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

February 3, 2009 Newsletter

Greetings to all of you who share a love for Alaska. The past month has been a busy one for the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska (SAA). We’ve exhibited at sport shows in San Mateo CA, Denver CO (twice!), Marlborough MA, Somerset NJ, and Charlotte NC in January. We’ll be at even more shows running through February and a few in March and April. See the list of shows later in this newsletter for upcoming appearances.

SAA Volunteer in Somerset, New Jersey
Volunteer staffing the SAA booth in
Somerset, N.J.

I’d like to take an opportunity to acknowledge the fantastic volunteers who’ve helped staff the booths at the shows to date (and to those who have volunteered for coming shows). Your willingness to lend a hand is truly welcomed and valued more than you probably realize. In some cases, we have been offered exhibit space at two different shows in two different markets on the same dates. So, without volunteers there’s no way this would be possible.

At the shows, we’re building an army of supporters for Alaska conservation – primarily for the Bristol Bay / Pebble Mine battle. At the fly fishing shows it’s a lot of updating people on the latest situation with the campaign. At the more general sporting shows we are truly “growing the choir” as a lot more education on the issue. Hard as it may seem for some of us who follow this issue, there are A LOT of people out there who have never heard of Pebble Mine. The value of face-to-face interaction with the sporting public is hard to estimate, but from the responses we are receiving we are gaining new supporters all the time. Most people cannot believe that something like proposing to build a massive mining district in the heart of the world’s largest runs of wild salmon (and a truly global dream sporting destination) is even being considered. It’s fun watching people move from an initial state of shock to a desire to get involved – it happens quickly.

Check the end of the newsletter for a note about the launch of this year’s Bristol Bay online fundraising auction. Your chance to help the cause and get some sweet deals at the same time is only days away!

Bristol Bay Update, photo by Denver Bryan
Credit: Denver Bryan

Bristol Bay Update

With the turnover in Administrations and the start of a new Congress in Washington DC comes a new opportunity to work on protections for Bristol Bay and its tremendous renewable resources. The SAA, along with many sporting conservation partners in Alaska and across the country, is working to educate and encourage the new Secretary of Interior on the issues facing Bristol Bay. Ken Salazar, former U.S. Senator from Colorado, is now ultimately responsible for approximately 2 million acres of lands in the Bristol Bay region under management of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

In November 2008, the BLM announced its intention to remove the restrictions on its lands in the region. Sportspersons across the country are asking Secretary Salazar to withdraw the BLM plan for Bristol Bay and review serious concerns which were raised by sportspersons, commercial fishermen, and residents of the Bristol Bay region during the planning process. The new petition to Secretary Salazar is online at the SAA web site.

There may also be opportunity in the coming Congress to advance legislation in the U.S. House and Senate that would prioritize the value of Bristol Bay’s lands and waters for wild salmon habitat above all other potential uses. When the time comes, the SAA will be asking you to contact your members of Congress to support protective legislation for Bristol Bay.

Tongass National Forest Update, photo by Robert Boyce
Credit: Robert Boyce

Tongass National Forest Update

The Tongass was formerly home to a very large timber industry, one which used clear-cutting methods to harvest many of the largest trees in low-elevation watersheds – which happen to also be the most valuable and productive fish and game habitats. Over one million acres of the Tongass have been harvested, but the large-scale timber operations are a thing of the past. Today, the various user groups in the region (including timber interests, local communities, the US Forest Service, AK Dept. of Fish & Game, and conservation groups) – meeting in a process known as the Tongass Futures Roundtable – are working to try to find a consensus on management of the Tongass that would keep intact the most valuable watersheds for wildlife and also provide a supply of timber for a sustainable timber industry. True, it might be a difficult task, but using this relatively unique approach of engaging the diverse set of user groups is viewed as the best chance to find a management regime for the Tongass which works for all interests.

Utilizing tremendous scientific data from professional biologists, some very detailed maps of the Tongass have been developed in recent years. These maps show, on a watershed-level basis, which areas on the Tongass provide the best habitat for different fish and game species and which areas could be most suitable for future timber harvest. The Tongass Futures Roundtable provides an arena for this data to be discussed and debated, and the SAA is hopeful that a consensus plan will emerge from the roundtable process in which certain lands are set aside for their value for fish and game habitat, certain previously-harvested lands are designated for restoration projects which will improve fish and game habitat, and other lands remain available to sustain a timber industry in the region – one which gradually evolves from harvest of old-growth trees to second-growth. Management of a forest like the Tongass poses unique challenges. That’s why the SAA lauds the unique approach of the Tongass Futures Roundtable. If the roundtable process yields a Tongass lands bill for Congress to consider, you can be sure the SAA will ask for your assistance in securing its passage.

National Opportunities Coming for Alaska Conservation

This is shaping up to be an exciting year, as there will likely be more opportunities for sportspersons from around the country to participate in shaping the future of Bristol Bay and the Tongass National Forest. The SAA will serve to keep you informed when your assistance is needed to secure protections for some of the most amazing fish and game habitats in the world – which just happen to support some incredible opportunities for hunting and fishing for this and future generations of sportspersons.

Tie One On, StoneFly Vineyards

Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska Teams Up with StoneFly Vineyards - Raising a Glass to Watershed Conservation in Bristol Bay

At the SAA booth at the International Sportsman’s Expo in San Mateo, Nick Papadopoulos from StoneFly Vineyards dropped by to visit and explore ways to support our efforts. StoneFly is dedicated to serving fly fishers, sportspersons, and our efforts to conserve natural resources. They were also recently announced as the “Official Winery” of Federation of Fly Fishers which, as you know, is a key partner with us on the Pebble Mine issue.

StoneFly appreciates our conservation efforts in Alaska and Bristol Bay and expressed an interest in providing support. They have donated wine to our online auction. AND we have worked with them to develop a special wine program that benefits those of you wine lovers as well as our organization. Here’s the deal:

Between now and March 15, 2009, when you purchase two or more cases of StoneFly Wines, an additional case of half-bottles (valued at over $200) will be contributed to The Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska.

So as you enjoy the wine, we enjoy a tremendously valuable contribution. We will be able to use this generous contribution to support our auctions, events and other purposes related to our mission. Tip: one way to take advantage of this offer is to team up on the order with a few of your friends.

Directions and Notes

Special Edition “No Pebble Mine / James Prosek Sockeye Salmon” T-Shirt
Back of T-Shirt

Special Edition “No Pebble Mine / James Prosek Sockeye Salmon” T-Shirt Now Available!

Just before the show season began, SAA was approached with an offer to participate in production of a limited number of t-shirts to help raise awareness about Bristol Bay and the proposed Pebble Mine. At shows, in return for a donation for the campaign, donors have the opportunity to receive one of these great new t-shirts. Now this opportunity is being extended to all SAA newsletter recipients.

These eConscious t-shirts feature the “No Pebble Mine” logo on the front breast and a sockeye salmon image by renowned fish artist James Prosek on the back. Men’s sizes are available ranging from M – 2XL and a limited number of women’s sizes are also available. The shirts come in white only.

For a $25 donation, donors will receive one of these special edition t-shirts. Donations can be made via the secure SAA online donation page. In the “Comments” section please indicate “T-Shirt” and your size.

Remaining 2009 Show Schedule

If you’re in any of these markets, please be sure to take time to support these events and stop by the SAA booth to find out the latest information…or just visit about your past or planned Alaska adventures.

Feb. 6-8

The Fly Fishing Show

Bellevue, WA

Feb. 14-15

The Fly Fishing Show

Portland, OR

Feb. 21-22

The Fly Fishing Show

Pasadena, CA

Feb. 27-Mar. 1

The Fly Fishing Show

Pleasanton, CA

Feb. 27-Mar. 1

International Sportsmen’s Expo

Glendale, AZ

Mar. 6-8

Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo

Bloomington, MN

Mar. 12-15

Northwest Sport Show
Booth will be run by the Renewable Resources Coalition

Minneapolis, MN

Apr. 18-19 Virginia Fly Fishing Festival Waynesboro, VA

Nearly every day at The Fly Fishing Show events and also at the Great Waters event, SAA will be hosting a screening of the documentary film “Red Gold.” Red Gold continues to rack up awards at film festivals all across the country, so it’s well worth checking it out. Also, you’ll be able to receive a DVD copy of Red Gold at SAA show appearances for a donation of $25.

Bristol Bay Moose Hunt Promotion

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Bristol Bay Moose Hunt Promotion

Would you like the chance to hunt moose in southwest Alaska in 2009? How about a new Kimber rifle topped with a Leupold scope? What if we threw in a sweet set of hunting outerwear from Sitka Gear and some base layers from Polartec?

Would you believe there is a promotion going on right now that will offer you the chance to take home ALL of those items? Combined retail value is about $12,000!

Seriously, this might be one of the greatest promotions going right now. And it’s all for a tremendous cause.

The Bristol Bay region in Alaska is truly a sportsperson’s paradise. Anglers and hunters from across the globe travel there to partake in the bounty of the world’s largest runs of wild salmon, trophy rainbow trout, herds of caribou, brown bears, and monster moose. There’s a threat facing this region and sportsmen and women are coming to the defense of one of the world’s top hunting and angling destinations.

One way to help the cause is to make a donation to the Sportsman's Alliance for Alaska to help educate and mobilize anglers and hunters in this important campaign. For a suggested donation of $50, you will be entered in the drawing for:

The companies supporting this donation should be recognized for their commitment to conservation of our hunting heritage and wild places.

Only 500 eligible donations will be accepted on this promotion, and there is a maximum of 4 entries per person for the drawing. With odds like that, a modest donation toward a great cause could have you packing your bags for Alaska in the fall of 2009 with some new gear in tow.

2009 Online Bristol Bay Fundraising Auction Launching In Just Days!!!

2009 Online Bristol Bay Fundraising Auction Launching In Just Days!!! Last year the SAA tried something new. Partnering with the world's leading online auction site eBay and its non-profit feature administered by MissionFish, the SAA was able to hold its first online fundraising auction to benefit SAA's work on the Bristol Bay conservation campaign. The auction was a success as the auction grossed over $50,000! Many participants from all over the world were able to support this critical conservation campaign while at the same time receiving some pretty great deals in return.

The auction was such a success that we decided to do it again this year.

On Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009, the SAA will be launching the second annual online fundraising auction to benefit the Bristol Bay conservation campaign. Through the generosity of so many wonderful supporters in the sporting products industry, artists, lodge operators, and more, we are excited to raise some more money to support the cause!

Here are the first items going up for bid. The full slate of auction items will soon be found on the SAA Web site, with direct links to the auction on eBay.

Wednesday, Feb. 4

Friday, Feb. 6

Monday, Feb. 9

Scott Hed, SAA Director

As we did last year, a weekly e-update will be sent to keep you up to date on the current and coming auction listings. The first update should go out on Tuesday, Feb. 10.

That's all for now. Thank you very much for your continued support for conservation of Alaska's tremendous fish and game and the habitats which support them!

Scott Hed
Sportsman's Alliance for Alaska

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