Dunleavy gives previously rejected Parnell-era Board of Game nominee another shot

Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy announced a round of nominations for the Board of Fish and Board of Game on Monday, including a name many from 2010 should remember.

That would be Al Barrette, the Fairbanks trapper and taxidermist who was rejected by the Legislature in 2010 for the Board of Game. Dunleavy’s given him another shot to join the board.

Barrette was narrowly rejected by the Legislature in 2010 amidst concerns about a conflict of interest created by his trapping and tanning businesses, his vote to eliminate the buffer zone to protect wolves near Denali National Park and a broad backlash against aerial wolf hunting, which he also had a hand in.

A video of him skinning a wolf and quoting from the Bible to explain man’s dominion over animals probably didn’t help.

“It specifically puts out in the first book of the Bible, in Genesis, that we should subdue nature and control it,” he said in the video. “We should be the managers of the animals and through the sin of Adam and Eve is what brought it on and in fact the first clothes that were made for Adam and Eve were skins of animals by God.”

Barrette was appointed to the Board of Game in by former Gov. Sean Parnell, taking part in the controversial 4-3 vote to eliminate the buffer zone around the park, before he was ultimately rejected by the Legislature. Barrette, who owns a Fairbanks tanning business and sells wolf traps, participated in the vote despite concerns that his business constituted a conflict of interest.

He and some legislators defended his participation in the vote, while others were concerned that an incorrect interpretation of conflict of interest rules was applied.

Barrette was defeated on a 31N-27Y vote.

Dunleavy’s announcement of appointees makes no mention of Barrette’s previous experience with the Board of Game.

Buffer zone still an issue

The 2010 decision to remove the buffer zone around Denali has continued to have an impact on Alaska’s wildlife and hunting politics.

The House last year voted to restore the Denali buffer zone on a 22-18 vote along caucus lines. It was met with doom in the Senate, which responded with a news release criticizing the legislation as “environmentalist” in the face of the state’s budget crisis.

No such legislation has been proposed this year.

What’s next

Whether Barrette’s past will be enough to stymie his appointment this time around is yet to be seen. The narrow defeat was against the backdrop of a fierce public backlash to aerial wolf hunting as well as the fresh concern about a conflict of interest.

The board will continue to have no representation from Anchorage-area individuals. Its subsistence seat is proposed to change hands from Glenallen resident Karen Linnell to Board of Fish member Orville Huntington.

The terms for the new seats are set to begin on July 1, 2019.

The 2010 vote

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