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

June 11, 2010 Newsletter

I hope your summer is off to a good start. My family got together to celebrate the Memorial Day holiday here in South Dakota. We spent three days catching lots of walleye, so there will be a few fish fries in my future!

Before we get to the news, I’d like to draw your attention to an online fundraising contest that the SAA is participating in. Help SAA share in over $50,000 of prize money! There’s no donation required to cast a vote. However, if you do make a donation you are able to vote more times. You can also receive additional free votes by forwarding to your Facebook network. Talk about a pain-free way to help the SAA!
Fundraising Tournament for the Environment

And there is a special promotion running now through the end of the contest on June 22, which could help catapult SAA into the top spot. For the five nonprofits that raise the most money in the final 15 days of the tournament, either for the tournament or directly for their own respective organizations, Humanity Calls will triple the number of votes earned by these top five nonprofits during the period from June 7 through June 22.

This is no small thing! SAA learned of this contest well after it had begun, so SAA hasn’t received that many votes to date. But this is our chance to slingshot into the tournament "Top 30" at the last moment. SAA is currently in 36th place, and the Top 30 will share the prize money.

For example, if SAA collects 700 votes in the final 15 days and SAA is in the top five nonprofits for funds raised between June 7 and June 22, SAA will receive a bonus of 1400 votes for a total of 2100 votes in 15 days. As of today, 2100 votes would be enough to position SAA in first place in the tournament. Here are three examples of how to collect 700 votes:

The contest is sponsored by eBay and administered by Humanity Calls. So, please take a moment and Vote for SAA! Your votes could help SAA receive a share of the prize pool, which is over $50,000. If each person on this newsletter distribution list uses their free vote, we’ll do very well. Please share with your friends, family, and colleagues!

On to the news…I’ll hit the major highlights. There’s much more, so if you’re interested in all the news, you can always visit the Latest News page on the SAA site.

Bristol Bay: Send a message to Mitsubishi

The giant Japanese corporation Mitsubishi holds roughly an 11% stake in Northern Dynasty Minerals, one of the partners in the proposed Pebble Mine project. Mitsubishi’s annual shareholder meeting is being held on June 24 in Tokyo, and we’d like to send a strong message to the company’s directors and shareholders that the Bristol Bay region is not appropriate for a massive mining project. Japan is a very big market for wild Alaska salmon. Sign the Petition!

Bristol Bay: Independent Third Party Study of Potential Mine Impacts?

Independent Third Party Study of Potential Mine Impacts The 2010 Alaska legislature set aside $750,000 for a study of the potential impacts of large mine development in the Bristol Bay region. Not surprisingly, proponents of the Pebble Mine project don’t think an independent third party study is necessary, and are lobbying Alaska Governor Sean Parnell to veto funding for the study. Two state legislators from the Bristol Bay region made a compelling argument that impartiality is essential to assessing mining proposals in Bristol Bay.

Bristol Bay: Sockeye Diversity is Key to Productivity of Bristol Bay Fishery

A University of Washington study published last week in the journal Nature found that sockeye salmon from Bristol Bay, Alaska, make up one of the world’s most valuable and dependable fisheries — largely because of the variety of ecological niches the species occupies and the varied life cycles the fish have developed as a result. The Seattle Times and KTUU television provide good coverage of the study. Of course, the Pebble spokesperson in the television piece downplays any risk to the fishery posed by their project.

Bristol Bay: Bristol Bay Working Group Spring Newsletter

SAA is fortunate to participate in the Bristol Bay campaign alongside many talented individuals and groups all working in cooperation to protect one of the world’s truly premier fish and game regions. Check out the latest broad campaign news in the spring newsletter of the Bristol Bay Working Group.

Tongass National Forest: Sealaska Lands Bill Still a Threat to Hunting and Fishing

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 the failure of private meetings between some conservation groups and Sealaska to yield positive results was unfortunate. 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, so stayed tuned for your opportunity to act if and when a final bill emerges in Congress.

Tongass National Forest: USFS Changes Course – For the Better

Tongass National Forest Meanwhile, federal management of the Tongass is moving in a more sustainable direction. The Forest Service announced in late May that it would shift away from logging old-growth in remote areas. Instead, it will concentrate on preparing previously logged areas for future harvest. In the meantime, the Forest Service will focus on restoring damage inflicted by decades of earlier logging done under lax rules. It’s a bold new vision, but it’s not popular with some powerful Alaskans. They still dream of resurrecting an outdated timber industry that relies on heavy federal subsidies for logging of old-growth forest. Read the Associated Press story in the Anchorage Daily News and the response to the Forest Service’s announcement from Senator Mark Begich (D-AK).

Alaska Book Recommendations

Red Summer is a vivid, gripping account of the author Bill Carter's four summers spent in grueling and exhilaratingly hard work as a commercial set-net salmon fisherman in a remote Bristol Bay village.
Salmon in the Trees documents, through photography and text, the temperate rainforests of Southeast Alaska. Read a glowing review from ESPN Outdoors and watch a YouTube video preview of the book.
Red Summer
Salmon in the Trees

Did Your Town Make the Outdoor Life “Top 200” Towns for Hunters and Fishermen?

I figured it would be fun to include this. Outdoor Life magazine just released its third annual list of America's top towns for sportspersons. Check out the online slide show and view the entire list. Alaska is well-represented with five entries (four in the top 50). However, it’s neat to see how many great places there are in this country. In fact, the state I call home – South Dakota – has nine entries. Rapid City takes the top spot overall, and my town (Sioux Falls) checks in at number 19. How about your neck of the woods?

Donate to SAA

For the time being, please make any donations to SAA via the Humanity Calls online fundraising contest detailed above. Donations now through June 22 have the potential to earn SAA a share of over $50,000. Remember to use your free vote and earn more by spreading the word or making a donation.

Follow the Bristol Bay Campaign on Twitterand Upload your “No Pebble” Pics on Flickr

Twitter Follow SAA on Twitter

Flickr Upload No Pebble Pics to Flickr

The Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska is headed to the Outdoor Writers Association of America annual conference this week, networking with outdoor media to get coverage of important Alaska conservation issues in print, on radio, on the Web, and on television. SAA is already working with Hooked on the Fly to produce two episodes on Bristol Bay for that show’s next season. Look for the next edition of the SAA News in July.

Best wishes for a successful and safe summer of outdoor adventures! Make sure to get out as much as possible with your family and friends, and when possible invite someone new to the outdoors.

Thanks for caring about Alaska conservation.

Scott Hed
Director – Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska

Curt Olson and Scott Hed
Curt Olson (“Ole” from Red Gold) dropped
by the Hed residence in Sioux Falls for a
salmon and beef grill-out this spring!

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