Interesting article in Newsminer on the Guide Concession Program:
I have to say that quotes in the article from Tiffany (who btw is an APHA member) are odd. No offense to Mr. Tiffany, but when the org he belongs to and supports has said publicly that the GCP would "substantially reduce" the number of guides on state lands, and he says, "I think the notion that it’s a broad sweeping cut of guides in Alaska is incorrect," it just seems like evermore spin to me.
Also gotta love this: “We’re telling (guides) if this program isn’t implemented we could see an end to the guide and outfitter industry,” Fithian said. “The Board of Game is going to continue to place restrictions on the amount of non-resident opportunities.”
This is (again) the part I don't get. If, as the article alludes, DNR will only award concessions to the guides who will not hire a bunch of assistants and have a plan that meets the harvest strategy F&G would like to see...won't that in effect reduce non-res opportunity from what it currently is? Isn't the GCP in effect a method of placing restrictions on non-res opportunity?
And again APHA keeps harping on this "ending" or eliminating the guide industry, which I don't see ever happening. The BOG has said they may just cap all non-res opportunity for certain species at 10% opportunity, but nowhere have I ever seen any notion to eliminate the guide industry.
And then we have this from Fithian: “If we keep limiting non-resident opportunities we’re going to have to figure out how we’re going to pay for our wildlife preservation programs,” Fithian said.
Note the word choice used, "preservation," instead of the correct word, "conservation." And again it comes down to the fact that residents don't currently pay enough (imo) for hunting licenses, and that we also need to raise non-res license/tag fees to be more in line with what other western states charge.
Again, this whole thing doesn't really add up when you look at what various folks are saying and have said. If indeed this is all about the resource, and that an unlimited # of guides/clients are overharvesting that resource (as is mentioned in the article), and that the GCP would effectively cut down on the number of guides (and clients), then how does that not restrict non-resident opportunity and the funding non-resident hunters provide?
More quotes: Fithian, who chaired the committee that drew up the concession area boundaries and helped craft the scoring criteria, acknowledged the scoring criteria “has big failures in it” after DNR made changes to the committee’s version.
“We have real concerns about selection criteria and we’re working (with DNR) to address that,” he said.
Under the current scoring criteria proposal, guides would also be able to gain points by bidding on areas they wanted, an idea that even supporters of the proposal say is probably a bad one.
“I don’t like that part,” Spraker, of the game board, said. “One guy with a lot of money or backers can really up his score by outbidding another guy. A guy could basically buy a hunt area.”
I am really glad to see Ted Spraker voice opposition to the bidding process currently in the GCP plans. And hopefully that is something Fithian also opposes, though it isn't clear in the article what his concerns are exactly. I'd like to know if Fithian/APHA originally asked for a competitive bidding process, and just what changes DNR made that differ from what he/APHA proposed.
I'd quote more but best to read the article. Kudos to Mowry for what I thought was a good piece on this.
Happy New Year,