Nelchina Caribou Hunt in Question

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

A Superior court ruling earlier this week has put the popular Nelchina Basin caribou hunt into question. The basin is in the Glenallen area, northeast of Anchorage.

The hunt was scheduled to start on August 10. The court ruled that a community harvest program for Athna tribal villages was unconstitutional; putting the community harvest program along with 850 Tier 1 permits on hold.

Rod Arno is the executive director of the Alaska Outdoor Council, the council’s political arm the Alaska Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fund joined as an intervener plaintiff in the challenge originally filed by Kenneth Manning. Arno says the permits will have to be recalled and that is exactly what the Council wanted to have happen. Arno says the community harvest program violated the Alaska Constitution’s Article 8 Section 3 clause that states all fish and game resources are owned equally by the public.

Ken Johns is the president and CEO of Athna incorporated. He represents the villages who were taking part in the community harvest program. He says it took years to come up with a program that seemed to share the resource adequately. He says there were allocations for the community harvest program along with permits for a Tier 1 hunt and some tickets for guides. He says the court’s decision is disappointing.

Download Audio (MP3)