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Bill Calls for Fee to Watch Widlife in Alaska
When the orcas put on a show slaughtering seals and salmon, it might cost you. And when a moose goes strutting down a wilderness path, get ready to shell out a few bucks. This is all hypothetical, of course, but if a controversial bill in the Alaska senate passes, wildlife watchers will be required to buy a permit much like hunters have licenses. The idea is to alleviate some of the budget belt-tightening that game agencies feel.
The wildlife conservation tag, as it's known now, could generate as much as $4.6 million for the state annually. That's a sizable shot in the arm for an agency that has to manage the largest land mass in the United States. Tour operators want nothing to do with the licenses, though. Many have spoken out against the proposal, claiming the logistical nightmare that would ensue.
Most fish and game agencies watch their bank accounts like a college student. There's not much money to go around, and creative fundraising sounds like the way to go. In Maine, for instance, the IFW is responsible for all wilderness rescues, which includes hikers on the Appalachian Trail. But the IFW budget comes almost entirely from hunting and fishing license sales. The campers aren't paying a dime into the coiffures, but still benefit from the services. What do you think? Is it time for granolas to pay their share?
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