May 6, 2010 Newsletter
The sport show season has come and gone and I’ve been in the office for a few solid weeks. Springtime has arrived, along with fishing seasons and turkey hunting. Summer is getting closer. Hopefully you’ve got plans lined up for some great fishing adventures this year. (If you’re still unsettled on that front, check out the tremendous deals SAA has secured with lodges to support the Bristol Bay campaign. More details also found at the end of the news.)
In this edition of the SAA News, you’ll find recent updates on Bristol Bay, recent news on a piece of legislation that could dramatically affect Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, a recap of the 2010 sport show tour, and a few other tidbits. But before we get to Alaska news…indulge me just a moment.
We’ve all seen the network news headline stories, but I’m not sure if you’ve seen the very good blog post by Bob Marshall, one of the nation’s top outdoor and conservation writers (who just happens to hail from Louisiana), about the impacts likely to be felt by the developing situation in the Gulf of Mexico. An excerpt featuring logic that is quite easily applied elsewhere:
"Offshore oil drilling is like nuclear power – it has a pretty good safety record, but when an accident happens the results can be catastrophic. And accidents will happen."
As a nation, we need resource development, there’s no argument on that. But, we need to be sure that development decisions take into account fish and game habitat requirements, multiple uses including hunting and angling, an honest assessment of the risks involved, and long-term ramifications – even in best-case scenarios. In some cases, development is simply the wrong idea in the wrong place.
For those interested, Field & Stream is providing regular coverage of the Gulf oil spill with coverage focusing on how it impacts fish, game, and our outdoor pursuits. As sportsmen and women, our thoughts and support should go out to those along our Gulf coast.
OK, let’s move way north for some Alaska news. I’ll hit the major highlights. There’s much more, so if you’re interested in all the news, just visit the Latest News page on the SAA site.
Bristol Bay: Zales joins Jewelry Industry in Saying “NO” to the Proposed Pebble Mine
Zales, the second largest U.S. jewelry retailer, has signed the Bristol Bay Protection Pledge – and endorsed protection for the world's largest remaining wild sockeye salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Read the brief news story in the Anchorage Daily News and the coverage by Field & Stream's blog to the cavalier “So what?” reaction to the Zales news by the Pebble Partnership’s chief executive.
Here’s a new ad you’ll be seeing in fishing magazines.
There are now over 30 major jewelers that have endorsed protections for Bristol Bay! Please take a minute to thank Zales, and the next time you’re in the market for some jewelry buy from one of these companies.
Bristol Bay: Koktuli River in the News
The Koktuli River is an important tributary to the Mulchatna River, which is part of the mighty Nushagak River watershed. Unfortunately, the Koktuli also sits squarely in the crosshairs of the proposed Pebble Mine. The Koktuli has been named as one of 2010’s Ten Waters to Watch by the National Fish Habitat Action Plan. This designation will result in U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service funds, along with matching funds from other public and private entities, being used to continue studies of fish distribution and water flows in the Bristol Bay region.
Also on the Koktuli front, Trout Unlimited’s Tim Bristol penned an excellent argument on why the State of Alaska blew it by rejecting a request by TU and others to designate the Koktuli as an Outstanding National Resource Water under the Clean Water Act. Read the piece in the Anchorage Daily News.
Bristol Bay: Members of Congress ask BLM to Protect Federal Lands in Bristol Bay Region
SAA and Trout Unlimited issued a press release to praise a recent letter sent by Representatives James Moran (Virginia) and Norm Dicks (Washington state) to Bob Abbey, Director of the Bureau of Land Management. If you happen to live in these Congressional districts, make sure to thank these gentlemen. There is an effort underway to get other members of Congress to follow suit, and anyone else can surely ask their Representative to send a similar letter to the BLM. Want to find your Members of Congress? Click here – it’s as easy as entering your ZIP code.
Tongass National Forest: Sealaska Lands Bill Still Percolating
The Tongass is our nation’s largest national forest, and part of the largest remaining temperate rainforest on the planet. If you’ve ever taken a cruise through the Inland Passage in southeast Alaska, you’ve been to the Tongass. Meetings have been held in communities in the region and SAA helped organize a lobby trip to Washington, D.C., involving several hunting guides, all in an effort to address concerns over companion bills in Congress (S.881 and HR2099) that would transfer up to 85,000 acres of the Tongass to Sealaska – the regional Alaska native corporation. It’s a contentious issue, and USA Today and the Los Angeles Times have written good stories on this developing situation. The LA Times piece has a really good slide show and short video. In just the past week, three former top officials with the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game warned Alaska Governor Sean Parnell of the potential impacts of this legislation. Through the hard work of hunting and angling interests, both local and outside Alaska, this legislation has been stalled for the time being. Things can change quickly, and there are undoubtedly negotiations ongoing that will hopefully improve any final bill with regard to fish and game habitat impacts and access for sportspersons. Stayed tuned for your opportunity to act if and when a final bill emerges.
Follow the Bristol Bay Campaign on Twitter and Upload your “No Pebble” Pics on Flickr
|We’ve now got close to 600 followers on our Twitter feed. If you’re interested in receiving breaking news on Bristol Bay, sign up at Twitter. There’s also a No Pebble Mine group on the photo sharing site Flickr. Check out some cool images of the “No Pebble Mine” logo adorning various things around the country, and upload your own – it’s easy. Thanks to volunteer extraordinaire – Kyle Perkins – for making this happen!||
Head to the Flickr site to share your pics!
Alaska Fishing Featured on TV Shows
During the winter months, when there’s not much fishing to be done, a person can always get his or her fix on television. A few programs that are set up to record on my DVR are below.
- Trout Unlimited’s On the Rise program featured host Frank Smethurst fishing in Alaska during season three’s first few episodes. Frank fished the Kanektok and Arolik rivers in western Alaska on episode one, then he spent two episodes fishing for trout and salmon in Bristol Bay. The show did a great job featuring the Pebble Mine campaign and interviewed several of the Alaskans involved with this fight.
- NAPA’s North to Alaska hosted by NFL Hall of Famer Larry Csonka has been a popular program for many seasons. The crew films fishing and hunting adventures all across the Great Land. Early this year, they featured a few episodes in the Bristol Bay region and discussed the proposed Pebble Mine project.
2010 Sport Show Season Recap – Thanks to All the Volunteers!
|The months of January through March are very hectic for the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska. In the dead of winter, through the generosity of show organizers and the willingness of tremendous volunteers to give of their free time, the SAA spreads the word about Alaska conservation issues at events across the country. All told, it was a successful tour – thousands of concerned hunters and anglers signed postcards asking for protections in Bristol Bay. Geographic coverage for the 2010 sport show tour was pretty impressive: Colorado (two shows), Texas, California (four), Massachusetts (two), New Jersey/New York, Washington state, Oregon, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Utah, Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia. We exhibited at some new shows in 2010 – shows that have much larger attendance figures – so we were able to reach a healthy number of new sportsmen and women. In several markets we were able to host events featuring a screening of Red Gold in conjunction with the sport show events. Preliminary plans are already underway to make the 2011 sport show season another success.||
SAA volunteer Chris Gatch
at the SAA booth
during the Dallas Safari Club convention.
Volunteer Incentive Drawing Results
Several dozen SAA volunteers from the 2010 show season were entered in a prize drawing. Thanks again to all who volunteered, and congrats to these lucky winners:
- John Tibbs (WA) and Art Salomon (NY) each won a DVD copy of Red Gold.
- Frank Wood (CA) won a signed copy of the book The Alaska Chronicles by Miles Nolte.
- Rick and Linda Schneider (CO) won a Bugger Beast fly case from Cliff Outdoors filled with dozens of flies from the Montana Fly Company.
- John Roe (CA) won a $100 gift certificate to a local fly shop.
- Evan Griggs and his cohorts at the Southwest High School Flyfishing Club (MN) won a $100 gift certificate to a local sporting goods store.
Donate to SAA
SAA has a number of promotions ongoing to help raise a few dollars. Nearly all can be found on the SAA home page. Here’s a quick summary:
NEW! Fishing Trips: The following lodges are generously offering special 2-for-1 pricing to supporters of the SAA. There’s just one trip available to each one, so act fast! After factoring the donation to SAA, you’ll be fishing at fine lodges in Alaska and elsewhere for about 40% off retail price. Most trips are for 2010 season, but there are a few 2011 options. Very special thanks to: Rainbow River Lodge, Legend Lodge, No See Um Lodge, Rainbow Point Lodge, Copper River Lodge, Royal Coachman Lodge, Great Alaska Adventure Lodge, Rapids Camp Lodge, Rio Salvaje Lodge (Chile), and Pesca Maya (Mexico). View the menu of trips and details.
NEW! Ladies Only Fishing Trip: Denali Highway Grayling Safari with Pudge Kleinkauf, August 6 - 9, 2010 (Trip is for one person) Here’s Pudge’s description:
Women’s Flyfishing® will guide you to fish the remote and lovely Tangle Lakes area along the Denali Highway in Interior Alaska and wander the picturesque road to other choice spots for non-stop Arctic grayling fishing with dry flies and nymphs.
© Women’s Flyfishing
Trip cost is $900 and includes four days guided fly fishing, instruction, all the gear, equipment and flies, and camping fees where necessary. Neither transportation nor meals are provided. (Lodging is available if you prefer not to camp. We'll refer you. Or consider renting a motor home in Anchorage to enjoy the drive and visit Denali National Park on the way. The Denali Highway is a very beautiful 5-1/2 hour drive north from Anchorage.) Couples welcome. You can read our 2009 Trip Report online.
Bidding will begin right now with a $400 minimum bid. The normal price for this trip is $900.
The bidding will end at 12:00 p.m. (Central time) on Friday, May 14.
To place a sealed bid on the trip, send an e-mail to Scott@SportsmansAlliance4AK.org with “Pudge Trip Bid” in the subject line. Please indicate the amount of your top bid. Should we receive multiple high bids of an identical amount, we’ll then offer those bidders one final opportunity to bid higher.
|NEW! Big Ku Lodge Group Trip with SAA Director Scott Hed: Flywater Travel has cooked up a nice offering at Big Ku Lodge. Located in the Katmai/Iliamna area, Big Ku hosts only 4-6 anglers at a time. Big Ku Lodge is an intimate, remote, no frills Alaskan fly fishing camp that offers small groups of serious anglers the ultimate private hub from which to fly fish the Big and Little Ku, Battle and American Creek, the Moraine, Kulik, and Kvichak systems. Drawing from the experience, aircraft and guide pool of their renowned sister operation, Royal Wolf Lodge, Big Ku guests often fly fish their home water in the morning before flying out to the region’s other premier systems. Early morning and late night unguided fly fishing is both encouraged and expected.||
© Flywater Travel
To benefit the SAA, Flywater is going to make a donation to the Bristol Bay campaign if a group of four or five anglers books a trip during either August 14-19 or August 21-26. Plus, SAA Director Scott Hed will be on the trip. You’ll get a chance to learn more about the Bristol Bay campaign – if you want – otherwise, we’ll just fish!
This is first-come, first served…so get your group lined up. E-mail me or call the SAA office at 605-351-1646 to discuss.
NEW! “Over Our Dead Salmon” t-shirts and hoodies by Ray Troll:
$25 for a t-shirt or $35 for a hoodie.
T-shirts and hoodies are black, with the color image on the front, in sizes L to XXL.
IN STOCK! Red Gold on DVD: If you’ve seen it, you’ve likely been blown away. There’s a reason it’s won so many awards. Now, get your own copy for $25 and share it with anyone who still needs convincing. There’s no better outreach tool for telling the story of Bristol Bay.
IN STOCK! Coasters from Abel Automatics: Your beverage of choice can rest safely…and you’ll be helping the SAA fight for Bristol Bay to boot. Our friends at Abel Reels produced fewer than 100 of these sweet “No Pebble Mine” coasters from their scrap material. The price has dropped, so get yours now by making a $15 donation. Only three dozen remain.
That will do it for this month’s newsletter. I’ve got an Alaska trip or two to plan – for work, honestly! I can’t strictly go up there for fun without my wife joining me (evidence below). I’m planning to get the next newsletter out in June. Until then, get outside as much as possible and make sure to introduce a new person or two to the outdoors this summer. For anyone headed to Alaska, send pictures and you might be featured on the SAA Web site or in upcoming issues of the SAA newsletter.
Thanks for caring about Alaska conservation.
Director – Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska
Scott and Nicki Hed with king salmon from
the Alaska Peninsula (July 2009). Thanks to
the team at Rapids Camp Lodge!