Photo: Pat Ford
By: Nelli Williams
Dear Alaska angler:
Some of you might be wondering, how did the results of Tuesday’s election change our ability to protect Bristol Bay and the places around Alaska that we love to hunt and fish.
First, Alaskans elected a Governor for whom Pebble’s CEO himself campaigned.
Second, despite truly incredible volunteer-driven efforts of its backers, Ballot Measure 1, which would have protected wild salmon habitat statewide and provided a higher standard that Pebble Mine would have to meet, failed to get the votes that were needed to be put into law.
While disappointing, the fight is far from over. We’ve always known that the path to protecting Bristol Bay needed to be multi-pronged, and the ballot measure was one of several strategies.
The silver lining? In speaking with thousands of Alaskans before the election, one thing became and remains crystal clear: Alaskans agree protections for wild salmon are needed. It’s in how we implement these protections where we disagree. While we learned on Tuesday that the ballot measure wasn’t what Alaskans wanted, we also learned in the process with respect to our salmon, we have more in common than we differ.
Together, this community of anglers and outdoor enthusiasts has accomplished incredible feats for our fisheries (e.g. there isn’t a massive hole in the ground at the headwaters of the world’s greatest sockeye salmon fishery) and continue to hold the power of shaping a fish-filled future for Bristol Bay and Alaska. This is true regardless of who is in office.
Make no mistake: we will continue to work diligently to stop the proposed Pebble Mine and ensure the rivers and places that Alaskans love to fish continue to thrive for anglers many generations to come.
There’s are a number of key ways you can join us in working toward these goals, and the root of them is simply to stay informed and to participate.
Do you have the means to donate? Please do – the coming year faces numerous challenges that stand in the way of protecting Bristol Bay. With your support we can hire scientists and legal experts for needed studies and analysis, execute trips for Alaskans to talk to our decision makers in Juneau and D.C. We’ll need paid ad campaigns to ensure Alaskans know what’s happening with the permitting process, and informational events to get the word out. With your support we can overcome these challenges.
Do you use social networks? Please follow us. The updates and calls to action we post to our Facebook page truly make a difference for this campaign. It may seem insignificant to send an email to a decision maker, but they each make a difference. We’ll never waste your time or ask you if it isn’t truly important.
Have an idea or a question? We always welcome thoughts from our community. Call our office any time (907-770-1776) or send me an email nwilliams [at] tu [dot] org.
Thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to continuing to work along-side you to ensure the places we love to fish are around for many generations to come.
Alaska Director, Trout Unlimited