Driving north on interstate 25 between Denver and Fort Collins, it is hard to miss the suburban sprawl that has exploded in the last 10 years. Strip malls, housing developments, fast food restaurants, and Starbucks’s hug the highway in a perverted exploitation of water and land. But in a time where more and bigger is better, we simply call this type of development “progress”. Maybe it is, but I’m not one that has ever been motivated by such things.
There was a time in our country’s history when we pushed west in discovery of the unknown. Leaving our homes east of the Mississippi for this “Manifest Destiny”, to claim what was rightfully ours. Taking from some, propelling the fate of others into the unknown as we nailed stakes into the ground to build an empire like no other. This was all done in the name of progress, never wavering in scope, we pushed hard.
It is this push for progress that has defined us as a people. We became connected through railways, roads, and commerce. We fought to make our mark, and successful we were. The ideals of the “American Dream” drove this explosion, the world was at our fingertips, we just had to reach out and grab it.
There was also a time in our country’s history where we chose to protect certain lands from being exploited. National Parks were created and deemed too beautiful to “develop”. We understood the value of shared ownership, and that the people whom pay their taxes deserved to share in the spoils of such beauty. I am reminded of that every time I string a fly rod in search of healthy trout in Rocky Mountain National Park. These are my fish.
As the proposed Pebble Mine and the fate of Bristol Bay hang in the balance, so too does the very existence of a species, a livelihood for many, and a culture. The salmon of Bristol Bay interconnect the region as they have for generations. They provide a livelihood for many, sport for some, and life to a pristine part of the world. They are under attack (as a friend wrote), and need someone to stand up and fight for them.
The potential mine waste from this operation is not worth the consequences. The devastation of such action, would not only be reckless, it would be regrettable. There is no need to cut our nose to spite our face. Asking a species, community, and industry for forgiveness later is not an option, as we still have the opportunity to do what’s right. Foreign investment or domestic, it doesn’t matter. The end result is the same; No Salmon, Loss of Jobs, and the fleecing of a culture.
Do what’s right…Don’t sell out…Please help save Bristol Bay.