Alaska News Nightly: June 26, 2008

The first large interior wildfire of the season reaches 700 acres. Also, The U.S. Geological Survey releases a study that quantifies the impact of predator control on wolves. Plus, Human remains excavated from Unalaska and Amaknak Islands in the 1950s and 60s will soon be returned to the Qawalangin tribe. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

Individual news stories are posted in the Alaska News category and you can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via e-mail, podcast and RSS.

First major interior wildfire blazing near Venetie
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The season’s first major wildfire in the interior is drawing state and federal aircraft and personnel to the Yukon Flats. The fire is burning very close to the village of Venetie. Maggie Rogers with the State Division of Forestry says the fire was started by someone at the village dump.

A question of ownership and access in Bethel road dispute
Angela Denning Barnes, KYUK – Bethel
A family in Bethel is blocking access to one of the city’s main streets. They’re trying to prevent the dirt road from becoming an impassable, swampy mess during and after it rains. The barricade is entirely legal, because the family own’s the native allotment that includes the road. They have the city behind them, but they’re frustrating some residents who rely on it to get around town.

New USGS study tracks human impact on wolves
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A new study clarifies human’s impact on wolf populations. The U.S. Geological Survey study looks at the affects of hunting, trapping and other human caused losses, like road kill. U.S.G.S. Wildlife Biologist Layne Adams says the analysis uses numbers from studies conducted over the last 30 years on wolves in Alaska and the lower 48. Adams says it reveals a tipping point below which losses have no affect.

Sales of high MPG scooters taking off in Kodiak
Mary Donaldson, KMXT – Kodiak
Some vehicle manufacturers in the Lower-48 are shutting down factories that had been producing thousands of SUV’s before gas prices rose markedly. Kodiak residents are also taking new steps to ease their pocketbooks from the rising cost of fuel.

Sealaska to hold annual meeting in San Francisco
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Southeast Alaska’s regional Native corporation holds its annual meeting this Saturday. But this year, it’s in California, not Alaska.

New Tribal Advisor for EPA region 10
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The Environmental Protection Agency has a new Tribal advisor for region 10, which covers Alaska, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Jim Woods is a Makah tribal member and worked for his Washington state tribe in their environment program. He is also recognized nationally for his work on air quality issues. Woods says the EPA has a trust responsibility to engage tribes in consultation on environmental standards in their communities.

Excavated remains to be returned to Qawalangin Tribe

Anne Hillman, KIAL – Unalaska
Human remains excavated from Unalaska and Amaknak Islands in the 1950s and 60s will soon be returned to the Qawalangin tribe. Robert King coordinates the repatriation of bones under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The 1990 law says bones and funerary items found on federal lands need to be offered back to their original families or tribes.

4-wheelers scarring Starrigavan valley
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
Increased all-terrain vehicle traffic in the last couple of years has churned up new – and unauthorized – trails in the Starrigavan valley near Sitka. And the tributaries and stream bed of Starrigavan creek itself are bearing the brunt of the impact.

Learning to cook the traditional way
Andi McDaniel, KCAW – Sitka
Some of the best recipes in the world can’t be found in cookbooks. At Dog Point Fish Camp near Sitka, traditional ways of gathering and preparing food are learned hands-on.