In Alaska's Bristol Bay, wild salmon are a way of life. But a massive proposed mine threatens these fish and the people who depend on them.
“What do we do without fish?” asks June Tracey, a resident of Nondalton, Alaska, in a new video by the Story Group.
Tracey’s question is not just philosophical. Her community is closest to the site where companies are intent on building the largest open-pit copper and gold mine in North America. If developed, the proposed Pebble Mine could spur development of a massive, industrial mining district that would threaten the region’s clean waters and fishing traditions passed down to June from her ancestors.
In Alaska’s Bristol Bay, wild salmon are a way of life. They feed generations of families and help drive a renewable economy worth $480 million each year. Traditional “fish camps” near the village of Nondalton are the salmon’s final migratory hurdle before they reach spawning grounds inside Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. Protecting a portion of Bristol Bay’s habitat, our national park helps support the fishery at the heart of Bristol Bay’s families, jobs, and economy: historically, culturally, and today. In fact, protecting a portion of the Bristol Bay watershed for the perpetuation of the sockeye salmon fishery was one of the primary purposes stated in Lake Clark’s enabling legislation. It’s that important.
Watch the video “Putting Up The Fish: A Salmon Tradition At Risk” to see June working at her fish camp and sharing her perspective on how Bristol Bay’s indigenous people rely on clean water and wild salmon:
NPCA remains committed to protecting Bristol Bay and the critical salmon habitat in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.
In response to concerns from local Alaska Native tribes and stakeholders, including more than 31,000 NPCA supporters, the EPA is now using its Clean Water Act authority to study the serious potential impacts mining could have in the headwaters of Bristol Bay, on lands adjacent to Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. The agency is accepting comments until June 3 and NPCA is urging its supporters to speak up for our national treasures: the wild salmon stronghold of Bristol Bay and Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.
About the author
M. Blair Former Associate Director