Why risk sustainable fish runs?
Scott Rossman asked the question in last week’s CVN, “How long must we pay for the sins of our fathers?” It is a fair question. I was recently in Washington state and witnessed first-hand the uphill task of trying to bring salmon back into the rivers. In Haines, we are fortunate to have rivers teeming with wild fish. These fish provide for our subsistence, and are the basis of our fishing and tourism industries. These industries, in turn, provide a strong backbone for our local economy – the stores and shops, construction workers, even government and school employees. Without the rich environment we have, Haines would not be so attractive as a retirement and second-home destination, nor would our Canadian friends be so inclined to come down and spend their strong dollars. I think a more important question to ask is, “Why risk our sustainable, healthy fish runs for short-term gain?” Let us not be easily convinced by a smooth corporate public relations campaign for a mine that puts our healthy rivers, salmon habitat, and the unique, world-class Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve Council Grounds at risk. It would be nice if we could “have it all,” but the area is too unique, and the potential consequences too dire, to play dice with the essential basis of our lives.