Letter: Denali wolves need support

Ron Sommerville’s recent rebuttal to an earlier offering by Joel Bennet’s plea on behalf of support for Denali National Park’s decimated wolves misses most of what this is about.

This is about the welfare of wolves and wildlife of the nation’s premier wilderness national park, Alaska’s great Denali National Park. It is not about masters degrees in wildlife management, it’s not about careers with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. This a wildlife issue front and center.

Wildlife welfare seldom if ever gets attention in these deliberations. Sommerville’s arguments speak to turf war, state v. feds. However, this is actually about what’s best for the wildlife itself.

He misses that the U.S. House of Representatives version of ANILCA includes the wolf townships as an addition to Denali National Park, the area now outside present park bounds into which park wolves attracted to bait stations stray and get legally trapped and shot. This House version, however, is excluded from the Senate version which is what was passed as part of the final ANILCA legislation. However, a Senate legislative report accompanying the final ANILCA legislation states the wolf townships are critical habitat for the health of the park’s wolves, bears, caribou and other park species and should be added to this park later through a land exchange. That was 36 years ago. It’s time to get busy and complete the parks ecosystem to support the needs of its iconic wildlife that park visitors come by the multiple thousands to experience. This is big stuff for the state of Alaska to embrace, a tourist, visitor economic driver for our state which is in financial crisis mode.

It’s the wildlife. What’s best for the wildlife of Denali is what’s best our state of Alaska. Lost with Mr. Sommerville.

Jim Kowalsky,