ALASKAN SPORTSMEN PLEASED
Nine out of 12 members of the National Park System Advisory Board members quit on Monday to spite Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke, who has not met with them since being sworn in last March.
The board’s chairman, former Gov. Tony Knowles, wrote a letter to Sec. Zinke saying that Knowles and the eight others felt they were not part of the new Department of Interior agenda. All of them had terms that expired in May.
Knowles’ letter seemed aimed at maximum political impact — it was given to the Washington Post. He evidently did not advise any of the Alaskans who currently work in the Department of Interior about his planned protest letter.
“Frustrated” is how one reporter described the Park Board Nine.
But outdoors enthusiasts contacted Must Read Alaska expressing approval of the board members’ departure, and said that former Gov. Knowles might finally understand how Alaskan outdoorsmen (and women) have felt during the eight years of the Obama Administration.
“Where was Knowles when the federal government was going after John Sturgeon?” one hunter asked Must Read Alaska. The Alaskan hunter has spent over one million dollars fighting the Park Service all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Knowles never has weighed in on the question of whether hunters like Sturgeon should be able to use the Nations River to get to their hunting grounds.
“What letters did he write defending hunting and fishing when the Park Service was making it harder and harder for Alaskans? Where was he on state sovereignty and predator control?”
Gov. Knowles was sitting on an advisory board that allowed, without objection, former Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell to shut down access to vast areas of Alaska land. He never threatened to quit over the federal government’s overreach during the Obama era.
Rod Arno, executive director of the Alaska Outdoor Council, said the advisory board was changing the mission of the national park system.
“It went from allowing the public to participate in parks to being a policy of preservation and creating a laboratory to study climate change. Sally Jewell was letting them do that,” he said. In fact, cleaning out the board was high on the list of Alaska’s hunting and fishing community.
There are over 1,000 advisory panels across government, with some 37,000 appointees that give their advice to the relevant agencies. The Park System Advisory Board was established in 1935.