcn1&utm_medium=email more than 100 “outdoor gear” company leaders agreed to look elsewhere if the state continued to sell off public lands which, the outdoor industry relies on for access to recreation. The article quotes one outdoor industry leader, Peter Metcalf, as stating that the public lands issue “high profie binary issue.” This illustrates why the conservation coalition is so strong when outdoor recreation including hunting is included—conservative politicians who tend to ignore traditional conservation organizations pay attention to this industry.
State of Alaska Wildlife Officials versus Wolves and Grizzlies: Some wildlife politics issues never go away and the conflict between Alaska Wildlife Officials and carnivores is a good example. For more than a generation, the officials in State of Alaska Wildlife Department as well as legislators and often the governor have pursued a policy to boost game numbers for caribou by doing away with non-human competitor predators (i.e., wolves and bears) by aggressively killing them. The State of Alaska along with the Safari Club are participating in a lawsuit that challenges U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations that prohibit “aggressive sports hunting” in wildlife preserves and refuges. A number of conservation groups have joined together as Trustees for Alaska to support the regulations and oppose the state lawsuit. As many have documented (including me in my Wildlife Politics book), there is a big discrepancy between the views of the majority of Alaskans and those who dominate wildlife policymaking in the Alaskan legislature and Alaskan wildlife department. The majority do not support aggressive killing of wolves and grizzlies as has been documented in several votes as well as surveys. Indeed, it can be argued that tourism to view wildlife such as grizzlies and wolves bring in far more revenue to the state and its residents than that derived from trophy hunters who are the main target of these misguided attempts to boost the number of game animals. This demonstrates that those pushing the killing of wolves & grizzlies have a very narrow (selfish) focus of self-interest that is contrary to the overall economic well-being of the state. Concerning politicians such as the governor, this approach appears to make no rational sense from an economic perspective but so because of the politics--the single-interest of a small group is able to win out over the majority view because of the high priority they attach to their goal. Only the development of a large enough group who place an equally high priority on wolves and grizzlies will change the political dynamic in the State. The statement of the conservation groups concerning this latest battle over wolves and grizzlies in Alaska is available at: https://wildernesswatch.org/images/wild-issues/2017/02-08-2017-NPS-Predator-Regs-Suit-Intervention.pdf
During my research for the book, I noticed that there was no blog available for sharing informaton on wildlife conservation and thus I set up this blog to accomplish this purpose. Please share any informaticoncerning issues related to wildife policy and politics. I welcome feedback from users concerning this blog and website.