Governor appoints two to Board of Game

Posted: Thursday, January 25, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- When legislators review the two newest appointees to the state Board of Game, one face will be quite familiar.

Former state Rep. Ben Grussendorf, D-Sitka, was named Wednesday to the panel that makes decisions on seasons, bag limits and hunting and viewing areas for the state's wildlife.

Gov. Tony Knowles also appointed Julie Maier of Fairbanks, an affiliate professor and research associate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Arctic Biology.

They replace board members Lori Quakenbush and Eric Williamson, whose terms expired. Knowles could have reappointed them.

Knowles said Grussendorf and Maier bring experience, diversity and dedication that's needed on the Game Board.

Senate Majority Leader Loren Leman, R-Anchorage, said Wednesday he is not aware of any immediate effort that will be made to reject the appointments.

That was not the case last session when pro-hunting lawmakers soundly rejected the appointment of wildlife photographer Leo Keeler to the board. Since Knowles took office in 1994, the Legislature has rebuffed his attempts to appoint advocates for wildlife viewing and other non-consumptive uses of game to the board.

Leman said the rejection last year had more to do with the timing of Keeler's nomination and legislators' frustrations with Knowles' wildlife policies, such as predator control, than with Keeler's qualifications.

Leman said he's looking for members who will create opportunities to hunt game for food.

''I think that's what the people need and want,'' Leman said.

Grussendorf, 58, is a former three-time speaker of the House. He won 10 terms and served from 1980 to 2000, choosing not to run again last November.

A former Sitka mayor, Grussendorf is an active hunter, fisherman, and wildlife viewer.

''Ben is a very capable person,'' Leman said. ''He's a thinker. I know he's has some strong opinions about game and game management.''

Leman said the credentials of Maier look good on paper but he will rely on confirmation hearings to decide whether to support her.

Maier, 39, earned a doctorate in wildlife management from UAF in 1996 for her work on caribou. She also studied wildlife biology at Texas A&M University and Midwestern State University.

Leman said he was sorry to see Quakenbush leave the board. He said she was a thoughtful member who made well-balanced decisions.

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