Returning to the land of the midnight sun today, I absorbed my surroundings. Eagerly soaking up the brightness of the overcast sky, anglers video recording exiting the airplane, all of my bags arriving on time, hugging my friends and co-workers I’ve not seen all winter, watching Kada (my yellow lab) licking her buddy she had also not seen all winter, eating a well prepared meal with guests and friends, talking about last year, discussing our plans for this summer, unpacking into a familiar cabin, noticing the new additions to a well-known lodge.
It’s a bit like coming home after a long stretch away, although this is merely my home for four and a half months. Entering my seventh season, I guess it’s okay to now call it that....home. My partner and I spend more time here than we do anywhere else. Come mid October though, warmer climates will pull us south to the Oregon coast.
The relationships we’ve built in Bristol Bay carry on during the “off season” helping spark the creation of our travel business. Guests we’ve met working at the lodge join our yearly adventures to Louisiana, Christmas Island, Oregon, and all the way down to Baja. And each year we reunite to experience miles of wilderness and epic fly fishing in Alaska.
Returning to Bristol Bay brings a flood of excitement back into my blood. And this year with the impending doom of the Pebble Partnership, even more cheer. I know we have more work to do to ensure the door closes on the proposed largest open pit mine in North America, but it’s exciting to think we’ve remained united against Goliath and we’re close to winning. I hope we can continue to work together to protect this place so many of us call home.
Kate’s just one of thousands of people whose jobs take them north each summer to Bristol Bay, all reliant upon the world’s most productive wild salmon fishery. The fishery, in turn, is entirely dependent upon the clean water and healthy lands that define this incredible region of southwest Alaska.
Fishpond is one of over 1,100 sport fishing and hunting groups and businesses that have rallied to the defense of Bristol Bay. For years, the sporting community has linked arms with the commercial fishing industry and the residents of Bristol Bay – all seeking to prevent the undeniable harmful impacts of mining on a scale that’s practically incomprehensible. You’ve likely heard of the proposed Pebble Mine (if not, visit www.SaveBristolBay.org to get up to speed). Through the tireless work of many who are fighting for Bristol Bay’s future, we are potentially headed toward the finish line in what has seemed at times a marathon (unending?) campaign.
Thanks for all you’ve done to this point – making donations, submitting comments to the EPA during their multi-year study of Bristol Bay, and contacting your members of Congress about the importance of this issue. Be ready to weigh in one more time with the EPA – the agency listened to all the concerned user groups and in late February began a process under the Clean Water Act that could result in Bristol Bay being protected from Pebble and the likely other mines that would follow if the gates to Bristol Bay were to be breached. Pebble is weakened, having lost every major mining investor in the project over the past few years. They’re down, but they say they’re not out – vowing to recruit new investors and fight the EPA at every turn. But we can win this fight once and for all! Thanks in advance for sticking with us and I hope when Kate and her colleagues are headed back to Bristol Bay for the summer of 2015, we will be celebrating a conservation victory for the ages.