Yearling brown bear cubs near the Russian River Ferry. (Photo by Matt Conner/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Yearling brown bear cubs near the Russian River Ferry. (Photo by Matt Conner/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Judge delivers victory for opponents of brown bear trapping in refuge

U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Gleason ruled against proposed changes to the refuge’s public use regulations

A federal court has ruled to uphold regulations prohibiting brown bear baiting in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Gleason rejected efforts to overturn a 2016 rule regulating hunting and trapping on the refuge, including prohibiting brown bear baiting, affirming that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has authority to manage wildlife it oversees.

Groups such as the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuge and Trustees for Alaska celebrated the ruling, which was delivered last week, as a victory for Kenai’s brown bears.

“This decision means that the Kenai Refuge will continue to function as a true refuge for vulnerable Kenai brown bears and other species,” said Rachel Briggs, staff attorney with Trustees for Alaska. “The ruling further maintains the Skilak area for wildlife viewing, and confirms the authority of the Fish and Wildlife Service to manage wildlife refuges to support an array of uses and protect wildlife diversity.”

Plaintiffs included the State of Alaska, Safari Club International and Alaska Professional Hunters Association, among others. Defendants included the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among others.

The ruling in State of Alaska v. Bernhardt, which was delivered on Nov. 13, can be viewed by searching case number 3:17-cv-00013-SLG.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of June 26

Here’s what to expect this week.

t
Police calls for Saturday, July 2, 2022

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Rockets’ red glare illuminates the night sky and spectators during the City and Borough of Juneau’s fireworks display on July 3, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Rockets’ red glare illuminates the night sky and spectators during the City and Borough of Juneau’s fireworks display on July 3, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
What you need to know for this fourth of July

Check out the scheduled events here.

Larisa Bishop Boros
This photo available under a Creative Commons license shows a male silver-haired bat captured in Ozark National Scenic Riverways in 2010. A bat found in Douglas tested positive for rabies, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced.
Bat found in Douglas tests positive for rabies

No report of rabies exposure to people, according to Department of Fish and Game.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday, July 1, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Road to Majority conference Friday, June 17, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. A rally planned to include Trump is scheduled to happen in Anchorage on July 9.  (AP Photo / Mark Humphrey File)
Trump to rally for Palin, Dunleavy, Tshibaka in Anchorage

Former President Donald Trump plans to attend a rally in Alaska next week.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, June 30, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Courtesy Photo / Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy 
Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Tuesday signed the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Gov. Dunleavy signs budget

PFD of about $3,200, $400 million in vetoes to Legislature-approved items among declared highlights

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, June 29, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read