Dunleavy announces appointees to Board of Fish, Board of Game


Governor Dunleavy Announces Appointees to Board of Fish and Board of Game

Gov. Michael Dunleavy today announced his appointees to the Board of Fish and the Board of Game:

Israel Payton of Wasilla is a lifelong Alaskan. Raised in Skwentna, Payton lived a subsistence lifestyle harvesting fish and game. His years of work experience throughout Alaska includes guiding, North Slope operator, commercial pilot, airplane mechanic, deck hand, and property manager. Currently, Payton works for Airframes Alaska, Alaska’s largest manufacturer and seller of aviation parts. Payton enjoys hunting, fishing, and flying. He has participated in the Board of Fisheries & Game meetings for many years and is a past Advisory Committee member.

Marit Carlson-Van Dort, a born and raised Alaskan, spent over a decade salmon seining and forging a strong appreciation of Alaska’s fishery resources as a young woman. Carlson-Van Dort received her BS in Conservation Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduate work in Fisheries Science and Secondary Education. She has a background in both the private and public sectors, with experience in government affairs, environmental policy, permitting, development, and community outreach. Carlson-Van Dort currently serves as director of external affairs for Nana Regional Corporation.

Gerad Godfrey of Eagle River grew up commercial fishing in the Kodiak Island Fishery for twelve years. He spent fourteen years working on the North Slope and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in the Port of Valdez. Godfrey has worked for Afognak Native Corporation since 2009, recently becoming the Vice Chair on the Board of Directors. Previously, he was former Gov. Bill Walker’s senior policy advisor on rural affairs and served for 17 years as the chairman of the Violent Crimes Compensation Board. Godfrey has held numerous other board seats including AFN, ANVCA, and the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce.

Karl Johnstone of Anchorage is married with four children. He has been a resident of Alaska since 1967. Johnstone graduated with a BS in Production Management in 1964 and with Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona. He practiced law until 1979 when Gov. Jay Hammond appointed him to the Superior Court. He served as presiding judge for the last four years until retiring in 1996. Johnstone had previously served as member and chairman of the Board of Fisheries from 2008-2015.

Mr. Payton is currently on the Board of Fish and will continue to serve per his reappointment. Mr. Johnstone and Ms. Carlson-Van Dort will take their seats on the Board of Fish immediately, with Mr. Godfrey taking his seat on July 1, 2019.

Gov. Dunleavy’s appointees to the Board of Game include:

Jerry Burnett grew up in Washington State and moved to Juneau, Alaska in 1981. Jerry grew up hunting and fishing with his father and five brothers. In 2017 he retired from the State of Alaska where he served as a director and deputy commissioner at the Department of Revenue. Jerry has long been involved with Fish and Game Management issues in Alaska having served on the boards of the Alaska Outdoor Council and Territorial Sportsmen. He and his wife own and operate Encounter Charters, a fishing and wildlife viewing business.

Al Barrette of Fairbanks is a big game guide, taxidermist, and small business owner. He honorably served in the US Army for nine years before he began his taxidermy career. He has owned and operated the Fairbanks Fur Tannery for almost 30 years. Barrette first became involved in the BOG process in 1995, was elected to the Fairbanks Fish and Game Advisory Committee in 2005, and currently serves as chairman of the Game and Trap subcommittee. In 2007 he became a class A big game guide.

Orville Huntington was born in Huslia, Alaska and received a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from University of Alaska, Fairbanks. From 2012-2019, he served as a member of the Board of Fish. As a public servant for the village of Huslia and the 43 villages of the Tanana Chiefs Conference region, Mr. Huntington’s primary responsibilities continue to be the preservation of Native subsistence hunting, fishing, gathering, and trapping opportunities and the cultural events that surround those beliefs.

Burnett took his seat on February 21, 2019. Barrette and Huntington will take their seats on the Board of Game on July 1, 2019.


  1. If there are two things that are clear from this current administration it is: One) It is shaping up to be a “Parnell 2.0” in many aspects of “game management” and Two) That trapping, commercial fishing and big game trophy hunting with trump any attempts at conservation throughout the state.
    “Barrette’s performance at both that BOG meeting and Monday’s hearing, and not his Biblical underpinnings, is what should ultimately doom his appointment, if the Alaska Legislature properly does its job. If anything, the Fairbanks trapper proved himself to be among the more extreme members of a board already loaded with hunting- and trapping-rights advocates.”
    Seems like there are no new candidates for these positions, just the same old same old “voices” from the crowd…voices that support the agenda of a Billion hatchery fish a year added to our waters and killing of wolves and bears in defense of moose for trophy hunting profits.


    • I don’t know Steve, but do think that Karl Johnstone (who has been there before) will again bring some needed knowledge to B of Fish. His reaction when confronted by Walker, over the Roland Maw fiasco, was professional IMO. This was a huge blunder by Walker, over B of Fish refusal to hear Maw’s pleading his case for Commissioner of F & G, and his being selected by Dunleavy is (frankly) just about the only thing Dunleavy has done I support.

  2. Bill,
    Although I feel the fish board will continue in the direction of more and more hatchery salmon released, Mr. Payton does appear the lone voice attempting to identify the needs of subsistence and personal use fisherman.
    My big concern is on the side of “game management” where we are seeing many of the same old “pro predator control” voices from the past that have drawn much condemnation in the past from citizens around the state.
    With Vincent Lang back in as commissioner and Rick Rydell appointed as his loyal “side kick”, along with old voices like Barrette back on the board…there is little chance for “conservation” of wildlife in my opinion.
    Many sportsman seem concerned about this direction as we can see in this recent article by John Schandelmeier…
    “Last month aerial wolf hunting began in Unit 13. It has been several years since aerial hunters have been allowed in the Unit 13 Intensive Management Area…
    The Intensive Management program includes sub-units 13 A, B, C and E. The wolf population estimate also includes Unit 13D where there are about 75 wolves.
    Simple math tells us the control program is only going to leave 90 wolves in Unit 13, when excepting the 75 in 13D.
    That isn’t many wolves given the size of the remainder of the unit. There have been 100 wolves taken so far, with 135 to go.”
    Aerial killing of wolves, bait stations for black and brown bears along with trapping of bears in some areas will probably continue as long as these types of people are placed in positions of leadership.


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