"Federal Permits"

Kenelm Philip fnkwp at aurora.alaska.edu
Sat Aug 30 04:49:37 EDT 1997

	Since the issue of hunting in parks was raised, I got curious and
checked with our local NPS office. Here's what I was told:

	In Alaska many National Parks are composed of two segments: a Park
and a Preserve (thus the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve, for
instance). Sport hunting is allowed in the Preserve, but not in the Park.
The requirement for a permit to collect any other kind of animal other
than big game or fish; or plants, rocks, or archeological objects applies to
both the Park and Preserve segments. So--in the Preserve segments it's true
that anyone with a hunting license may shoot a Dall Sheep, or with a fish-
ing license catch a fish--but no one without a scientific permit may catch
a mosquito or a butterfly. In the Wilderness portion of the Park you may
fish without a license--and some lakes are stocked with exotic fish!

	The NPS person I talked to admitted that all this does not make
much sense. He was inclined to blame Congress for the situation. He did
note that big game mammals are 'managed', so they do have some idea of the
populations, and can set limits as needed. Naturally, no one is managing
insect populations--and thus there is no information available as to how
insects should be collected. There is certainly no money for doing anything
about insects.

	On the other hand, all the Alaskan National Parks I have dealt
with have been very cooperative with the Alaska Lepidoptera Survey, and
I think they would be equally cooperative with attempts to survey other
insect groups. The resource managers are all aware that if they want to
know anything about insects in the parks, they will have to rely on
outside people to do the work for them, since there is nothing in their
budgets for such projects.

	As to what purpose is served by the rule against unpermitted
collecting, as regards butterflies in National Parks in Alaska my guess
is that very little is served indeed. Most of the Parks are roadless,
many have Wilderness areas closed to motorized vehicles (including bush
planes and helicopters), and the summer weather is, on the whole, so
awful that the ability of even a large party of collectors to make a
dent in butterfly numbers is minimal--and I speak from many days of
personal experience. There are no endangered species of butterflies in
Alaska--and inspection of maps will show that a very large portion of
the mountainous areas of the state is now in National Parks or National
Wildlife Refuges, so the habitat is secure from all but global effects.

	Some may think at this point that Congress should be induced to
change the rules. A while ago I mentioned to the Association of Systematic
Collections that it would be useful if the Lacey Act definition of 'plant'
could be applied to insects--which would essentially solve almost all the
problems that research entomologists and entomological curators are
having with the Lacey Act. I was told that the ASC, despite the current
situation in Congress, was opposed to any attempt to open the Lacey Act
for change since they feared the result would be even _more_ restrictive
than the present Act. It would appear the best thing to do at this time,
then, is to learn how to operate effectively within the current rules,
however distasteful you may find them. Oh well...

						Ken Philip
fnkwp at aurora.alaska.edu

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