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

November 11, 2009 Newsletter

I hope that each of you had a great summer and are enjoying the early fall wherever you call home or have traveled to. After an unusually wet and cool month of October, the weather here in South Dakota has been nice this month. There is still a lot of corn in the fields, providing lots of cover for the pheasant population. So, if anyone is thinking of a late season bird hunt, things are looking pretty promising. (Evidence of a successful 60-minute solo outing last week is at the end of this newsletter.)

It’s been a few months since the last SAA newsletter, so I knew I needed to get one out the door before I leave on my annual deer hunting trip with my brother this weekend.

While there hasn’t been a newsletter since late July, a lot has been happening…hence the unusual length of this newsletter edition. For a great collection of recent news stories, visit the Latest News page of the SAA Web site. Everything since August has been added in the past week. You’ll find reports on Bristol Bay’s huge sockeye returns this past summer (seriously…over 40 million fish!), several more jewelry companies joining the opposition to Pebble Mine, a peek behind the scenes of Northern Dynasty’s promotional efforts for the Pebble project, and much more.

Here are some highlights…please be sure to view the 2010 sport show schedule at the end of the newsletter, and consider volunteering a few hours to help promote protections for Bristol Bay this coming winter.

Sporting Community Sends Message to Bureau of Land Management: “Protect Bristol Bay!”
In late August, 275 members of the sporting community sent a letter to Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and BLM Director Bob Abbey, asking that the BLM not open one million acres of federal lands in the Bristol Bay region to mining. SAA helped spearhead this letter, by securing sign-ons from a wide variety of sporting interests: catch and release fishing groups like Trout Unlimited and the Federation of Fly Fishers to big game hunting organizations like Dallas Safari Club, and dozens of fishing product manufacturers to firearms makers like Sturm Ruger & Co. Showing the nationwide and global significance of the Bristol Bay region, signers to the letter represented 40 US states and several foreign countries. Thank you to all who participated in this effort!

Bristol Bay Wild Salmon Week a Big Success in Nation’s Capitol
In October, SAA Director Scott Hed traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in Bristol Bay Wild Salmon Week. Over 40 meetings were held in the course of three days, with federal agencies and Congressional offices, all with the purpose of raising awareness among decision makers about the threats facing Bristol Bay. Participants in this event represented Bristol Bay village leaders, commercial fishing interests, scientific experts in fisheries and mining issues, and sport fishing. If you happen to live in one of the following states, contact Scott Hed. (Note: I will be away from my office and e-mail until Wednesday, November 18.)

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington state, and Wisconsin.

Scott Hed with Norm Van Vactor at Congressional Reception during Bristol Bay Wild Salmon Week in Washington, D.C.
SAA Director Scott Hed with Norm Van Vactor
of Leader Creek Fisheries at Congressional
Reception during Bristol Bay Wild Salmon
Week in Washington, D.C. (Small world…
both of us are alumni of St. Olaf College.)

We’d love to have a few constituents contact members of Congress from those states, as a follow up to meetings held during Wild Salmon Week.

Don’t worry, if you are from a state not listed above, there will be plenty to do in the coming months. We’re reaching the stage with this campaign where there will be a lot more opportunity for meaningful engagement by folks all over the country.

SHOCKER! Bristol Bay Residents Not Interested in Huge Mining District
While it should be obvious, it’s better to have reliable figures to back this up…A September poll shows that a huge majority of Bristol Bay residents oppose development of the Pebble Mine. There’s also an article from television station KTUU that interviews some of the people involved with the poll and reaction from Pebble to the results.

What are the Risks to Anglo American from the Proposed Pebble Mine Project?
A new investor advisory released in late October raises significant questions about the risks associated with Anglo American plc's Pebble Mine Project in southwest Alaska. The advisory details the growing list of regulatory, legal, engineering and political challenges facing the London-based mining giant as it struggles to secure permits for the controversial gold-copper mine. Read the press release, and also view the full report.

SEATTLE Special: Want to Save Wild Salmon? Eat One!
If you are in the Seattle area, be sure to check out Bristol Bay Wild Salmon Week from Nov. 15-21. Several local restaurants will be featuring wild Alaska salmon on their menus. Even if you aren’t in the Seattle area, click the link and you can find out how to purchase delicious and healthy wild Bristol Bay salmon from family-owned fishing businesses. There is also a special free showing of Red Gold in Bellingham on November 17.

“Red Gold” Screenings a Hit in Japan
Employees of Patagonia distributed specially tailored fact sheets about Bristol Bay to over 5,000 attendees of the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Japan this fall, where Red Gold was screened. The actions focused on the large Japanese market for imported wild Alaska salmon as well as the fact that Mitsubishi Corporation is a minority shareholder in the proposed Pebble Mine project. Thanks to the great folks at Patagonia for helping raise this issue in Japan!

Alaska Board of Fisheries to Consider Increased Protections for Bristol Bay Fish Habitat
In early December, the Alaska Board of Fisheries will consider Proposal 13 which encourages Alaskan lawmakers to create higher standards of protection for fish and important habitat in the Bristol Bay watershed. Everyone can learn more here and Alaska residents should Take Action.

New Legislation Aims to Protect Recreational Hunting and Fishing on Federal Land
While not specifically addressing a conservation issue in Alaska, this legislation should be of interest to anglers and hunters all across the nation who fish and/or hunt on land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service.

English supporter of Bristol Bay, Peter Cockwill, with his massive Arctic grayling.
English supporter of Bristol Bay, Peter
Cockwill, with his massive Arctic grayling
caught in Alaska this past summer!

Follow the Bristol Bay Campaign on Twitter
If you’re into the whole “Tweeting” thing, you can now follow the Bristol Bay campaign on Twitter. Sign up here for more frequent news and event updates – and pass along to all your friends.

Arctic Grayling record smashed by UK angler
Peter Cockwill, a fly shop owner from Bramley, Surrey, England, has long been fascinated with large Arctic grayling. He researched Alaskan waters with potentially large fish, made annual visits late in the season so the grayling would be at their peak weight filled with salmon eggs. He caught a huge grayling in August, weighing 5 pounds 1 ounce, and estimated to be 35 years old! See the picture and read about Peter’s pending record at Fish&Fly. Incidentally, Peter attended our showing of Red Gold in London last spring, and is a huge proponent of protections for Bristol Bay and for his beloved Arctic grayling. Congratulations Peter, and thanks for the support across the Atlantic!

Kevin Paulson from visiting with Scott Hed at the 2008 RMEF annual convention.
Kevin Paulson from
visiting with SAA Director Scott Hed
at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
annual convention last winter.

2010 Sport Show Season – A Call for Volunteers – You Can Help Bristol Bay!
The sport show tour calendar is coming together. View the schedule online and below. A handful of energetic volunteers have already stepped forward to help spread the word about Alaska conservation in early 2010 – Thank you very much! Due to the generosity of show organizers that want to help us spread the word about Alaska conservation, the SAA will have many opportunities to exhibit at sporting shows across the country again this coming winter. Last year many terrific individuals lent their time and enthusiasm about Alaska by volunteering at shows in their area. From reports, everyone enjoyed themselves and was interested in helping again. Your assistance is greatly appreciated and extremely valuable. With the present state of the economy, the SAA (like everyone else) is trying to tighten its budgetary belt while still maintaining a presence at these shows. It will be even more important to enlist the support of volunteers if we are to keep spreading the word about Alaska conservation battles like Bristol Bay.

These events represent some of our best opportunities to alert anglers and hunters from across the nation to issues like the threats facing Bristol Bay and Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. I’ve found that once sportsmen and women are made aware of these issues, they most often want to know how they can help preserve the unrivaled opportunities to hunt and fish found in Alaska.

Please send me an e-mail if you are interested in assisting at any of the following shows that the SAA has been invited to exhibit at in 2010. We’re building teams of volunteers for each show and we should have a good plan in place by mid-December.

January 7-10

Dallas Safari Club Convention (Dallas, TX)

January 7-10

International Sportsmen's Exposition (Denver, CO)

January 8-10

The Fly Fishing Show (Denver, CO)

January 14-17

International Sportsmen's Exposition (San Mateo, CA)

January 15-17

The Fly Fishing Show (Marlborough, MA)

January 22-24

The Fly Fishing Show (Somerset, NJ)

January 29-30

The Fly Fishing Show (Charlotte, NC)

January 29-31

Tentative: Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo (Chicago, IL)

February 10-14

Tentative: Pacific Northwest Sportsmen's Show (Portland, OR)

February 11-14

Eastern Fishing & Outdoor Exposition (Worcester, MA)

February 25-28

The Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow (Oaks, PA)

February 26-28

International Sportsmen's Exposition (Phoenix, AZ)

February 26-28

The Fly Fishing Show (Pleasanton, CA)

March 3-7

Fred Hall's Fishing Tackle, Boat, and Travel Show (Long Beach, CA)

March 4-7

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Annual Elk Camp & Expo (Reno, NV)

March 13-14

Tentative: The Fly Fishing Show (Pasadena, CA)

March 13-14

Tentative: Midwest Fly Fishing Expo (Warren, MI)

March 18-21

International Sportsmen's Exposition (Salt Lake City, UT)

March 24-28

Fred Hall's Fishing Tackle, Boat, and Travel Show (San Diego, CA)

March 24-28

Tentative: Northwest Sportshow (Minneapolis, MN)

March 26-28

Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo (Bloomington, MN)

April 17-18

Virginia Fly Fishing Festival (Waynesboro, VA)


No Pebble Mine reels from Abel
No Pebble Mine reels from Abel

Balsam Hill Christmas Trees

Balsam Hill Christmas Trees

Special Promotions
SAA is fortunate to have the support of so many generous partners. While the 2010 online auction is still several months away (probably launching in February 2010), there are a few notable promotions ongoing:

Labs and ringnecks.
Chipper (12 yrs) and Chloe
(3 yrs) with a pair of SD ringnecks.

That will do it for this month’s newsletter. Thanks for caring about Alaska conservation. Good luck in the fields and woods and on the water. Remember to introduce someone new to fishing or hunting, and be safe out there!

Scott Hed
Director – Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska

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