Alaska House concerned with new National Park Service push to regulate hunting, trapping

Members of the Alaska House of Representatives voted Monday to officially express their concern about the National Park Service’s (NPS) role in hunting and trapping regulations on National Wildlife Preserves, according to an announcement from the House Majority.

In a March 8 statement, NPS said it was proposing to reverse the 2020 Alaska Hunting and Trapping rule, which authorized, as the agency put it, “several controversial sport hunting practices, including bear baiting.”

According to the Federal Register, the 2020 rule — which the NPS published in June of 2020 — rolled back on some of the prior restrictions on sport hunting and trapping in national preserves that was previously implemented in 2015. Those included taking black bear cubs and sows with cubs with artificial light at den sites, harvesting bears over bait, taking wolves and coyotes — including pups — during the denning season, taking swimming caribou, taking caribou from motorboats under power, and using dogs to hunt black bears.  

The NPS statement from March says the new policy would reduce safety concerns related to bear baiting and restore consistency in harvest practices “with respect to natural processes, abundances and wildlife behavior.”

But the Alaska House Majority is challenging the move, contending that the NPS is violating the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act by taking away the state’s right to manage wildlife populations.

In the announcement Monday, the House claimed the NPS’s proposed rule change could upset predator and prey populations and infringe on the ability of many Alaskans to sustain their way of life through hunting.


“With all due respect to the NPS, their claims of public safety risks regarding bear attacks due to baiting stations are based on assumptions and not facts,” Tok republican Rep. Mike Cronk said in the House Majority statement. “The state of Alaska has already researched this and other current practices that are regulated by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and found that they do not pose conservation nor public safety concerns. However, limiting the state’s ability to manage its wildlife population and ensure food security, particularly for rural Alaskans, is very concerning.”

The resolution to officially express concern about the rule change passed in the Alaska House by a vote of 31-5 on Monday.

The NPS has extended its public comment period for the proposed rule until March 27. To comment online, visit and click the “Open For Comment” tab on the left rail. Submit written comments via mail to: National Park Service, Regional Director, RE: Wildlife Rule EA, Alaska Regional Office, 240 West 5th Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501.