All posts by Chris Cocoles

Government shutdown affects Alaska outdoors agencies

By Chris Cocoles on Oct. 2, 2013

It’s now day two of the shutting down of the federal government here in the good ole U.S.A. And I don’t know what to make of this mess right now, and frankly, you probably wouldn’t care what I think anyway! And I’m too embarrassed to even want to rip on both Republicans and Democrats for failing us right now.

But this is an outdoors blog, so here’s a story about how Alaska’s government agencies involving the state’s critical natural resources are handling the national crisis.

A couple of highlights (lowlights?) from the report:

The National Park Service closed up shop in Fairbanks and Denali Park for the most part on Tuesday, as did the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. There were a handful of “essential” employees at each agency still on the job to make sure buildings don’t freeze up and to respond in the event of any emergencies on federal lands.

Managers at all 14 national wildlife refuges in Alaska, including four in Fairbanks, remained on the job Monday but most other refuge workers stayed home.

Visitors to web sites for the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were either re-routed or directed to the Department of the Interior web site where they could read a message from President Barrack Obama regarding the government shutdown. All social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook were also shut down on Monday.

In other words, or in this instance, one word: CHAOS!

 

 

Getting scientific in Alaska

Jamal Moss wants to do an in-depth study of the Gulf of Alaska’s fisheries. Here is a report on Moss’ quest.

From the story:

One of the goals of the project is to gather information so that fisheries managers can “begin to ask the right questions for what it is we’re seeking to monitor,” Moss said.

As an example, Moss pointed to a study of pollock in the Bering Sea. Prior to the study, Moss said, body size was thought to be the key indicator of winter survival for pollock, but after information was analyzed it was revealed that body fat was a better indicator in determining the survival rate of young fish.

“The area off the coast of the Southeast Alaska archipelago hasn’t been studied before,” Moss said.

Good luck to Moss and the others on this project.  I am fascinated at how ecosystems are affected by both easy to identify but also subtle changes or variables that are only recognized by experts in their field of study.

 

 

 

 

 

Firearms Industry Showcase: Cowboy Mounted Shooting TM Association (CMSA)

CMSAThe Cowboy Mounted Shooting TM Association (CMSA) is one of the fastest growing equestrian sports organizations in the nation. Mounted contestants compete in this fast-action timed event using two .45 caliber single-action revolvers each loaded with five rounds of specially prepared blank ammunition. The family-friendly CMSA offers multiple levels of competition for men, women and children, from the novice to the seasoned professional.

CMSA-lonestarclassic2012 Laura WilsonOrganized in 1994, the CMSA now boasts over 102 local clubs in four nations, representing over 13,000 members. It sanctions over 500 events a year, including seven events at its highest level, the Championship Series, and pays out over $700,000 in prize money annually.

For more information about the CMSA, visit cmsaevents.com, or follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Cowboymountedshootingassociation.  To subscribe or advertise in the official CMSA magazine, THE RUNDOWN, contact our office at 888-960-0003.

ACE Air and ACE Air Cargo news

Flying to 18 different communities daily takes commitment, and that’s what we have at ACE Air Cargo. We started out as an all-cargo airline and have been crisscrossing Alaska since 1996, delivering your mail and freight from Ketchikan to St. Paul Island to Bethel. People have come to rely upon ACE Air and ACE Air Cargo to get the job done.
And as of Feb 6, 2012, we began offering scheduled passenger service to Dutch Harbor. We are very excited about this and want you to join us on our next scheduled flight. You can check us out at www.aceaircargo.com. For all your cargo, passenger charters or our new scheduled passenger service, ACE Air and ACE Air Cargo is truly your one-stop shop in Alaska. We want your business and will work hard to keep it.

 

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Fun story on Alaska adventure

I always enjoy reading stories like this when folks are able to do something special like these three buddies who stumbled on an Alaska guide at an outdoors show in upstate New York. And that eventually leads them to a trip of a lifetime, catching big kings  and swapping stories in camp.

Enjoy.

Looking for Alaska bucket list ideas like this one? We’ve got plenty in every edition of Alaska Sporting Journal. In the coming soon November issue, we’ll talk kayak fishing in Cochrane Bay, a Prince of Wales Island deer hunt, upland bird hunts on the Kenai Peninsula, and ice fishing for sheefish, plus a lot more.

Subscribe to Alaska Sporting Journal today.

 

Staggering numbers on Alaskan seafood industry

Just how important is Alaska’s seafood industry to the state?

Check out this story.

Some highlights:

A report released Aug. 28 by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, and prepared by the McDowell Group, Inc., really gets to the bottom line on “The Economic Value of the Alaska Seafood Industry” with some surprising facts based on data from 2011:

• Total direct economic impact for Alaska is $6.7 billion

• Total direct and indirect (multiplier effects) economic value on U.S. economy is $15.7 billion

• Seafood industry is largest private sector employer in the State of Alaska

• Produces $4.6 billion worth of wild, sustainable seafood annually

And you wonder why the Pebble Mine Project gets responses like this one!

Subscribe to Alaska Sporting Journal today.

More on Pebble Mine news

Here is a statement and a press release from Director Tim Bristol of Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Program regarding today’s breaking news on the Pebble Mine project. One of the mining partners on the project, Anglo American, has decided to back off its partnership with Northern Dynasty Minerals on the controversial plan to mine the Bristol Bay area, home to the largest salmon fishery in the United States.

For those interested in adding to the discussion, log onto this Facebook page.

This is Bristol’s statement on the company’s decision to leave the project:

  “I can’t think of a development project in the state’s history that has faced such wide and deep opposition from the citizens of Alaska, and so it’s no surprise that Anglo American announced its withdrawal from the Pebble project after 84% of Alaskans who commented to the EPA supported action to protect Bristol Bay. Bristol Bay is one of the greatest sport and commercial fishing habitats on the planet, and the EPA should act now to protect it and the more than 14,000 jobs it supports.”

And here is Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Program press release, which includes the above statement:

Final Comment Numbers on the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment Show Clear Support for Protecting Bristol Bay

Over 650,000 people support the EPA’s Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment; Demand protections for world-class fishery

CONTACT: Tim Bristol, Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Program Director
tbristol@tu.org; 907-321-3291 

ANCHORAGE, AK – Numbers released today show that nearly three in four Americans who commented on the EPA’s draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment supported protecting Bristol Bay, Alaska from harmful mining development in the form of the Pebble Mine. Approximately 654,000 of the over 895,000 total comments supported the EPA’s efforts to protect Bristol Bay, with numbers even higher among comments made by individuals (not mass mailed) and those coming from Alaska. The Bristol Bay region is a destination for sportsmen and anglers across the world and is known for its trophy rainbow trout, king salmon, and many other fish species.

“The American people have spoken: they simply do not want the Pebble Mine built on top of one of the world’s great sport and commercial fisheries,” said Tim Bristol, Director of Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Program. “The EPA should quickly finalize its Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment and use its Clean Water Act authority to ensure the long term protection of Bristol Bay and its fishery. The science supports it, Alaskans support it, and hunters and anglers across the lower 48 support the EPA as well.”

The comments coming specifically from Alaska were even more impressive, with nearly 5,000 people – or 84% of total comments – supportive of the EPA’s efforts to protect Bristol Bay. Those numbers were even higher in Bristol Bay, where 98% of over 1,200 comments are in favor of lasting protections for Bristol Bay. Among national individual comments, over 90% supported the EPA.

The EPA began its Watershed Assessment after 9-federally recognized tribes, commercial and sport fishermen, and others in Bristol Bay requested Clean Water Act protections from the proposed Pebble Mine. After two drafts, two rounds of public comments, and outside peer review, the EPA is preparing to finalize the Watershed Assessment later this year. In the draft assessment, the EPA determined that even without incident, a mine on the scale of Pebble could destroy up to 90 miles of salmon streams and 4,800 acres of wetland salmon spawning habitat.

For more information and breakdown on the comments, please click here.

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Trout Unlimited | 419 Sixth Street, Suite 200 | Juneau, AK 99801

 

Subscribe to Alaska Sporting Journal today!

 

Mining giant pulls out of Pebble Mine Project

Big news out of London. Anglo American mining company has backed out of its agreement with the Pebble Mine project.  The British company agreed to pay a $300 million “impairment charge” with its partner in the project, North American mining company Northern Dynasty Minerals. The joint operation was supposed to share the costs for the controversial plan that detractors say will threaten America’s largest salmon fishery at Bristol Bay.

Here’s the the statement by Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani, per the Fox News report:

“Despite our belief that Pebble is a deposit of rare magnitude and quality, we have taken the decision to withdraw following a thorough assessment of Anglo American’s extensive pipeline of long-dated project options.

“Our focus has been to prioritise capital to projects with the highest value and lowest risks within our portfolio, and reduce the capital required to sustain such projects during the pre-approval phases of development as part of a more effective, value-driven capital allocation model.”