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AN EXCERPT FROM A LETTER

From Clint McKnight of Vernal to Division of Wildlife Resources Regional Supervisor Walt Donaldson (12/9/l999)

"I regret to inform you that I have decided to resign from my position as Environmental Representative for the Northeastern Regional Wildlife Advisory Council. The direction that the Wildlife Board is taking wildlife management in the state of Utah is increasingly in conflict both with my ethics and my vision for human coexistence with the natural world.... The Division's support for and the passage of Proposition 5, the continued open season on mountain lions, the callous expansion of the sandhill crane hunt, and now the first step toward a spring bear hunt show a systematic disregard for nonconsumptive interests. I am deeply disappointed in the Wildlife Board's recent decision to permit recommendation of a spring bear hunt, but I am not surprised.

jay.gif (18637 bytes)When I came onto the Northeastern RAC some 2 1/2 years ago I hoped at least to learn something from this new experience of working closely with hunters and biologists. Indeed I did. Allow me to share with you what some of those lessons were: 1) Wildlife management in Utah is effectively determined by a minority of rurally based agricultural interests. 2) The much-trumpeted hunter "support for wildlife" exists only for game species that represent their self interest. 3) Ranchers would just as soon eliminate any publically owned wildlife species that competes with, or any habitat that conflicts with, their private business practice. 4) The RAC system does not represent the majority of Utahns. It is grossly weighted toward rural, consumptive interests, to the extent that it cannot be considered a fair representation of the public's views. 5) The nonconsumptive point of view is irrelevant to a culture of wildlife management that treats animals as if they are products of an agricultural program to be manipuated, cultivated, and raised to ripeness for culling.

When I began on the RAC I believed I was part of a new and enlightened effort to bring all points of view into effective participation in the management process. This has not come to pass; if anything, the facts show entirely the opposite.

I believe you will be pleased to know, however, that I am most assuredly not giving up my participation in wildlife issues. There are both local grass-roots and national organizations, as well as a world of public forums, that better allow me to support and express my understanding and ethics toward wildlife in Utah and elsewhere."


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