• A comparative analysis of fish and wildlife enforcement in Alaska from the passage of the 1902 Alaska game law to 2011

      Woldstad, Kenneth J.; McBeath, Gerald; Cole, Terrence; Klein, David R. (2011-08)
      This study examines the institutional evolution of wildlife enforcement in the context of Alaskan history and politics from 1902 to the present. Balancing competing demands for expertise in fish and wildlife matters on one hand, with a technical knowledge of law enforcement on the other, has long been the central institutional challenge facing those protecting Alaska's living resources. Following enactment of the first Alaska Game Law in 1902, responsibility for enforcement was initially left to already over-burdened law enforcement officials, with ultimate authority remaining under the U.S. Agriculture Department. Passage of the 1925 "Alaska Game Law" and establishment of the Alaska Game Commission saw the creation of professional wardens. Following statehood the Department of Fish and Game assumed the enforcement responsibility from 1960 to 1972, until Governor William Egan shifted the protection personnel to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), thereby transforming them into state troopers, although in a separate division. As a result of the transfer to DPS, conservation of fish and wildlife was in the hands of professional law enforcement. Many resource users opposed the transfer, certain that the emphasis on general law enforcement came at the expense of wildlife expertise, a tension that continues to persist today.