June 23, 2011 Newsletter
Wow, we already just had the longest day of the year – but there’s still a lot of summer to enjoy. Fishing seasons are in full swing in Alaska. Hopefully those of you heading north are in for a memorable trip. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve visited Alaska, but it never gets old, and I’ll probably never get enough of it. I always say folks who love the outdoors fall into two categories when it comes to Alaska: 1) You dream of going there someday; or 2) You’ve been there and dream of going back. Whatever the case – make sure you get there to enjoy some of the finest fishing and hunting in wild places that our earth has to offer. In the meantime, with your help, SAA and its allies will keep working to ensure that Alaska remains such an incredible sportsman’s paradise.
Below you will find some of the highlights from the past month. As always, there’s much more found at the Latest News page on the SAA site. I encourage you to visit that page and peruse the stories from the past month.
But before we get to the news, I want to highlight a very special promotion from a valued supporter of the Bristol Bay campaign…
WIN A TRIP TO BRISTOL BAY!
SAA is proud to be a partner in an exciting promotion with performance clothing maker ExOfficio, the Alaska program of Trout Unlimited, and the Alaska Sportsman’s Bear Trail Lodge.During the month of June, you can register online to win a trip for two to this great Bristol Bay lodge (including RT airfare from Seattle) and adventure clothing from ExOfficio. Retail value of the prize package is $11,000. Register now, because the promotion closes on June 30. Thanks to ExOfficio and Alaska Sportsman's Bear Trail Lodge!
Let’s see what’s been happening with Bristol Bay, the Tongass National Forest, and more...
Tongass National Forest: Sealaska Bills Alive in Congress
Two different versions of the controversial Sealaska lands bill have been introduced in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Both chambers of Congress held hearings on the bills in late May – read accounts in the Anchorage Daily News and the Juneau Empire. The Sealaska Bill (S.730 and H.R. 1408) has spurred controversy within local communities, and continues to pit neighbor against neighbor in the small towns throughout southeast Alaska. Read a few recent opinion pieces by the president of the largest sportsman's group in Southeast Alaska, a concerned Sealaska shareholder, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). No official word yet on when these bills will see additional action, so we’ll need to be ready to engage our members of Congress. SAA will send an action alert if the bills start to move in either the House or Senate.
Tongass National Forest: Roadless Rule Reinstated…Alaska Strikes Back
In late March, a federal district judge in Anchorage issued his final decision which reinstated the “roadless rule” in the Tongass National Forest (our nation’s largest). The judge ruled that the decision in 2003 to exempt the Tongass from the nationwide rule was arbitrary and capricious. The very next day, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) was a sponsor of legislation that would severely curtail the roadless rule and other administrative tools to protect wild lands. Finally, the State of Alaska filed a legal challenge to the federal roadless rule in mid-June. Looks like this is far from over…
Beautiful Original Artwork…and a Stocked Fly Box?
Talented artist and Bristol Bay fishing guide Tim Pearson has launched a really cool project. Check out Angling Artists, a blog dedicated to raising awareness and funds for the campaign to protect Bristol Bay. The project’s first painting, Spring Rainbow, is available first-come, first-served for just $200 – and the buyer will also receive an Umpqua Professional Guide streamer fly box stocked with a dozen flies from Umpqua Feather Merchants! All the funds raised from this painting and others Tim plans to do this summer will be donated to SAA’s work to protect Bristol Bay. Each painting will be accompanied by a fly box and flies from either Umpqua, Montana Fly Company or Scientific Anglers. Thanks to Tim and those companies for their support!
Bristol Bay: Federal Officials Visit Bristol Bay
A group of officials from the Environmental Protection Agency spent a few days in early June in southwest Alaska. The group held listening sessions in Newhalen and Dillingham, and also traveled up the Nushagak River to visit several villages. The EPA is conducting its watershed assessment this year to determine whether or not the agency will invoke its authority under the Clean Water Act in response to the proposed mining development for the Bristol Bay region. The Anchorage Daily News editorialized favorably on the EPA’s visit, summing things up nicely with “This one we need to get right the first time.” You can also read an account of the public meeting in Dillingham in the Bristol Bay Times.
Bristol Bay: Lake & Peninsula Borough to Vote on “Save Our Salmon” Initiative (Maybe)
The Pebble Limited Partnership has filed a motion in Alaska Superior Court in Anchorage asking the court to move for summary judgment to keep the proposed "Save Our Salmon" Initiative off of the borough's election ballot, alleging that the initiative is not certifiable under the Alaska Constitution and state statutes. The borough felt that a sufficient number of valid petition signatures were collected to place the initiative up for a vote among borough residents. Oral arguments in the case were scheduled for June 23 in Anchorage. Read the story in the Alaska Dispatch. Also, a prominent Alaska radio and television host penned an opinion piece on how the Pebble Partnership is trying to stifle local voices via the lawsuit.
Bristol Bay: Potpourri News Wrap Up
- The Bristol Bay Fly Fishing & Guide Academy wrapped up a second successful run. Coverage was in the Bristol Bay Times and on KDLG radio about this exciting program to engage local youth in the sport fishing industry of the region.
- The Bristol Bay fishery received terrific publicity via this great article in the June issue of Alaska Airlines inflight magazine.
- Bristol Bay advocate Rick Halford (prominent former Republican state lawmaker) argued on behalf of Bristol Bay’s renewable economy and jobs in the DC-based publication The Hill.
- E&E TV’s OnPoint program features an interview with the Pebble Partnership's CEO John Shively about the timeline of the proposed Pebble Mine, how he believes the mine and Bristol Bay’s fishery can coexist, and more.
Rapids Camp Lodge Challenges SAA Supporters to Raise $10,000
Jerry Shults of Rapids Camp Lodge has generously pledged to donate up to $5,000 to SAA – but it comes with a challenge to you. Jerry will donate $1 for every $2 donated by SAA supporters. If SAA raises $10,000 to help fight for Bristol Bay, Jerry will give $5,000 to the campaign. This is a great opportunity to leverage Jerry’s offer and make your donation grow by 50%. Thanks very much Jerry!
Click here to get more information and to make your donation.
Random Notes from All Over Alaska
- The Anchorage Daily News has a great fishing section where you can keep up with all the happenings in sportfishing around the state.
- For example, check out this story on the 350-pound halibut landed by a Soldotna angler who was fishing with his dad on Father’s Day out of Homer.
- If you’re a fan of Larry Csonka’s show “North to Alaska,” check out the recipes for delicious fish and game featured on the program.
- The British Ambassador to the United States visited Alaska this month, and addressed Anglo American’s proposed Pebble Mine project.
- The AK Dept. of Fish & Game Web site is the place to go for all things related to angling and hunting rules, regulations, and information in the Last Frontier.
Friend and talented artist Bob White is a long-time guide in Bristol Bay. Bob has just released a new print titled “Evening Quiet – Togiak Valley.” The image (at left) will accompany John Gierach’s closing column in the Summer 2011 issue of Fly Rod & Reel magazine.
There are 50 limited edition prints available, at just $160 each. Ten percent of the sales proceeds will be donated to SAA’s work to protect Bristol Bay. Order yours here.
Thanks Bob and Lisa!
Angler and photographer Terry Gunn has made 18 of his beautiful images from Bristol Bay available for purchase, with all proceeds to benefit SAA’s work. Prints are available in sizes from 4”x6” to 20”x30”. View the selection and order your prints here.
Donate to SAA – Support the Fight for Fishing and Hunting in Alaska
SAA is grateful for the generous support of individuals, businesses and foundations. Your donations allow SAA to continue to work on efforts to protect prime fishing and hunting habitat in the Last Frontier for the benefit of current and future sportsmen and women. Make your donations online at the secure SAA donation page; all amounts are accepted and appreciated! For donations of the following amounts, please indicate what item you’d like to receive in the “comment” box on the donation page.
Thanks for whatever you’re able to contribute to help secure a future for fishing and hunting on Alaska’s public lands!
Thanks for caring about Alaska conservation. Your support and actions will ensure a future for Alaska’s fish and game and for coming generations of sportsmen and women to enjoy them!
Director – Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska
SAA Director Scott Hed serving smoked
wild Alaska salmon at an event sponsored
by ExOfficio in Ogden, UT.