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

December 11, 2009 Newsletter

Well, winter has finally arrived and seems inclined to stay. After a beautiful November and early December, the temps have dipped to “highs” barely breaking double digits. I hope your fall hunting and fishing has been enjoyable. We still have about 3 weeks of pheasant hunting to go this season, so the dogs will be begging to chase some roosters the next few weekends. Deer season was a success. I took a nice 4x4 whitetail on public land in western South Dakota on the annual trip with my brother. The only downer was hitting another buck on the way home…less than 15 minutes from my house. I finally got the Jeep out of the repair shop a week ago.

This edition of the SAA news will be shorter than last month’s, but there are some important news items to report, a timely promotion from March Brown, and an update on SAA sport show appearances. Yes, we still need volunteers at many shows…What, you’ve got something better to do? Maybe a chance to win some nice prizes will get your interest. Skip to the end if you can’t contain yourself.

BREAKING NEWS: Bristol Bay Native Corp. Opposes Pebble
The Bristol Bay Native Corp. board voted Friday, Dec. 11 to oppose the development of the massive copper and gold Pebble prospect in Southwest Alaska. Click here to read the story from the Anchorage Daily News.

Alaska Board of Fish Supports Stronger Protections for Bristol Bay (Hold on…not so fast…)
The major news concerning the Bristol Bay campaign centers on the actions (or inaction as of this moment) of the Alaska Board of Fish. On December 5, the Board of Fish considered a resolution to provide greater protections for fish habitat in the Kvichak and Nushagak drainages of Bristol Bay. Seems like a simple premise, right? If you’re going to consider a massive mining development in the world’s most productive wild salmon fishery, you should probably ensure that habitat is protected and that stringent oversight measures are in place. The board declined full-fledged support for a fish refuge on state lands, but did decide to write a letter to the Alaska legislature asking for more protective measures for Bristol Bay in the face of Pebble and other possible mines in the region. While that letter was originally supposed to be drafted on December 6, the gears have come to a grinding halt. Feel free to speculate as to why, all you conspiracy theorists. For more detail, check out these four stories, in chronological order, from the Anchorage Daily News.

12/5/09 Panel looks into salmon refuge at Pebble site

12/6/09 Board seeks more regulatory protection for salmon

12/6/09 Fisheries board: Bay protection warranted

12/9/09 Board of Fisheries stalled on Pebble letter to Legislature

March Brown Fish TieLast-Minute Gift Idea! Promotion from March Brown: 50% of Proceeds for the SAA!
Our good friends at March Brown make some terrific travel fly rods. But here’s something unique for those occasions when you need to get a bit dressed up and wear a tie. These high-quality 100% silk ties normally run $65. To benefit the SAA, March Brown is offering tie patterns featuring some of Bristol Bay iconic species for just $50! Take your pick from Rainbow Trout, Grayling, King Salmon, Sockeye Salmon, and Pink Salmon. The best part? $25 from the sale of each tie will be donated back to the SAA!!! To get yours:

  1. Visit the March Brown Web site (scroll to bottom of page).
  2. Pick your pattern(s).
  3. Be sure to use the special code BRISTOLBAY on the checkout screen to get the discount and ensure that SAA receives 50% of the sale proceeds.

Orders placed by midnight on December 16 will be delivered in time for Christmas. And the shipping is FREE! Thanks to the great team at March Brown for supporting Alaska conservation!

late season trophy char
A stunningly beautiful late
season trophy char from the
Bristol Bay region.
© Patricia Edel /
Blue Fly Guide Service.

Still No Action from Bureau of Land Management on Bristol Bay Plan
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.

As of today, there has been no action by BLM to either enact the seriously flawed plan or to announce that the flawed plan will be re-worked – hopefully with much more attention paid to Bristol Bay’s amazing fishery resources.

We need to keep up the pressure. If you want to send an electronic message to the BLM, here are a couple portals that are active: NRDC Biogems and National Wildlife Federation.

Frying Pan Lake
Frying Pan Lake – This would
be gone … submerged at the
bottom of the tailings pond if
Pebble Mine were built.
© Erin McKittrick

Great Site with Images and Maps of the Pebble Site
This site has been up for a few years, but I’ve never spread the link through my newsletter. My bad! If you’ve ever wondered what the Bristol Bay region looks like, in particular the area of the Pebble claim, look no further than AK Trekking.

Fallout from Seattle Wild Salmon Events
Last month several Seattle restaurants featured wild Alaska salmon on their menus in an effort to raise awareness of the threats to Bristol Bay. Well, a board member of the pro-Pebble group Truth About Pebble didn’t like that idea. She suggested a boycott of these Seattle restaurants. This resulted in an Associated Press story which was picked up by the New York Times, a nice column in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and a blog entry from everyone’s favorite crab boat captain Sig Hansen from the hit television show Deadliest Catch.

Follow the Bristol Bay Campaign on Twitter
Our following on Twitter is growing. Thanks to a tremendous volunteer – Kyle Perkins – for making this happen! Sign up here for more frequent news and event updates – and pass along to all your friends.

SAA volunteer Bob Bolger
SAA volunteer Bob Bolger
manning the booth in
Somerset, NJ last winter.
© Bob Bolger

2010 Sport Show Season – A Call for Volunteers – You Can Help Bristol Bay! And maybe even win a prize for your efforts…
View the updated 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.

NOTE: We are set with enough volunteers for Denver and Somerset. We still need people for the rest of the shows.

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)
SPECIAL EVENT!!! We’ll be hosting a Bristol Bay party in Denver on Friday, Jan. 8. Rumor has it that a few of the stars of Red Gold will be in attendance. More details to come in the next few weeks.
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 17-31 Washington Sportsmen's Show (Puyallup, WA)
February 10-14 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 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 Tentative: Virginia Fly Fishing Festival (Waynesboro, VA)

SAA Director Scott Hed
SAA Director Scott Hed
presenting to the Walter J.
Breckenridge Chapter of the
Izaak Walton League of
America in Brooklyn Park,
MN (11/24/09).

Volunteer Incentive: All volunteers will be entered in a drawing to be held in early April. We’ll give away two (2) $100 gift certificates to a sporting goods retailer in the winner’s area, a signed copy of the book The Alaska Chronicles, copies of Red Gold and River Poets on DVD, and a Bugger Beast fly case from Cliff Outdoors filled with dozens of flies from the Montana Fly Company.

That will do it for this month’s newsletter. Thanks for caring about Alaska conservation. Happy Holidays to you and your families. Good luck in the fields and woods and on the water (or ice for you anglers in the north!).

Scott Hed
Director – Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska

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