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Salmon initiative protects fish for Alaska families

  • Author: Delores Larson
    | Opinion
    , Iris Nash
    | Opinion
    , Melissa Norris
    | Opinion
  • Updated: October 5, 2018
  • Published October 5, 2018

Commercially harvested sockeye salmon, Kenai Peninsula (iStock / Getty Images)

Dear fellow Alaska moms (dads too),
We know you are beyond busy raising the next generation of Alaskans, but if you care about our state's future, we need five minutes of your time to clear something up.

Most of us live in Alaska because we couldn't imagine raising our families anywhere else. Here, we have tight-knit communities, wild water and landscapes to explore, as well as seemingly endless fish and game to fill our freezers with healthy, fresh, local food.

This unique way of life is unparalleled and worth so much more than its face value. Ask the grandmother who teaches her granddaughter how to cut fish; ask the family who spends weekends fishing or hunting and playing on beaches and gravel bars; ask the mom who is worried about putting good, nutritious food on her kid's plate without spending an exorbitant amount of money. Alaska's wild places recharge our too-busy souls, give a good excuse for our families to unplug and spend time together, and create memories that are fondly looked upon dozens of years down the road.

In November, Alaska families will be asked to vote on a ballot measure that, if passed, could make sure these things so many of us hold dear, so many of the things we want to pass on to our kids, are preserved.

Behind the initiative are dozens of Alaskans and families that want to make sure the Alaska way of life we all enjoy today will continue to be around for future generations. The initiative was born out of concerns that Alaskans were not being given an opportunity for meaningful input on projects proposed in their communities that could have an impact on salmon — and hence their way of life. The initiative responds to experiences people have had, of mega-projects being evaluated on politics vs. science or public opinion — a process driven by entities that don't have the best interests of Alaskans in mind.

As moms, we understand that finding the time to track and find the facts on all the issues our state and nation, and especially our kids, are facing is no easy task. It's even more difficult when you are bombarded by ads from corporations that don't necessarily have your best interests or those of your kids in mind.

We've taken the time to understand this initiative. Because of the importance to our children and the impact it has on our ability to hand down the Alaska we know and love to the next generation, we want to make sure this is on your radar and urge you to vote yes on Ballot Measure 1 in November.

This ballot measure protects essential salmon habitat and the thousands of Alaska jobs that depend on it. If passed it allows for development such as roads, airstrips and pipelines but grounds decisions in science, not politics and influence. It gives everyday Alaskans more of a say in how and when the decisions about projects in their communities and on their home rivers move forward.

So, if you want a future filled with sustainable, steady jobs, join with other Alaskans to support this ballot measure. If you want a future in which Alaskans, not giant corporations, are making decisions on what is in the best interest of our state and families, tell your fellow moms about this important decision facing Alaskans in November. If you want wild, fish-filled rivers around for your family to use and enjoy for generations to come, vote yes on Ballot Measure 1. Show your support between now and Nov. 6 by sharing your family fishing pictures and tagging #akfishingfamily and #VoteYeson1.

Delores Larson is the Community Engagement Director for United Tribes of Bristol Bay. She was born in Dillingham and raised in the Native Village of Koliganek. Delores is a mother and provider of three children and a lifelong subsistence user.

Iris Nash and husband Chris Nash, with their kids Yakobi and Espen, power troll commercially for king and coho salmon out of Sitka. 

Melissa Norris is publisher of Fish Alaska and Hunt Alaska magazines. She has lived in the Anchorage area and fished all over Alaska for more than 20 years with her husband, Wayne. Their 4-year-old daughter, Maizie, loves growing up in Alaska and fishing with her mom and dad.

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