Dialogue on trapping must continue

  • Thursday, March 19, 2015 3:14pm
  • Opinion

The Board of Game this week decided against proposals that would’ve restricted trapping near trails and campgrounds in portions of the Kenai Peninsula. While our hearts go out to anyone who has had a pet injured or killed in a trap, we think the board made a reasonable decision in this case.

The proposals from the Cooper Landing-based Committee for Safe Public Lands and Trails would have eliminated trapping entirely in certain areas around Seward, Moose Pass and Cooper Landing, and forced trappers to move at least 250 feet back from several trails in the area.

Committee members say they approached the Alaska Trappers Association to begin a dialogue to seek a non-regulatory solution; representatives from the trappers association say they made a good faith effort by posting signs that caution both trappers and pet owners.

While we agree that trappers should not set traps in areas where they are likely to catch something other than the target species — pets included — we also agree with the board that pet owners hiking with their dogs in areas where the trapping season is open need to take responsibility for their dog’s safety. While there is no leash law on trails, Chugach National Forest posts recommendations on its website that dogs be under control or on a leash during trapping season, from Nov. 10-March 31. A dog 200 feet from the trail would have to be exceptionally well trained to still be under voice control. What’s more, there are dangers other than traps or snares — dogs galumphing through the woods run the risk of encounters with all sorts of wildlife, among other things.

That said, we hope trappers use an abundance of caution when operating in areas with high public use to minimize conflict. It’s easy to vilify trappers when dogs are caught up in a trap just a few feet from a trail, and with a growing population and changing recreation trends, there are more people accessing the peninsula’s trails year-round. State regulations call for trappers to act responsibly, but don’t provide a specific definition, for example, of where it’s appropriate to set traps in relation to recreational trails or campgrounds. Signs such as those posted by the trappers association seem a reasonable step to alerting trail users of the presence of traps, and according to game board members, they have been used in conjunction with good communication between users to mitigate conflicts.

We encourage the dialogue between trappers and other resource users to continue, regardless of the recent Board of Game decision. Understanding and empathy on all sides are key to ensuring that everyone is able to continue to enjoy access to the Kenai Peninsula’s wild places.

More in Opinion

This image available under the Creative Commons license shows the outline of the state of Alaska filled with the pattern of the state flag.
Opinion: Bringing broadband to all Alaskans

Too many Alaskans face barriers accessing the internet.

This photo shows a stack of pocket constitutions at the Alaska State Capitol. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Join us in voting against a constitutional convention

Voting no on a constitutional convention is vital to the well-being and stability of our state.

Michael O’Meara.
Point of View: Tell BOEM how you feel

It seems like BOEM should prioritize input from people most likely to be affected if leases are sold

The State of Alaska, Department of Administration, Office of Information Technology webpage. (Screenshot/oit.alaska.gov)
Cloud migration now underway will strengthen, enhance State IT systems

At the most basic level, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services remotely

Jessica Cook, left, and Les Gara stand in The Peninsula Clarion’s offices on Thursday, June 30, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska Voices: Better schools for a better economy

We need leaders who care about our children’s futures

A resident casts their vote in the regular municipal election Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Voices of the Peninsula: This is our borough and city

By Therese Lewandowski Another election already? Yes! This is our local elections… Continue reading

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation building is seen in Juneau, Alaska, in March 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
Opinion: APFC keeps steady keel during turbulent year

FY2022 was a challenging year for all investors

Homer Foundation
Point of View: Nonprofits provide essential services not provided by cities

By our count, nonprofits provide more than 100 jobs to our communities

t
Opinion: Don’t get scammed like I nearly did

I should have just turned off the computer.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce campaigns for governor as he walks in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. Pierce resigned as borough mayor effective Sept. 30, 2022, to focus on his gubernatorial campaign. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: ‘It has been an honor to serve’

Borough mayor gives send-off ahead of departure

Gov. Mike Dunleavy announces Friday, July 15, 2022, that 2022 most PFD payments will be distributed on Sept. 20, 2022. (Screenshot)
Opinion: A historic PFD still leaves work to be done

It is important to remember the dividend is not, and has never been, a welfare payment