National Park Service Seeks New Regulations In Alaska National Preserves That Would Ban Bear Baiting

National Park Service photo

The following press release is courtesy of the National Park Service:

NPS Seeks Public Input on Proposed Changes to 2020 Hunting and Trapping Regulation on National Preserves in Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska—The National Park Service (NPS) today announced a proposal to amend regulations for hunting and trapping on national preserves in Alaska.  

The proposed regulation would reverse the 2020 Alaska Hunting and Trapping rule, which authorized several controversial sport hunting practices, including bear baiting. The new regulation would reduce visitor use conflicts and concerns over potential safety issues related to bear baiting and would also restore consistency between harvest practices allowed in national preserves and NPS management policies with respect to natural processes, abundances and wildlife behavior. The new rule would also properly reflect the federal government’s authority to regulate hunting and trapping on national preserves in Alaska. 

“We take seriously our responsibilities under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) and the NPS Organic Act, which include mandates for hunting while also conserving and protecting wildlife in our national preserves,” said NPS Alaska Regional Director Sarah Creachbaum. “This proposed rule would realign our efforts to better manage national preserve lands in Alaska for natural processes, as well as address public safety concerns associated with bear baiting.”   

The proposed regulations would only apply to hunting and trapping on Alaska national preserves. Federal Subsistence harvest in national parks and preserves in Alaska would not be affected by the proposed changes.  

The proposed regulation will be published in the Federal Register on January 9, 2023 and will be open for public comment for 60 days until March 10, 2023.

Once the public comment period ends, NPS will review the comments and that input will inform the final rule, which will be published in the Federal Register. The final rule would be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. 

Here’s some reaction: