We are at war.

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time you know that the Unaccomplished Angler doesn’t very often (if ever) take things too seriously. Whether that’s a shortcoming or not, serious just ain’t my style; not what the Unaccomplished Angler is about. But this is some serious business that deserves some serious attention.

This entry was spawned by a writing prompt at the Outdoor Blogger Network. Trout Unlimited and the Bristol Bay Road Show, are encouraging bloggers to address the following questions:  How do you feel about a foreign company potentially threatening one of our country’s greatest natural resources? Although you may never visit Bristol Bay, do you believe getting involved can make a positive impact? Other thoughts?


When a country is invaded by an enemy, that country must be able to defend itself against the marauding forces. If it cannot adequately repel the enemy, the consequences will be devastating. No war in history ever resulted favorably for those on the receiving end of the assault (just ask most of Europe after WWII). Even though the enemy was ultimately defeated, collateral damage and casualties were severe. Much was lost that could never be replaced.

Bristol Bay is under similar attack from foreign invaders. A Canadian oil mining company, if it gets its way, will create what would be the largest open pit gold mine in North America: smack dab in the headwaters of Bristol Bay. If built, the mine would produce up to 10 billion tons of toxic mine waste that would have to be treated for hundreds of years.

Bristol Bay is a long ways away.

If you’re like me, you’ve never been to Bristol Bay, or even Alaska. Tucked away in a remote part of the Last Frontier, Bristol Bay is out of sight, out of mind, right? One has to assume that’s exactly how the enemy wants/expects us to feel. Look at the map – Bristol Bay is a long way from anywhere. How can environmental destruction and devastation to the last great salmon runs in North America possibly affect us? And what about the loss of 12,000 jobs and $500 million in economic benefits that are under threat from the proposed Pebble Mine? That can’t possibly effect my quality of life, right?  Out of sight, out of mind. That’s what they want.

Although armed with impressive spawning canines, the salmon of Bristol Bay cannot defend themselves against this threat. Nor can the voters of Alaska – the people whose cultures and livelihoods depend on the salmon. We must come to their collective aid, as a band of brothers, and take a stand.

Salmon – Bristol Bay – Alaska – the United States of America – is under attack. We are at war.  How we respond will determine our future for generations to come. I’d like visit the region one day. I’d like my descendents to be able to do the same. Will we sit idly and allow the enemy to run roughshod over what is ours, or will we resist?  It’s in our nature as Americans to oppose tyranny.

Please join Trout Unlimited and Save Bristol Bay in this battle against an enemy that would invade our soil. Let us bring the fight to our enemy. Visit www.savebristolbay.org and see how you can help.

Disclaimer: Neither the UA, the USA, AK, or Bristol Bay are at war with Canada. Please be sure to read the comments from our Canadian brothers in the comments section of this blog entry. Some valid points are raised.


  1. bradley melville

    Very nice write-up.. as always-

    • Kirk Werner

      Thanks Bradley. An important message that needs to be brought to the attention of everyone. Just doing a very small part to help spread the word.

  2. Rob

    Despite your jingoistic mention that the developmentcompany may have Canadian Origins, it is actually your own Alaskan Voters that you must defeat in battle. I beleive this mine has gone to a plebecite, and You Americans must battle your own greed and short sighted nature. If it is a Canadian company this time acting as the dreaded multi national, that would be a co-incidence. We have been bought, sold, developed over and had our resources coveted by American interests since things settled down after the War of 1812. Your turn this time. Don’t go after Canada, get your Alaskans in order. Local greed= local damage.

    • Kirk Werner

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Rob. You, like fellow-Canadian Mat, raise valid points (see my reply to Mat). To say we’re at war with a foreign company makes for a better read than to continually hammer away at our elected officials, whose special-interests are more important to them than doing what is right.

  3. Rob

    BTW I do enjoy your blog, and recognize a bit of tongue in cheek here. I think the fishing makes better long term business sense for the pebble mine area. I hope the voters feel the same way. A fellow fisher from Canada. I also notice my 4 am typing can use an upgrade…

  4. the river damsel

    Excellent report, Kirk. Thanks for the reminder. A lot of people are not aware of the future problem and magnitude of this…yes, it is time to get serious!

  5. Chuck

    Make sure ya see the movie about this battle called “RED GOLD” ! It is incredible!

    • Kirk Werner

      I’m planning to see it the first chance I get!

  6. Mat Trevors

    Hi Kirk,

    First off, I will state I am 100% AGAINST the Pebble Mine project.

    BUT…I have a couple issues with your post.

    First off, the Canadian invading horde thing, as a Canadian, bothers me.

    Canada and the USA have the largest trading economy between two countries. It works both ways. We’ve been getting along quite well for the past 200 years, and Canadians spend a lot of money in the USA. The only thing Canada invades are tourist stops, with pockets full of money.

    Also, Canada typically has stringent environmental controls, and legislation is either underway or passed to ensure Canadian companies working abroad follow Canadian mining/enviro regulations OR local regulations, whichever is the stronger/tighter controls.

    The Pebble Partnership is a corporation between Northern Dynasty, a Canadian junior mining/exploration company (50% ownership) and a fully American-owned subsidiary of Anglo-American, a British company.

    Nobody is invading you. Your biggest issue are the “traitors” that roam your state & national capitals.

    If you want to lay blame for this “attack,” perhaps Americans (well, 50 or so percent of them) should look in the mirror. They are the ones that elected the clowns that deregulated environmental & financial controls between 2000-2008.

    But yes, I am 100% against the Pebble Project, just as I’m 100% against the method of hydro-fracturing for natural gas extraction.

    Just don’t blame Canada. We’re very sensitive & self-conscious.

    Mat (fly fisherman, conservationist, geologist, over-sensitive Canadian)

    • Kirk Werner

      Thanks for the comments, Mat. You raise excellent points and I hope everyone reads your comments. In fact, I am going to amend the entry with a suggestion to read your comments). Admittedly I took some journalistic liberties to get peoples’ attention. I realize I’m preaching to the choir when discussing the Pebble Mine issue with you and others who already are aware of and oppose it, but the important thing is to stop the Pebble Mine Nobody that I know, myself included, blames Canada or Canadians for much of anything–you’re actually very pleasant neighbors, and except for a few subtleties (about=aboot) I rarely feel like a foreigner when I’m in BC . Oh, and I subscribe to your blog, too. Good work and thanks for stopping by to comment.

      • Mat Trevors

        I don’t think I have ever, in my life, said ‘aboot’ 😛

        And heck, when I lived in Vancouver, I felt like a foreigner…but that was due to my good ol’, down-home Atlantic Canadian upbringing more than anything

        You might have noticed a Kirk/UA reference in a post from a couple weeks ago while I was in the midst of my slump, btw…

        • Kirk Werner

          You’ve never in your life uttered ‘aboot’? Get oot, hoser! I reckon what you’re suggesting is that not every part of Canada has the same speech inflections and accents? How can that possibly be? It’s not like the States, where every geographical location comes with it’s own language…or, perhaps it is?

  7. Mat Trevors

    Sorry, I mis-typed something…I forgot to edit/add that Canada has more stringent mining & environmental controls than the United States…

  8. Trout Unlimited

    Thanks for the quick post on this… great stuff, and I think more and more sportsmen are tuning into the fact that, in some places, we simply cannot put at risk the renewable cultural and economic resources that exist above ground in favor of a one-time roll of the dice. Thanks again.


    • Kirk Werner

      I would tend to agree. Thanks for all that TU is doing here and elsewhere, to help insure that there are fish to catch generations from now.

  9. Steve Z

    Well, South Park blames Canada, but I don’t. Such nice people. I covet their Brook Trout and their Steelhead. Perhaps we should invade and make it our own! Muahahaha! Kidding, I’m kidding. Jeez.

    Great post (aside from your obvious slander of Canadians everywhere… I just couldn’t resist. I’ll stop now).

    Your words inspired me to break my strike and post Kill Pebble Mine thoughts one of my own.

    • Kirk Werner

      Steve, your suggestion to invade Canada and turn it into a fishing playground of our own has merit is outrageous!. Besides, we couldn’t afford Canada anyway – isn’t their dollar worth more than ours now? I can see that next week I’m going to have to publish a public apology to our Canadian neighbors, and even then I bet I will never be allowed back into the country, eh?

  10. Isak

    Kirk and Rob, I found this a helpful exchange. Thanks for thoughtful comments. Regardless of where the threat is coming from, glad to join in the work together.

    • Kirk Werner

      Thanks for the comment, Isak. Be sure, if you haven’t already, to also read Mat’s comments.

  11. Sanders

    Well said my friend. The issue of the Pebble Mine is a perfect example of some wanting more, at the expense of many and a species that has no one other than us to stand up for them. I too want to visit Bristol Bay one day, and not as a tourist of the Pebble Mine.

    • Kirk Werner

      Thanks, Sanders. I may have pissed off a few Canadians, so I’ll have to make a public statement of apology, but if it gets people talking and sharing and posting about the Pebble Mine, it’s worth the journalistic suicide mission I may have embarked upon. We need to one day fish together. I’d like to suggest that perhaps we plan a future Frenzy and meet on banks of either the Cinder, Egegik, Igushik, Kvichak, Meshik, Nushagak, Naknek, Togiak, or Ugashik rivers.

      • Sanders

        It would be the frenzy of all frenzy’s…I’m in!

        I think the greater good will be realized by our neighbors to the north and they will forgive you in short order. And as I am still a recovering North Dakotan, Canadians aren’t the only ones that say “aboot”.

  12. Mysticfish

    I’ve been speaking out against Pebble and blogging about it for years now. Glad to see you’ve stepped into the fray. I was just out in fishing the Naknek river in King Salmon, Alaska on Oct 4 when the residents of the Lake and Peninsula Borough voted. We are still waiting the results, but I heard some interesting stories about how the Pebble Partnership was working the voters. The vote is really only ceremonial and has no direct bearing on Pebbles permitting process, but we are hopeful a vote of no will let the world know how the Bristol Bay Alaskans feel about Pebble in their backyard.

    • Kirk Werner

      And good on ye, Mr. Mysticfish, for fighting the good fight. Hopefully the collective noise being made will help create some awareness. I believe I have alienated the entire country of Canada, which was not my intent, but if that’s a by-product of the anti Pebble Mine campaigh, it’s a cross I’m willing to bear 😉 However, I would like to go on record as saying that I like Canada, and Canadians.

  13. chuck

    Would ya be against the pebble mine if ya weren’t a fisherman? This is the kinda question I ask myself when ever a conservation issue arises that might jeopardize my fishing exploits! The Great Lakes would benefit greatly from less stocking of salmanoids but gluttonous anglers and charter boats wanna make sure that any idiot can catch a fish while he has a beer in one hand! When I asserted at my steelhead club that I couldn’t care less if i ever saw another Chinook again they wanted to hang me!

    • Kirk Werner

      And therein lies the challenge: not enough people care because it doesn’t affect/benefit them. Everything is driven by greed. Narrow-mindedness doesn’t factor in what is necessarily right for the environment or the future.

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