Our good friend and Sportman’s Alliance for Alaska director, Scott Hed, recently passed along a great writeup sharing a personal experience while stomping around Bristol Bay at our own Rapids Camp Lodge.
For those interested in the true power of the Bristol Bay region itself, along with the current status of the proposed Pebble Mine project, give the article a read below.
There’s Only One Bristol Bay by Scott Hed
“You do know that it’s not easy having you on the road for so much time each year, right? But now that I’ve been here, I understand. This place is incredible, and it needs to be protected.”
Those were my wife Nicki’s words toward the end of a day fishing a small remote creek on a fly out trip from Rapids Camp Lodge. It was her first trip to the Bristol Bay region, and she was finishing a day that had seen her land four king salmon. Every fish she caught that day was larger than any she’d caught in her life before. And, full disclosure, she caught more fish than I did (4-3) and also the largest fish of the day. But I was totally fine with that. After hearing about Bristol Bay for several years, now she finally got to experience it for herself. I bet her reaction is pretty similar to that of many who are fishing southwest Alaska for the first time. All the superlatives are accurate. In fact, if anything, the sum of all the parts that make up Bristol Bay is often better than one was expecting. The huge vistas, massive lakes, rivers and streams running every direction, the brown bears lining the banks, and of course the fishing. All five species of wild Pacific salmon, gargantuan rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, grayling, and more. It’s why this place is widely regarded as the best of the best of Alaska fishing. And that’s saying a lot.
Back at the lodge, Nicki opted for a post-fishing workout massage before dinner. She never needed one of those after catching walleye back in South Dakota! I will always remember her reaction to that day and her comment about Bristol Bay being incredible and needing to be protected. I had spent nearly 75% of my time during the winter months of January – March for the prior three years on the road at sport shows across the country, telling people about Bristol Bay and a looming threat on the horizon – the proposed Pebble Mine project. This was back in 2007-2009.
Fast forward nearly 10 years, and we’re gearing back up to defend Bristol Bay once again. Despite many people believing that the battle had been won, and the threat of the massive mine had disappeared, Pebble Mine is trying to rise from the grave. In late December 2017, the company actually filed a permit application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge and fill wetlands associated with their project. It is expected that the first official public comment period in this process will begin sometime this month. Sign the petition at www.protectbristolbay.us, stay informed, and stay engaged. There’s only one Bristol Bay and it’s worth fighting for.