Southeast Alaska - The Ultimate
By Susan Walsh
January 04, 2006
I have lived in southeast Alaska since 1977 and have come to
value the unique way of life it provides-fishing and crabbing;
watching bald eagles, ravens, bears, and other wildlife; and
getting in my boat, turning the corner and being in a wild place.
There is no place like southeast Alaska left in the world.
If one was to follow the law of supply and demand i.e., if demand
is up and supply down then the price rises and vice versa. Alaska
has been heralded as the Last Frontier. As citizens we should
do everything we can to maintain this feature. The recent McDowell
group study cited revenues of $152 million dollars with 1,500
jobs generated by tourism. We face a challenge to retain a high
quality of life in the face of mounting pressures for growth,
homogeneity and change. Without well-designed and publicly supported
strategies to preserve our unique character and surroundings
Ketchikan is at risk of undermining the very assets responsible
for future potential.
Think of the sight our visitors
encounter before embarking on their land journeySnow capped Deer
Mountain; numerous houses nestled on the hillside, the totems
at Totem Bight and the lush greenery of the adjacent forests
here on Revillagigedo, Pennock, Gravina and the Cleveland Peninsula.
Once on shore they partake in our unique cultural opportunities
Ketchikan is in an enviable position, strategically located as
the Gateway Community to Alaska and adjacent to the Misty Fjords
I am the first to admit that
I'm not an economist but I contend that Gravina and the Cleveland
Peninsula are much more valuable to our local economy if left
intact. I can think of nowhere else in the world where there
is an island community with the infrastructure to serve long
range visitors adjacent to a relatively pristine undeveloped
island or in the case of the Cleveland a relatively quick boat/plane
ride to a expansive wilderness region-How many locals have had
the pleasure of the Helm Bay cabins or traipsing the beaches
in Smuggler's Cove?
Twelve years ago:
1. Americans spent $18 billion
a year to watch wildlife, triple what they spent on movies or
sporting events. Bird-watchers alone spent $5.2 billion according
to studies by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
2. According to a 1994 Roper
Survey on Outdoor Recreation, fishing is the favorite recreational
activity of American men. In 1991 anglers spent $24 billion,
an average of $674 each. These statistics give rise to images
of trails to lakes on Gravina in order to fly-fish, or authentic
views of our community as visitors stay in local B&B's or
shop in the grocery stores prior to embarking on a hut to hut
A 1993 Bank of America survey
concluded that public policies that protect a community's environment
and quality of life help to sustain long-term economic growth.
The Forest Service is proposing the beginnings of a huge footprint
into the Cleveland, the first in an extensive road network. The
Emerald Bay sale is projected to provide about 12-16 mmbf of
timber with a large percentage of the yellow cedar slated for
export. Estimates for road building in order to liquidate public
timber resources is about $1.5-3million dollars of taxpayer money.
Clearcuts have not been marketable nor do they just grow back
any time soon as evidenced by the local travesty seen on Slide
ridge. No, we can't see the Emerald Bay sale from Ketchikan,
but we can't see the Misty Fjords either. I would urge the Forest
Service to focus on sustainable recreational opportunities for
our locals as well as visitors.
Southeast Alaska - The Ultimate Travel Destination
"Nowhere else on earth
is there such an abundance and magnificence of mountain, fjord,
and glacier scenery... the Alaska coast is to become the show-place
of the earth, and pilgrims, not only from the United States,
but from far beyond the seas, will throng in endless procession
to see it. Its grandeur is more valuable than the gold or the
fish or the timber, for it will never be exhausted."
-- Henry Gannett, Chief Geographer, Alaska-Harriman Expedition,
Unfortunately Mr. Gannett didn't foresee the large-scale destruction
our modern age has afforded us. Mistakes have been made, but
let us not continue to repeat them. Every successful business,
organization, or individual has a plan for the future and our
community should be no different. I would like to see a healthy
economy based upon retention of the natural surroundings and
Ketchikan, AK - USA
About: Resident of Southeast
Alaska since 1977 and a longtime resident of Ketchikan.
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