The Call of the Wild: Alaska's Wolf-Management Program

Regarding the editorial "Alaska Versus the Wolves," Dec. 4: I am writing on behalf of the Alaskan Wilderness Recreation and Tourism Association.

We have heard that many people who oppose the State of Alaska's new wolf- management program are boycotting Alaskan tourism. The Alaska Wilderness Recreation and Tourism Association opposes a boycott, which would only hurt both those who value wolves and those whose livelihood depends in part on wolves.

As wilderness guides and outfitters, we know that wolves play an important role in the ecosystem. As business people, we oppose the use of state funds to kill wolves because wolves have economic value to the tourism industry. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game did not contact representatives of the tourism industry for input regarding the hunt, or its effect on the tourism industry, even though we serve on the state's Watchable Wildlife Steering Committee.

One argument made by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in support of wolf control is that this will improve the ability of tourists to see wildlife. We have serious questions about this assumption. Nancy R. Lethcoe, Valdez, Alaska, President, Alaska Wilderness Recreation and Tourism Assoc.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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