More than anything, I want to protect the idea of it.
(photo courtesy of Nat Geographic via Headwaters of History Blog)
I have never been to Bristol Bay, Alaska.
I have never fished it's legendary tributaries.
But the essence of the place reaches down to me like few others have.
Many know about the proposed Pebble mine by mining consortium Anglo-American.
Many know that some of the biggest battles of the fight are upcoming
Many know, the mines have a tremendous amount more money to fight the PR fight
But we have a tremendous asset on our side.
The fight to protect an idea
The lower 48's western coastline used to to be some of the most productive salmon and steelhead habitat in the world. I cant fathom what 16 million fish coming back to the Snake River Basin must have looked like.
These rivers are now ghosts of their former selves. Artificially kept alive on a lifeline of hatcheries, the idea that they can recover to their former self is to me, a complete long shot.
Right now, the Bristol Bay region is a resource that continually renews itself via the clean, clear and pure water that come from the headwaters down to the ocean.
Without this water, without this habitat, I can only imagine that the swimming resources will be greatly effected
To put the worlds largest scale Pebble Mine in this area will be a travesty. Immense short term gains will happen and many will become rich.
But it will come at the cost of bankrupting our soul because we failed to protect the idea
And what is the idea?
It's the idea that pristine habitat still exists within this world and the inhabitants of this habitat are given the opportunity to do their job. Hatch, swim, go to sea, return, spawn, die. Over and over again
We need these places. We cannot afford another mess up.
It's too important.
We will be working more here to get information on this issue.
Here are some resources for you to help join the fight against the proposed Pebble Mine
1. Visit Headwaters of History's Blog. These guys are at the front lines of the fight
2. http://www.bristolbayalliance.com/ More important info
3. If you haven't seen it, find a copy of Red Gold by Felt Soul Media. This amazing film brings a visual representation of this fight
I've wanted to write about this issue for a very long time. I will keep an ongoing dialogue here about it and hopefully we all continue to band together to protect Bristol Bay
Maybe one day I will set my boots into it's rivers with my son and find out how amazing this place is.
If you have other resources about protecting Bristol Bay, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org