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Public Meeting Discusses Roadless Rule In National Forests

 

The following press release is courtesy of Washington Wild: 

SEATTLE –Today, Washington Wild and a host of conservation and recreation organizations joined Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) to hold a community public meeting at the Seattle REI flagship store to offer local stakeholders an opportunity weigh in on old-growth protections on our national forests.

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Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, dozens of organizations, businesses and many individuals urged U.S. Forest Service to protect the Tongass National Forest. (PHOTO COURTESY OF WA WILD)

The sentiment from the crowd was palpable: Protect the largest roadless area in the country. A group of 100, including 32 who gave public testimony, voiced support for a rule that protects a third of the country’s national forests from logging and road-building. The Roadless Rule protects nearly two million acres in Washington State, including places like Liberty Bell in eastern Washington, Olympic Peninsula’s South Quinault Ridge and South Cascades’ Dark Divide. 

Last month, the Trump Administration announced a controversial proposal to eliminate long standing protections for unlogged old-growth forests within Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. The ancient forests are part of the last remaining intact temperate rainforest on the planet and are champions of absorbing harmful greenhouse gasses out of the atmosphere.

“The Trump Administration is moving forward with an extreme proposal to eliminate hard-fought and long-lived roadless forest protections without any public meetings outside Washington D.C. and Alaska,” said Tom Uniack, Executive Director of Washington Wild. “This public meeting in Seattle was an opportunity to highlight diverse voices in support of roadless areas in Alaska and around the country.”

The roadless rule is a regulation established in 2001 and which protects more than 58 million acres of national forests from threats like logging, road building, and mining. The U.S. Forest Service published a draft environmental assessment that indicated its preference is for the most extreme of six options – a full elimination of roadless areas protections. The public has until Dec. 16 to weigh in on the proposal.

“Hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians throughout the state rely on roadless areas for clean drinking water and irreplaceable opportunities for outdoor recreation,” said Senator Cantwell, who spoke at the Seattle public meeting in support of roadless area protections. “We need the Roadless Rule to permanently safeguard our remaining undeveloped forest lands as the foundation of our outdoor recreation economy, a home for wildlife, and a heritage for future generations.”

Local businesses like Fremont Brewing to outdoor industry leaders like Patagonia to other stakeholders like conservation and recreation groups and commercial fishermen voiced their opinions Saturday.

“As second-generation salmon fishermen, raised from childhood in Southeast Alaska, these waters, among these trees. is our home for four months of the year, as we troll our hooks through the deep, rich waters of the North Pacific,” said Tele Aadsen & Joel Brady-Power, co-owners of the F/V Nerka & Nerka Sea Frozen Salmon who testified at the Seattle meeting. “The rest of the year we make our home in Bellingham, self-marketing our catch to wild salmon-lovers in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the U.S. Like all Southeast Alaskans, our lives are inextricably bound to the Tongass.”

While Alaska is the current target, there can be little doubt that other western states, including Washington, will be next. Here in Washington State we have just over 2 million acres of Roadless Areas. They are a critical part of the quality of life we have come to expect. Roadless forests provide much of our clean and safe drinking water, protect fish and wildlife, and provide amazing back country recreation experiences.

“The areas of our national forests without roads are often some of the best habitat for fish and wildlife,” said John McGlenn, President of Washington Wildlife Federation which represents hunters and anglers around the state. “These refuges are critical to ensuring that we are able to pass on this legacy to future generations.”

The Tongass National Forest is the same distance from Washington State as Boise ID. On Alaska Airlines alone, there are 24 daily nonstop flights between Seattle and the southeast Alaska communities of Sitka, Ketchikan and Juneau. Additionally, five major cruise lines, offer 80 cruises departing from Seattle to the inside passage, the Tongass National Forest, and Glacier Bay National Park each summer. A significant number of commercial fishing permits held in Southeast and offshore waters in Alaska are held by fisherman with home ports in Seattle’s Fisherman’s Terminal or Westport.

Washington’s roadless forests also provide popular recreational activities like hiking, climbing, paddling, hunting, fishing, camping, skiing, horseback riding and mountain biking that add to the unique quality of life we all enjoy here in the Washington State.  These incredible landscapes also inspire homegrown companies like REI, Filson and the many other local businesses that provide recreation gear and outdoor recreation opportunities.

“These wild places are the lifeblood of our local economy,” said Lance Reif, owner of Wildwater River Guides in Leavenworth, WA. “Roadless areas provide the reasons why so many of us choose to live work and play here in the Evergreen State.”

Over the last year, the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest has already greenlighted two projects that allow new road building in inventoried roadless areas, the Olivine Mine and Excelsior Mine Expansions. Continuing to allow roadbuilding in roadless areas and allowing statewide exemptions sets a dangerous precedent for the future management of the Forest and in Roadless Areas. This puts clean water, backcountry recreation, ancient forests and wildlife habitat at risk.

In 2018, more than 30 Washington breweries, all members of the Washington Brewshed® Alliance, joined more than 150 conservation, recreation, wildlife and hunting and fishing organizations as well as faith leaders, local businesses and elected officials from Washington State in support of retaining existing protections for roadless areas.

“Roadless areas protect the headwaters and the source of clean quality water for fish, wildlife, residents and better tasting beer,” said Jack Lamb, owner of Aslan Brewing in Bellingham and member of Washington Wild’s Brewshed® Alliance.

Background:

In 2001 Washington Wild led statewide efforts to establish the National Forest Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Nearly 350 conservation and recreation groups, elected officials, local businesses, and faith leaders formally supported the nearly two million acres of roadless forests in Washington State. The Forest Service held more than 600 public meetings nationwide, including 28 throughout Washington State. More than 1.6 million Americans submitted comments, including more than 80,000 comments from Washington State citizens during the draft rule comment period. More than 95% of comments submitted were in support of protecting roadless areas.

The Roadless Area Conservation Rule is a popular and balanced policy that protects nearly 60 million acres of undeveloped national forests from road-building and other industrial activity. It was developed over two years and issued by the Clinton Administration in early 2001.

Roadless areas are important because:

 

  • Sixty million Americans rely on clean and safe drinking water from National Forests. Roadless areas provide the purest source of water due to their pristine and road-free condition. In the Northwest Forest Service Region, which includes Washington and Oregon, drinking water on National Forest land is worth approximately $941 million annually, which is more than any other region or state in the country except California.
  • Outdoor recreation has become more and more popular over time as Americans participate in everything from hiking and camping, to hunting and fishing in Roadless areas. Each year the outdoor industry generates 26.2 billion in consumer spending and 200,000 direct jobs to the Washington State economy.
  • A majority of the unspoiled habitat for hundreds of threatened, endangered, and declining species is found in Roadless areas. In Washington, 25 at-risk species, including bald eagles, steelhead and bull trout, and Chinook salmon are found in National Forests and could be harmed by the building of new roads and the ensuing destruction of Roadless areas.
  • Roadless protections also make good economic sense by saving taxpayers’ dollars on the cost of adding subsidized logging roads to the existing network of nearly 375,000 miles of national forest roads, which have an unfunded maintenance backlog of nearly $8 billion.

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Uniack

Executive Director

Washington Wild

206-633-1992

tom@wawild.org

Help Keep Washington Green by Supporting Washington Wild 

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ADFG Hosting Ice Fishing Celebration On Nov. 30

The following press release is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) will host a family ice fishing event on Saturday, November 30, 2019, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, at Cushman Lake in the Tanana Lakes Recreation Area. Just drive to the small boat launch parking lot and you will be greeted by ADF&G staff. The event will be cancelled if temperatures at the airport are minus 10? or below.

This event is free to the public. Families or individuals who have never tried ice fishing before, or who lack the necessary equipment are encouraged to come out and give it a try. Youth must be accompanied by an adult. ADF&G staff will drill holes through the ice and will be present to offer guidance and fishing tips. There will be ice fishing rods with tackle available for check out, on a first come first served basis. Bait will also be available while supplies last. If you have your own fishing equipment and/or bait, please feel free to bring it.

Remember, a current Alaska sport fishing license is required for Alaska residents 18 years and older and for nonresidents 16 years and older. They can be purchased online at: https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/Store/

For additional information contact Nancy Sisinyak, Sport Fish Information Officer at 907-459-7346, nancy.sisinyak@alaska.gov

ADFG Releases 2020 Southeast Pink Salmon Forecast

Female pink salmon photo by Katrina Mueller/USFWS

Alaska Department of Fish and Game released its 2020 Southeast Alaska pink salmon forecast earlier this weer. Here are some of the highlights:

The 2020 harvest forecast of 12 million pink salmon is approximately one third of the recent 10-year average harvest of 35
million pink salmon. A harvest near this forecast would also be approximately 60% of the average even-year harvest since
2006. The 2019 peak June–July juvenile pink salmon index value (1.20) ranked 21st out of the 23 years that SECM
information has been collected. Pink salmon harvests associated with juvenile indices below a value of 2.0 have ranged
from 8 to 37 million fish (mean=21 million fish).

The low juvenile abundance index in 2019 was not unexpected. Pink salmon escapements in the parent year (2018) were
very poor throughout northern Southeast Alaska inside waters and the escapement goal was not met in that subregion, which
may have resulted in below optimal egg deposition. Escapement and harvest of pink salmon in the Northern Southeast Inside
subregion have been very poor since 2012 and the 2020 forecast indicates this pattern is likely to continue.

Pink salmon escapement goals for the Southern Southeast and Northern Southeast Outside subregions were met in 2018, but harvests
were well below average. The low juvenile abundance index in 2019 may also indicate that brood year 2018 pink salmon
experienced poor freshwater and/or early marine survival.

It is possible that drought conditions present in Southeast Alaska
from the parent year 2018 spawn through the spring of 2019 reduced spawning success or negatively impacted overwinter
survival of developing juvenile salmon, but the exact reasons for the low juvenile abundance are not known. Juvenile pink
salmon caught in the 2019 SECM survey trawls, however, were among the largest (in length) in the 23-year time series
(Figure 3) and were in good condition, which indicates favorable nearshore marine conditions in the spring. The size of
juvenile pink salmon was similar to the large size of juveniles observed during the marine heat wave of 2014–2016 (Figure
3) and returns from those juvenile years were all below average.

Like many recent years, a potential source of uncertainty regarding the 2020 pink salmon return is the anomalously warm
sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska in 2019. Warm temperatures that persisted throughout the Gulf of Alaska
from fall 2013 through much of 2016 (Bond et al. 2015; Di Lorenzo and Mantua 2016; Walsh et al. 2018) returned in 2018
and strengthened in 2019. Compared to sea surface temperatures since 1997, when NOAA first started the SECM project,
surface temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska in 2019, immediately offshore of Southeast Alaska, were the warmest of the time
series in July, the 4th warmest in August, and 3rd warmest in September 

Sea surface temperatures were well above average
across the entire Gulf of Alaska during that time. Pink salmon that went to sea from 2014 to 2018 returned in numbers
below expectation and below recent odd- and even-year averages. The impact of warm sea surface temperatures on the
survival of pink salmon that went to sea in 2019 is unknown and adds uncertainty to the forecast.

2020 Dates Available To Fish With Angler’s Alibi

The following is courtesy of Angler’s Alibi:

2019 in Review and Looking to 2020

I hope everyone is preparing for the Holiday season and looking forward to catching up with friends and family.  We at Anglers’s Alibi had another season filled with incredible fishing and memories – make sure to click below to read our 2019 season summary!  Also, Anglers Alibi is 92% booked for the 2020 Alaska fishing season and I want to make sure you, our fishing friends, know about the remaining options available before I start booking at the upcoming sporting event shows. – you’ll see we have some prime fishing spots still available below, so contact us to learn more.

Read the Full 2019 Season Review Here
and contact us with questions or to check availability
     
great pics of great Alaska fishing (see more pictures here)

2020 Dates That Are Still Available:
July 6 – 13, Week 2: 

Kings, sockeye, and start of the chum run (often the peak king week of the season) – 5 spots available

July 20 – 27, Week 4:
Just 2 Spots for Kings, sockeye, chum and pink salmon,

August 31 – September 7:
Silvers, pinks and chums, peak time for fishing for trophy trout, 6 spots left

In addition to these few spots, we have some spots for season 2 of the Nushagak River camp…with prime peak king fishing.  We have space from June 18 – July 4th if anyone is interested in 5 great days of fishing specifically for king salmon.  This river boasts the largest king run in the world and is something that should be on every bucket list for king salmon fishing.

2020 Booking Open:

FISH THE ‘NUSH FOR KINGS!
The Nushagak River offers access to early season King Salmon and the inaugural trip was solid in 2019 (read more here)
ASK ABOUT SAVING $200!
Contact Us Here to Learn More 

Full 2020 Fishing Calendar!
Get a Spot While You Can…
The camp is filling up quick for 2020, but contact us about any open spots this year or to plan for 2021
Contact Anglers Alibi
Read About Where You’ll Fish
Check our 2020 Season Calenda

Wolverine On A Bender In Anchorage Area

Wolverines have always fascinated me – whether it’s the University of Michigan athletics teams – I’m not a big fan of them but they usually provide interesting storylines – or that awesome WOLVERINES!!!! chant in the movie Red Dawn.

 

The real-life wplverine seems like something of a mythical creature. Wolverines are known to be fierce predators but they aren’t easy to find in the wild. Check out how badass these critters can be when spotted doing their thing.

That brings us to some intriguing news out out of Anchorage. A wolverine appears to be running amok around the city.  Here’s the Anchorage Daily News with more: 

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Wednesday issued a first-ever wildlife advisory about not bear or moose but wolverine to people living in neighborhoods adjacent to Elmore Road, primarily from O’Malley to Dowling roads.

The wolverine has killed chickens and rabbits, according to a notice a state biologist posted Tuesday on the Nextdoor site, a private social network for residents of specific areas. The state recently began partnering with the network to issue wildlife alerts.

The animal was also caught attacking a big, long-haired black cat named Lenny around 2 a.m. Sunday. The cat survived without a scratch but was covered in leaves and slobber, his owner said.

Brown Bear Shot Dead After Breaking Into Eagle River Chicken Coop

Here’s a little more on the story, courtesy of KTUU:

“Most of our black bears go into their den in October, but we commonly have at least some brown bears out in November,” he said.

The bigger issue than a late winter, says Battle, is residents not securing livestock with proper gear. He said there’s an easy way to avoid attacks on livestock.

10 Percent Increase In Alaska’s 2019 Commercial Salmon Harvest

The following is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

Juneau) — The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) has published preliminary harvest and value figures for the 2019 Alaska Commercial Salmon Fishery (PDF 131 kB).

The 2019 commercial salmon fishery all species harvest was approximately 206.9 million fish with an estimated preliminary ex-vessel value of approximately $657.6 million, a 10% increase from 2018’s value of $595.2 million.

Sockeye salmon accounted for approximately 64% of the total value at $421.1 million and 27% of the harvest at 55.2 million fish. Pink salmon were the second most valuable species representing 20% of the total ex-vessel value at $128.6 million, and 62% of the harvest at 129.1 million fish. Chum salmon accounted for 10% of the value at $63.8 million and 9% of the harvest at 18.5 million fish. Coho salmon contributed approximately 5% of the value at $29.6 million and 2% of the harvest at 3.8 million fish. Chinook salmon harvest was estimated to be just under 0.3 million fish with an estimated preliminary ex-vessel value of $14.4 million.

In terms of pounds of fish, the all species salmon harvest of 872.1 million pounds ranks 8th in the 1975-2018 time series, with chum salmon harvest ranking 16th, sockeye salmon harvest ranking 10th, pink salmon harvest ranking 9th, and coho salmon harvest ranking 33rd. The 2019 values for Chinook salmon were the third lowest on record since limited entry began in 1975.

These are preliminary harvest and value estimates which will change as fish tickets are processed and finalized. Dollar values provided by ADF&G are based on estimated ex-vessel prices and do not include post-season price adjustments. Final value of the 2019 salmon fishery will be determined in 2020 after seafood processors, buyers, and direct marketers report total value paid to fishermen in 2019.

Washington Post On Supreme Court-Winning Alaska Hunter

 

John Sturgeon, an Alaska hunter, made national news when he took his fight to use a hovercraft to hunt on public land. His case went all the way to the Supreme Court, a playing field that he won on. But as this week’s Washington Post lengthy profile explains, it was an expensive but satisfying victory that got a lot of attention and support for Sturgeon from some heavy hitters:

Why a warning? Because Sturgeon’s 12-year, only-in-Alaska battle to travel on a forbidden hovercraft through national parkland to his favorite hunting spot cost well north of $1.5 million.

“I had no idea how much it was going to cost, but you start down this slide and there’s no stopping it,” Sturgeon said. “Not many people could do what I did, because they don’t have the financial resources, which I don’t either. But I did have a cause that really ignited people.”… 

Among his donors: the Alaska Wildlife and Conservation Fund, the National Rifle Association, the Alaska Conservative Trust, national and international hunting groups, hundreds of ordinary Alaskans and one very wealthy one.

Edward Rasmuson read about Sturgeon’s case, called him up and found him sincere, and then offered to help pay the legal bill. “I maybe gave $250,000 to $300,000 to $400,000 – hell, I don’t know,” Rasmuson said in an interview. “But I’m fortunate. I’m wealthy, I can afford it.”

The story is a long one, but it’s definitely a fascinating read.

 

 

Report: ADFG Killed Fewer Anchorage-Area Bears In 2019

KTUU has some details on ADFG’s report about having to eliminate dangerous bears in urban settings:

According to new reports from Fish & Game, this past summer, only six bears had to be killed in Anchorage city limits. That’s a stark difference from 2018, when 42 had to be put down.

Cory Stantorf is the assistant area wildlife biologist for region 14-C for Fish & Game in Anchorage. He said he and other wildlife biologists do not have the perfect explanation for this change. However, he said they have a few ideas.

“It’s a combination of us having a good spring, so the green-up came early,” he said, “Over the last two years we’ve euthanized quite a few bears that have conflicted with humans so some of our conflict bears have been removed from the population.”

Hiker Reaches Help After Being Bitten By Bear

From the Anchorage Daily News:  A hiker made it to a cabin to report that a bear attacked and bit him on the Chilkoot Trail in Southeast Alaska. Here’s thd ADN with more information:  

Rescuers found the hiker at the Canyon City ranger cabin — nearly 8 miles from the start of the Chilkoot Trail in Dyea, outside Skagway — at around 9 a.m, the park service said. The hiker told rescue personnel they were bitten by a “brown bear” in the lower leg early Tuesday evening along the trail and were able to walk to a ranger cabin to call for help.