Sport Hunting Concessions, Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Alaska
The National Park Service (NPS) is considering soliciting proposals for guided sport hunting in the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve (BELA). Guided hunting occurred in the area before and after the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA), but ceased within the preserve by the mid-1980s. Sport hunting is allowed in the Preserve under Federal and non-conflicting State laws and regulations, pursuant to ANILCA Sections 203 and 1313 and implementing regulations at 36 CFR Part 13.40(d). Efforts to revive the activities in the early 1990s were met with opposition by local rural residents relying on subsistence resources. Changing conditions in wildlife populations and subsistence use patterns, and requests for new economic opportunities in the region have prompted the NPS to consider this action. Guided sport hunting services are considered to be an appropriate and necessary means to provide hunting opportunities for both Alaska resident and nonresident hunters within Alaska National Preserves. These services are subject to the provisions of the NPS Concessions Management Improvement Act of 1998 (PL 105-391) and other applicable laws and regulations. Alaska state law requires nonresident brown bear hunters to be either accompanied by a licensed guide or a close relative over 19 years old who is an Alaska resident (see AS 16.05.407). A nonresident alien (foreign citizen) must have a licensed guide to hunt any big game species (AS 16.05.408). Although Alaska residents may hunt brown bears in the Preserve without a guide, they may choose to hunt in the Preserve with a guide. The purpose of the action is to determine whether to offer commercial guided hunting opportunities in BELA, and the frequency and area in which they could occur. If a decision is made to proceed with authorizing guided sport hunting in BELA, a concessions prospectus would be issued to competitively award the contracts.
Comment Period: 11/12/2012 - 12/12/2012