My grandfather worked in one of many big mines upstream of the lake where I swam as a kid. He dreamed about the riches we’d have if his mine got back into production. My family never got rich, but that lake got heavy metal runoff; enough to poison the drinking water, the fish, and the kids swimming in it. It’s now a massive, toxic Superfund site. Meanwhile, in the Chilkat, we have a river that will continue to feed us if we keep its waters clean. We have a diverse economy that’s not dependent on the whims of global metals markets or foreign corporations. When we can feed ourselves from the land, we are free— in a way that people down south can only dream of. A sulfide mine in the Chilkat watershed would risk our health, our freedom, and our way of life.

I just read The Social Costs of Mining on Rural Communities. It presented a well-researched look at the reasons why so many mining towns decline in so many ways. With permission, I posted the report on LCC’s website to make it easier for community members to see for themselves what the report does, and does not, say. There is a copy in the Haines Library as well. I think it’s important that each of us does our best to become informed and involved, and to help shape the future we want for our grandchildren. If we don’t, outside forces will.

Jessica Plachta

Executive Director

Lynn Canal Conservation