I believe sportsmen and women have a lot of clout when considering the fate of our public lands in this country. Many places we treasure are facing threats that would jeopardize future opportunities to hunt or fish on them. With that said, are you aware of the growing threat to the world-class Bristol Bay region of southwest Alaska?
An enormous mining proposal threatens some of the world?s greatest salmon rivers.
The Bristol Bay Watershed produces the world?s greatest commercial salmon fishery and internationally renowned salmon and trout runs that attract anglers from all over the world. The waters in this region have long been an integral part of the State?s economy and have provided sustainable jobs, subsistence foods and other benefits to Alaskans for generations
Today, the State of Alaska and Canadian mining company want to create North America?s largest open pit gold mine and a 896-square mile mining district in the headwaters of Bristol Bay. At the same time, the federal Bureau of Land Management is trying to open 3.6 million acres of vital fish and wildlife habitat in the Bristol Bay Watershed to hardrock mining. All told, that's 4.3 million acres of state and federal lands being put at risk.
We, as American hunters and anglers, have the opportunity to influence the future of these lands - in a positive fashion. This is something that has garnered a lot of attention and has brought some interesting opposition to the mining project. Already, Alaska's Senator Ted Stevens, many native villages in the region, commercial fishing groups, sport fishing lodges, Trout Unlimited, National Wildlife Federation, and others have gone on record against this potentially disastrous plan.
TU, FlyFisherman, and Alaska Magazine have all done articles on this issue in the past 6 months or so. If you have any of those magazines you might want to check them out.
To learn more about how you can help keep the Bristol Bay watershed as wild and productive as it is today, visit the Renewable Resources Coalition (www.renewableresourcescoalition.org).