1923 Predator Control Program

By Jim Ducker

Uttering “wolf control” can be about the shortest route to an argument in Alaska.  Those who consider wolves and other predators a nuisance and a hindrance to recovery of caribou, moose, and other game populations are not likely to soon see eye to eye with those who view these animals as valuable symbols of Alaskan wilderness.

No one could accuse Frank Manley, a miner who early in the twentieth century developed a resort that gives Manley Hot Springs its name, of being a friend of predators or engaging in half measures to see to their extermination.  In 1928, he proposed the following grandiose scheme in the Anchorage Times, reprinted in the Dawson Daily News, to rid the North of these animals:

To Exterminate Wild Life in the Northland

A gigantic plan for the extermination of bears, wolves, coyotes and other predatory animals which are over-running the Yukon territory has been suggested by Frank B. Manley, pioneer Alaska mining man who recently has become interested in the development of placer holdings on the Yukon River a short distance below Dawson.  When he goes outside this winter he will attempt to interest eastern capitalists in his big idea.

The scheme of the well known old-timer is to organize a big party to come north next summer for the sole purpose of chasing these destructive animals from their lairs into the Yukon River.  Once driven to the water the energetic Northerner states that fast boats can be employed to capture the animals by means of a rope, motion pictures of immense value can be taken of the wild game round-up, and then the animals can be disposed of as best seen fit.  The prime mover of this big undertaking intimates that they could either be killed off wholesale or they might be corralled off in large natural game parks.  It is understood that Mr. Manley is already in touch with the Laskey Moving Picture Company for picturization rights of such a spectacle, the first of its kind ever conceived.