Letters to the editor: Vote Yes on Prop 1 and make history

Make History

Scotland, England, Norway, Japan, Quebec, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Maine, New York, Massachusetts, California, Oregon, Washington… all used to have wild salmon runs. It’s a fact that the single largest cause of lost salmon runs is ruining the upstream habitat. Salmon were lost because logging brought erosion, hydroelectric dams blocked fish passage, farming siphoned water for irrigation and mining polluted watersheds.

Some Alaskans believe our salmon are still around because of ADF&G management and our existing regulations. Let’s face it, we have good habitat because there are less than a million people in our state and there hasn’t been a lot of competition from other industries and development yet. This is why the vast majority of our salmon habitats have remained pristine and healthy.

The hard truth is we are not doing anything different than Europe, the Atlantic or the Pacific coasts. We are developing Alaska just as they developed their regions, and like them, we are losing salmon along the way. Resource extraction is what Alaska is all about! We grab each boom as quickly as it becomes a moneymaker. The only way we’ll hang onto salmon is to slide them up higher on the resource priority list, provide more protections and be willing to make hard choices. History and life prove we can’t have it all.

And how will Alaskans know we are actually doing things different than the ‘lands of lost salmon’? When our decisions seem a bit radical. When it feels like a new direction. When priorities are not just monetary. When big business balks.

Vote Yes on Prop 1 and make history.

— Catie Bursch, Homer

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