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March 27, 2008

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Mine Fight Builds in Alaska

For those of you who missed it, I wrote a conservation column in the March '08 issue of Field & Stream on the Pebble Mine project in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska. The Pebble project could reap billions in gold and copper ... but at a potentially greater price, namely the largest wild salmon fishery in the world. For more context, click to see the Red Gold Trailer by our friends at Felt Soul Media ... or the efforts of Trout Unlimited to save Bristol Bay.

Yesterday, I got a note from Scott Hed of the Sportsman's Alliance for Alaska explaining how the issue is quickly expanding beyond the Pebble site, as other mining interests ramp up development efforts in the area.

In a nutshell, this year will be critical in determining the future of mining v. fishing in Alaska, and possibly beyond. Hed explained: "If the Clean Water Initiative passes in Alaska (assuming it survives an Alaska Supreme Court review) this fall, these (mines) will all be very difficult to move forward. However, it’s now become much more than stopping Pebble Mine. We really need to rally the world of hunting and angling – individuals, conservation groups, businesses, etc."

That's where you can help. You should look into the matter, encourage your friends to do so, and weigh in, now, on what I believe to be the most pressing issue concerning fishery conservation in the world. One way to do so, is to E-mail Alaska's governor, Sarah Palin, expressing your desire that some of the last great wild fisheries on the planet be protected, at all costs. E-mail Governor Palin



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i actually read about this article in the magazine. the next week in my 10th grade english class, we had to write an essay on a controversal subject of our choice. i picked this cause it sounded interesting. in my research i came to the conclusion that its too risky to put mines in there. there are so many species of wildlife that could be affected negatively from the mine.the largest dam to be biult is larger than the grand coulee dam in wa. i agree, we need to spread the word on this subject to preserve the fisheries not only in alaska but as well as around the world. if the mine is approved where will it end? the summitville mine in colorado of similar type sterilized 17 miles of the alamosa river. the water is as acidic as vinegar. check out the red gold vid by felt sout media. very amazing wish i could see the whole thing. the trailor is amazing tho so check it out.


Ben ... you need to know that there are many, many folks whose hearts are warmed to see a response like yours. You are, in many regards, why we do all this in the first place ... I, for one, am proud of you, and I respect your insights, having looked into this issue. If you don't earn an "A" on your essay, let us know, and we'll lobby your teacher. Good thinking, my friend. We need more of your kind carrying the torch.

Paul Sharman

The fight has crossed the pond already you'll be pleased to know. FishandFly.com, the UK online journal that I am editor of had a load of promotional fliers, buttons, etc at our recent UK Spring Fly Show last month. We managed to get over 100+ signatures on the petition which is on its way to Scott Hed right now. Some Dutch colleagues also picked up the gauntlet while visiting us and will further promote this at their national Fly show this month. One of the mining concerns is 50% UK owned so we are letting them know that the whole fishing industry is joining together against this type of reckless development.
Keep up the fight and also check out the trailer for "Equilibrium" from Castaway Films (www.castawayfilms.com), another great movie focusing on Bristol Bay and what is at stake.
KD - Looking forward also to seeing the full version of Red Gold - Travis & Ben at Felt Soul surely produce some of the best fly fishing documentaries out there today!

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