Politics & Government

Alaska Democratic governor candidate proposes lifetime hunting, fishing licenses

Alaskans could buy lifetime fishing, hunting and trapping licenses — or any combination of the three — under a proposal unveiled Thursday by Alaska's Democratic nominee for governor.

Ethan Berkowitz says he wants to give state residents the opportunity to pay for the permits that would be good for hunting and fishing in Alaska even if they move away. At least 27 states already offer some form of a lifetime license, he said.

"And no governor has picked this up. Not Sean Parnell, not his predecessors. We've got an opportunity to show that hunting and fishing and trapping is part of Alaska's heritage and Alaska's culture," said Berkowitz, wearing jeans and a Carhartt jacket during a press briefing on the Delaney Park Strip on a foggy, chilly morning.

Berkowitz is running against Gov. Parnell, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, in November's election.

Berkowitz proposes to set lifetime license fees at 10 times the cost of a yearly license. A lifetime fishing license, at current rates, would cost $240, a hunting license $250, and a trapping permit $150. A combined fishing-hunting license would go for $490.

The licenses would be issued on durable plastic cards and the state also would issue a certificate "suitable for framing," said Berkowitz, a former state representative from Anchorage. People would still need to buy king salmon and big game stamps and tags.

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