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Itís Time to Better Assess the Guided Hunting of Katmaiís Bears

WHAT YOU CAN DO: 

In support of a more transparent review under NEPA, you can write the Park Service and express your thoughts about this proposed activity.  In your letter please request a moratorium on the release of the prospectus for guided hunting concessions in Katmai until this requested environmental analysis is completed. 

Katmai Hunt Prospectus

TEXT ONLY

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UPDATE: On August 15, 2011, Jim Stratton, Alaska and Pacific Northwest Senior Regional Director of National Parks Conservation Association responds to Lisa Fox/National Park Service regarding Katmai Hunt Prospectus:  CLICK HERE

With all due respect and appreciation to the National Park Service, and Lisa Fox: NPS Chief of Communications, for publishing the Katmai Hunt Perspective - and in light of Mr. Stratton's indepth letter to Lisa Fox/NPS, we would repectfully request that the NPS, in an effort to provide more transparency furnish the public with the following: 

 

• Reports from National Park Service showing the brown bear numbers and location on which they are basing their Hunt Prospectus.

• Disclosure of past and current hunt concession businesses and the harvest numbers and location.

• Provide for a new (more concise - more current) formula to be developed to ascertain bear numbers and migration factors for Katmai/McNeil bears.

• Disclosure of any and all environmental reports: compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including publication of an Environmental Assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

• The National Park Service should abide by their mandate from Congress regarding the brown bear/grizzly habitat. 

 

Because Katmai is a National Park and Preserve everyone in the USA has a say in what occurs there.  People from around the world who have visited Katmai National Park (bringing tourism dollars to the state of Alaska) - your voice should be heard, too.  Just because the August 15th deadline for public comment has passed, your voice can still be heard!

 

 

"The Katmai National Preserve hunting guide concession prospectus would allow Alaska-licensed guides to continue to provide big game hunting visitor services as required by state and federal law. Your input will be considered."

Please send comments to:

Lisa M. Fox
Chief of Commercial Services
Katmai National Park & Preserve
240 West 5th Ave.

Suite 236
Anchorage, AK 99501

email:  Lisa_Fox@nps.gov

 

Sue Masica

NPS Alaska Regional Director

(same address as above)

email:  Sue_Masica@nps.gov

 

Katmai Hunt Prospectus Newsletter

 

  

Katmai National Preserve Hunting Guide Concession:
Opportunity for Public Comment

The National Park Service is pre­paring to publish a prospectus inviting proposals for the provision of sport hunting guide services in Katmai National Preserve. Hunting is authorized within the Preserve under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA Section 1313). Hunting guide ser­vices are a necessary and appro­priate means to afford visitors an opportunity to hunt within the Pre­serve subject to the provisions of the NPS Concessions Management Improvement Act of 1998 and other applicable laws and regulations. The NPS is contemplating issuing concession contracts for guide services similar to those offered in the past and in the same areas where hunting has been authorized since the Preserve's establishment. This process is accomplished through publication of a prospectus, or business opportunity. When published, the prospectus would describe proposed adjustments in guide area boundaries, client limits for wildlife harvest, including brown bear, and other pertinent contractual conditions and require­ments.  Section 202(2) of ANILCA provides that Katmai National Park and Preserve be managed for "high con­centrations of brown/grizzly bears and their denning areas." In the past, the NPS has expressed con­cern about harvest rates because biological data were not available to adequately assess the potential impacts of hunting on bear popula­tion numbers, particularly within the Moraine guide area (see guide area map). Cooperative efforts with the State of Alaska on bear surveys from 2006-2009 have indicated that bear populations in the Preserve are able to support the proposed harvest levels while sustaining high concentrations of brown bears. The NPS is now able to more thorough­ly evaluate harvest goals and client numbers for future concession op­erations within the Preserve. 


Background

Currently, Katmai National Preserve is divided into two guide areas: the Mo­raine area (about 353,000 acres), and the smaller Sugarloaf area (about 60,000 acres) on the western end of the Pre­serve. The current annual limits are 25 clients, and 3 clients, respectively. In the past, concessioners have provided guide services for brown bear, moose, and car­ibou hunters; although most recently, most harvest has centered on brown bear hunt­ing. Within state Game Management Unit (GMU) 9, fall bear hunts are authorized in odd-numbered years and spring bear hunts are authorized in even-numbered years. All individuals are limited to a har­vest of one brown bear every four years. State law requires that nonresident hunters who hunt brown bear must be accom­panied in the field by an Alaska-licensed guide or an Alaska resident 19 years or older who is within the second degree of kindred. Non-U.S. citizens hunting any big game must be accompanied in the field by an Alaska-licensed guide. 


Guide Areas

When published, the prospectus would include an adjustment to the boundaries of the two existing guide areas (keeping the total area the same), in order to accomplish three objectives: to more equitably distribute guided hunting opportunity, to more fully dis­tribute wildlife harvest across the landscape, and to align the area boundaries, where possible, with pending state guide use areas. The two guide areas within the Preserve would be separated by the Alagnak River, south shore of Kukaklek Lake, and the main stem of Nanuktuk Creek (see map). 


Client and Brown Bear Harvest Limits

When published, the prospectus would establish client limits for brown bear within each guided area by hunt season: (see table) The fall and spring brown bear client numbers limit harvest to a maximum of 7% based on existing brown bear population data. This is consistent with recommended target harvest rates for brown bear both statewide (5-7%) and on the Alaska Peninsula (5-10%). These numbers represent a reduction in bear harvest of 30% in fall and 10% in spring from maximum harvests experienced in the past 10 years. In the past, unguided harvest has accounted for 70% of fall harvest, but has been a very minor con­tributor to spring harvests. Therefore, only the fall client limits have been ad­justed to account for unguided harvest. The NPS has proposed these brown bear harvest targets and limits to maintain Preserve populations at an appropriate level and to provide for public hunting opportunity that is consistent with sound wildlife management principles. The NPS willcontinue to monitor the brown bear population within the Pre­serve. If necessary, harvest concerns that arise during the term of the contracts could be addressed through changes to federal and/ or state hunting regulations, or emergency action. The NPS retains authority to change the client and wild­life harvest limits identified within the concession contracts through established administrative procedures and utilizing appropriate notification. It is the NPS's intention to manage brown bear harvest at 7% or below, and to ensure that other harvested wildlife populations within the Preserve are also healthy. When published, the prospectus would include a requirement for concession­ers to collect global positioning system (GPS) data for bear harvest locations, and report the information to the NPS. This information would be compared with brown bear aerial survey data. 


Environmental Compliance

Issuance of NPS concession contracts is generally categorically excluded from more detailed analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (CE 3.4 A.(5) "Issuances, extensions, renewals, reissuances or minor modifications of concessions contracts or permits not entailing new construction." Interim Guidance, NPS Director's Order-12, Categorical Exclusions).

 To facilitate consideration of the appropriate NEPA compliance level for the proposed action, the NPS will conduct environmental screening to determine potential impacts. Adjusting the guide area bound­aries and brown bear client limits are not substantial changes, and are not are expected to result in unacceptable impacts to park resources and values, including the brown bear population, other users (bear viewing), wilderness character, or subsistence use.  

The Katmai National Preserve hunting guide con­cession prospectus would allow Alaska-licensed guides to continue to provide big game hunting visitor services as required by state and federal law. Your input will be considered. Please send comments to = Deadline August 15, 2011:  

Lisa M. Fox
Chief of Commercial Services
Katmai National Park & Preserve
240 West 5th Ave. Suite 236 
Anchorage, AK 99501  
> Email commentsclick here

 

Sue Masica
NPS AlAska Regional Director

(same address)

> Email commentsclick here


Please Note:
Before including your address, telephone number, electronic mail address, or other personal identifying information in your com­ments, you should be aware that your entire comment (including your personal identifying information) may be made publicly available at any time. Although you can ask us in your comments to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.