Those of you anglers who don’t know about the Pebble Mine issue in Alaska should tune into that topic. In a nutshell, Pebble is a proposed pit mine (three times the size of any existing mine in North America) at the headwaters of some of the best trout and salmon waters in the world.
The mine would create toxic waste, which would theoretically be contained behind an enormous earthen dam (in one of the most earthquake-prone regions on the planet).
What’s at stake is not only the world’s largest wild salmon fishery, but also a way of life for the native people, commercial fishermen, sport anglers, hunters, and others who appreciate and depend on wild Bristol Bay. There’s been a lot written about Pebble, including a feature I did for Field & Stream in March 2008 titled “Salmon Roulette.” It’s definitely worth digging around and bringing yourself up to speed, because I think Pebble is the signature environmental issue of our time, at least in a context that involves fly fishing.
In fact, starting next week, those of you who live in several cities throughout the country will have an opportunity to hear and see more about Bristol Bay and the Pebble Mine in person. The “Save Bristol Bay Road Show” is a barnstorming tour that will bring various speakers to discuss Bristol Bay and Pebble Mine, and drum up support among anglers in the Lower 48. The show will include panel discussions with Native Alaskans, commercial fishermen, sport anglers, and others; it will also feature the award-winning film “Red Gold” by my friends at Felt Soul Media. There will also be wild salmon served, and yes, beer is available. Admission is free.
The schedule is: Seattle, Monday October 17 at the Leif Erikson Lodge at 7 p.m.; Portland, Oregon, Wednesday October 19 at the Bagdad Theater at 7 p.m.; Corvallis, Oregon, Friday October 21 at The Arts Center at 7 p.m.; San Francisco, Monday October 24 at the Temple Nightclub at 7 p.m.; Santa Fe, New Mexico, Tuesday October 25 at the Center for Contemporary Arts Cinematheque at 7 p.m.; and Denver on Thursday October 27 at the Oriental Theater at 7 p.m.
I will be a part of the panel discussion in Denver. Having fished Bristol Bay, and having actually spent a week in the native village of Ekwok as part of the 2010 Bristol Bay Academy, the issue is very near and dear. If you live around Denver, and have a chance to come out, I’d enjoy meeting you in person.
You can check out all the details and get directions at www.savebristolbay.org.
One other note: If you get a chance, also please check out the latest Trout Unlimited podcast, in which I was interviewed by TU CEO Chris Wood.