Public can comment on possible F&G chiefs

Time is running out for the public to weigh in on four applicants for commissioner of Alaska Department of Fish and Game as the boards prepare for a joint meeting to develop a list of names to forward to Gov. Bill Walker for consideration on Jan. 14.

Comments must be received by 5 p.m. Friday.

There has been some reporting that only four people applied for the position, but nothing on their qualifications.

Two of the applicants, Greg Woods and Zachary Hill, currently live outside Alaska, but Hill was born in Palmer and moved Outside eight years ago for school and work. Woods lived in Anchorage for four and a half years.

The other two, Acting Commissioner Sam Cotten and Roland Maw, are Alaska residents.

Woods and Hill have no experience with resource management, although Hill does have a scientific background with a bachelor of science degree and doctorate in chemistry.

Cotten’s experience is mainly on the fisheries side of Fish and Game. 

He currently serves on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, and worked as a resource analyst and fisheries consultant for Aleutians East Borough.

He has served on the board of directors for the Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank and Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association, and on committees for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. He served 16 years in the state legislature in both houses, and was House Speaker in 1989-90.

Maw appears to have the deepest resume.

He has a doctorate with a major in forestry and wildland management and a minor in natural resource management with a dissertation on black and grizzly bear management, a master’s degree with a major in education and outdoor recreation and a minor in biology/resource management with a dissertation in wilderness area management, and a bachelor of science degree with a major in zoology/animal ecology.

He was commissioner of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission for five years and, like Cotten, served on the CIAA board.

He has taught numerous college courses on resource management and worked for the Alaska Division of Parks, managed multimillion dollar budgets and large staffs, and worked in resource management in the United States, Canada and China.

He is currently the executive director of United Cook inlet Drift Association, which could be his largest stumbling block.

UCIDA has had a somewhat adversarial relationship with both the Board of Fisheries, which must forward his name to the governor, and the Legislature, which must confirm him if his name is picked.

The organization has filed numerous lawsuits against the state over management of the upper Cook Inlet salmon fishery, some successful, some not.

Letters of support for candidates can be faxed to 907-465-6094, or emailed to

The full resumes and applications of all four candidates can be found at Letters of support already received can be found there as well.

The joint board meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 14 and audio will be available through the joint boards website,

Cristy Fry can be reached at