Digging a Little Deeper: What He Said and What You Should Say About Bristol Bay

by Mark McGlothlin on May 20, 2013

in Water Worth Saving

Friend of Chi Wulff Sam Snyder resurrected his blog a couple of days ago and posted an important piece on Bristol Bay.

Sam hit the nail on the head on a number of issues.

The clock is ticking on Bristol Bay; as of this morning there are only 11 days left in the EPA comment period. There’s lots of chatter about it in the fly fishing community. Bristol Bay fatigue is running high. Your comments really do count.

From Sam’s post –

Let me be crystal clear these are not simply some fluffy attempt to make you feel important, engaged or have a say.  YOU DO HAVE A SAY. People are not just churning out this media, flooding the airwaves so we can feel good about ourselves, we are trying to motivate you to get off your ass.

So, get off your ass. Shit, you can even win trips to Bristol Bay. What more do you need?
Your comments count. Every single one of them.

Why am I pissed off? Remember when I ranted last year about how if you don’t engage in conservation you have no right to be out on the stream. Well I still stand by that rant. And it seems folks can’t take a few minutes to tell a federal agency to do their job and Stop Pebble Mine.

How do I know? Because comments are public record and anyone can keep tabs on how many comments are coming in and where they are from. And to date –  only about 6000 sportsmen have commented. That is TERRIBLE.

Let’s do the math – there are 60 Million anglers in the United States. There are roughly 5-6 Million fly fishers. There are 150,000 members of Trout Unlimited (the disparity in this number is another topic that pisses me off), but yet only about 6000 anglers and sportsmen have written to EPA. That is something like .01% of American anglers. Are you kidding me?

You have time to post pictures of your awesome fish on Facebook, but you don’t have time to personalize and sign a pre-drafted petition to EPA?

I spent a big chunk of time thinking about this issue yesterday driving from the South Sound to Craig yesterday and then on to Bozeman (about 14 hours behind the wheel).

In a perverted way of sorts, the math that Sam marvels at makes sense when taken in the context of an evolving view of American government, a paltry 24% of Americans are satisfied with the state of their Nation today; a whopping 16% (less than 1 in 6) approve of the way our esteemed Congress is performing their job.

Escalating scandalous behavior seems the norm in Washington these days; while on one hand it’s damned entertaining, on the other hand I sense a level of frustration with government and its processes that I’ve never seen before among fisher and professional friends.

Does that frustration drive apathy, even when it comes to things near and dear like the Battle over Bristol Bay?

My guess is that is truly does for some, though perhaps we sportsmen really are just self-absorbed bastards (and bitches to include the fairer sex) too busy chattering on social media, catching the latest blockbuster and watching whatever playoffs are on to spend five minutes filling out a comment form.

That said, I prefer to remain a naive bastard, appreciating (and joining) the hardworking men and women out there like Sam, the movers and shakers in TU, the Native Fish Society, the Wild Steelhead Coalition and others who are still fighting the good fights for waterways, fish and fisheries.

Some will say we’re jousting at windmills. Don’t let the naysayers fool you.

TU has basically done the work for you – click here for a Bristol Bay EPA comment form teed up and ready to go.

Or go straight to the EPA’s Bristol Bay landing page here.