Hunters and anglers working together to preserve fish and game habitats and hunting and fishing opportunities on our public lands in Alaska.

Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska

September 29, 2008 Newsletter

Late summer greetings to all. I hope your summer has been good. I hope you’ve gotten on the water a lot, caught your share of fish, and experienced some great times with family and friends in the great outdoors. Now that the change of seasons is approaching, hunting seasons are upon us or will be soon. It’s time to get the gun sighted in and take care of the other tasks that will lead to a successful fall. Just remember to be safe out there and consider introducing a youth or adult non-hunter or –angler to the great outdoors. The places in Alaska and elsewhere that we fight to protect will be there for the next generation, but we need to make sure there’s a next generation of sportsmen and women to follow us.

Lots to report, but we’ll start with the really big news on the Bristol Bay front.

Clean Water ballot initiative fails to pass Alaska vote

First of all, thank you to all the individuals and businesses who have been involved in the Bristol Bay fight. Thanks to everyone for spreading the word over the past few weeks about the statewide vote in Alaska which was held on Tuesday, August 26th. While Ballot Measure #4 (the official name for the clean water initiative) failed to pass, this does not mean that the fight for Bristol Bay is over. Instead of recreating a news story about the vote, I’m going to pass along the official response from the Renewable Resources Coalition in Alaska.


Renewable Resources Coalition
Resolved to Continue the fight to save Bristol Bay

Anchorage, AK (August 27) - The RRC would like to acknowledge the tens of thousands of Alaskans who supported Proposition 4 as we did and the hundreds of volunteers who worked so diligently on this issue. The fight to save Bristol Bay’s wild salmon is hardly over, and the results of this election simply show how much work we still have ahead of us. The residents of Bristol Bay are acutely aware of the possible ramifications of the Pebble mine and the risks it poses to their very way of life. The vote in the region was overwhelmingly in favor of the initiative and polling shows a majority of Alaskan’s do not support the Pebble mine and have grave concerns over the damage it may inflict on one of our greatest treasures. This vote does not change the fact that putting a massive, acid-generating mine at the headwaters of the world’s largest wild sockeye fishery is a bad idea. Pebble is still the wrong mine in the wrong place.

Unfortunately foreign mining companies and their allies spent millions upon millions of dollars to muddy the issue with a variety of false statements, scaring and confusing voters with wild claims that the proposition would shut down all mines, and that it might even affect gold panners and people who use outboard engines. All of which is simply not true. It is also regrettable that the state and Governor Palin took it upon themselves to intercede in the public initiative process which we view as totally improper.

The clean water ballot measure, had it passed, would have protected existing mines while also protecting wild salmon and clean water from dangerous toxins produced by new large-scale acid-generating mines, such as Pebble. Our priority continues to be protecting all of Alaska’s renewable resources, our hunting and fishing heritage, whether commercial, sport or subsistence, so that future generations will have the same opportunities to enjoy the wild Alaska we all know and love. “This was only the first battle in what appears to be a very long war,” says Richard Jameson, president of the Renewable Resource Coalition. “We would ask those who wish to protect Alaska’s wild salmon to remain resolute, as will the RRC and its members.”


The Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska works with the RRC on the Bristol Bay fight, and would like to extend a hearty thank you to the RRC, its staff, members, and volunteers who fought so hard up in Alaska on this ballot initiative. Have no doubt, the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska and all of its allies from across the country and around the world will be in the thick of the fight as we move to the next stage in this campaign.

If you’d care to read a very good commentary about the outcome of the vote, visit Tspey's Weblog for thoughts from an Alaska fly fisher. The site also has links to the endorsements that several Alaska daily newspapers gave to Ballot Initiative #4.

I’ve said it before, and it rings true today more than ever. Nothing worth saving comes without a fight. And the fight for Bristol Bay will continue to be a monumental battle that the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska is proud to engage in.

American Sportfishing Association takes position on Bristol Bay / Pebble Mine

The SAA worked with the governmental affairs staff of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) to secure a letter from the ASA to Alaska’s Governor Sarah Palin and U.S. Secretary of Interior Dirk Kempthorne to register the ASA’s position on the Bristol Bay situation. The ASA represents over 750 sportfishing manufacturers, retailers, and angler advocacy groups, as well as the interests of America’s 40 million recreational anglers. Thank you to the ASA for joining the fight! The letter can be viewed on the SAA web site on the Latest News page. The SAA will be presenting to the ASA’s Governmental Affairs Committee at the upcoming Sportfishing Summit in late October. Look for the ASA and its members to continue their involvement in the Bristol Bay campaign.

The SAA’s work with the sportfishing industry in support of Bristol Bay conservation continues to gather momentum. The latest version of our sportfishing support advertisement is now posted on the Latest News page of the SAA web site. Check it out – it’s getting close to maximum density with over 125 companies now showing their support! We’ve added a number of foreign companies as well as a number of non-fly fishing manufacturers.

2009 Sport Show Schedule

As soon as the fall hunting seasons end, and waters freeze over in some parts of the country, the next season is “sport show season.” The SAA has been welcomed at dozens of shows across the country the past two years and 2009 will again find the SAA booth making the rounds. It’s a great chance to visit with anglers and hunters about what makes Alaska such a tremendous destination and what they can do to help keep it that way.

In an effort to conserve both funds and my physical and mental well-being the SAA will be soliciting volunteers to work at any and all of these shows. I will be at a number of them, but not all of them. Thank you in advance to the Federation of Fly Fishers and the Renewable Resources Coalition for their willingness to help staff the booth at a number of shows.

Jan. 2-3

The Fly Fishing Show

Portland, OR

Jan. 8-11

Dallas Safari Club convention

Dallas, TX

Jan. 8-11

International Sportsmen’s Expo

San Mateo, CA

Jan. 9-11

The Fly Fishing Show

Denver, CO

Jan. 16-18

The Fly Fishing Show

Marlborough, MA

Jan. 22-25

International Sportsmen’s Expo

Denver, CO

Jan. 23-25

The Fly Fishing Show

Somerset, NJ

Jan. 30-31

The Fly Fishing Show

Charlotte, NC

Feb. 6-8

The Fly Fishing Show

Bellevue, WA

Feb. 20-22

Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo

Schaumburg, IL (tentative)

Feb. 21-22

The Fly Fishing Show

Pasadena, CA

Feb. 27-Mar. 1

The Fly Fishing Show

Pleasanton, CA

Mar. 6-8

Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo

Bloomington, MN

Apr. 3-5

FFF National Fly Fishing Expo

Central Florida

If you are interested in volunteering a few hours or a day or two this coming winter, please contact me ( or 605-351-1646). You’ll get a free pass to the show. It’s not difficult work and you meet a lot of great people who love Alaska, hunting, fishing, and the great outdoors. Just a word of warning though: Often you’ll find terrific buys on some new gear that you surely “need.” Bring your wallet!

Thank you to these shows for providing complementary exhibit space to the SAA. Please attend these shows in your area and support them – they’re doing their part to help spread the word about Alaska conservation! For more details on the shows, you can visit their web sites:

Other Ways to get Involved

Aside from volunteering at any of the shows in 2009, consider any of these opportunities to make a financial contribution to the Bristol Bay campaign. Every little bit helps us make more anglers and hunters aware of the conservation work being done to keep Alaska the dream destination that it is.

Scott HedWell, that’s all for this edition of the newsletter. Thanks for reading this far! It had been a few months since the last SAA newsletter. Things have been busy, and I even managed to get to Alaska once this summer. Check out yours truly with a nice ‘bow from the Arolik River!

Thank you for all you do for conservation and for Alaska!

Scott Hed
Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska


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