Highway should value salmon
The fact that the Haines Highway Realignment Plan has been in the works for 10 years is no reason to discount that more than 200 people have affirmed they are not happy with the plan as proposed. These voices, from various sides of the political and economic spectrum, should be embraced and these people listened to. A straight highway designed for high-speed traffic is only one vision of the final design. A variety of designs should be considered. Placing the highest value on salmon, as the keystone species of our valley, makes good economic and ecological sense. You cannot design nor construct a wetland that replicates the diversity and high value of the roadside wetlands that exist today. These should be protected. Rather than question that the National Audubon Society has an interest in our valley, we should be proud that we have a world-class bald eagle preserve that merits national and international attention. After all, it was the studies funded by the Audubon Society that led to the creation of the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve in 1982. Their efforts, combined with voices from local, state and other national groups, helped protect this critical area from potentially damaging mining and logging development. Our economy is changing and we should recognize and carefully consider which design options maximize our chance for a sustainable future.