SEACC SOUTHEAST ALASKA CO N S E R V AT I O N CO U N C I L
In This Issue... SEACC file photo
We acknowledge the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people who have been the stewards of the forests and waters of this land since time immemorial, and on whose land we each do our work and live our lives.
Meredith Trainor........... Executive Director Maggie Rabb.................... Deputy Director Dan Cannon..................... Tongass Forest Program Manager Sally Schlichting............ Environmental Policy Analyst Sarah Davidson.............. Inside Passage Waters Program Manager Guy Archibald................. Staff Scientist Heather Evoy.................. Indigenous Engagement Lead Shannon Donahue......... Upper Lynn Canal Organizer Conor Lendrum.............. Development & Outreach Associate Emily Russo Miller........ Communications Lead Matt Jackson................... Climate Organizer Linda Baumgartner....... Office Manager
To protect the special places of the world’s largest temperate rainforest, promote conservation, and advocate for sustainability in human use of natural resources. Inspired by the land, wildlife, cultures, and communities of Southeast Alaska, SEACC strives to ensure this interconnected whole exists for future generations.
Board of Directors
Katie Ione Craney................................. President, Haines Natalie Watson..................................... Vice-President, Juneau Bob Schroeder....................................... Treasurer, Juneau Steve Lewis............................................ Secretary, Tenakee Springs Marian Allen......................................... Sitka Clay Frick............................................... Haines Steve Kallick.......................................... Seattle Bart Koehler.......................................... Juneau Ray Sensmeier...................................... Yakutat Naawéiyaa Austin Ray Tagaban........ Juneau Stephen Todd........................................ Wrangell Wayne Weihing.................................... Ketchikan
Creating a Regenerative Economy SEACC file photo
The Next 50 Years of SEACC SEACC file photo
The Future of the Tongass Lies in Restoring its Past
Southeast Alaska Conservation Council 2207 Jordan Avenue, Juneau, Alaska 99801 (907) 586-6942 | email@example.com | www.seacc.org
The Ravencall is a publication of SEACC
Editors: Conor Lendrum & Emily Russo Miller Designer: James K Brown, Brown and Blue Cover: Elsa Sebastian with the Last Stands ground truthing project beneath an ancient cedar tree on Prince of Wales Island. Photo by Colin Arisman
How Southeast Alaskans Envision 2020
Gear UP! Rock a SEACC Tee, take a swig out of our new limited edition 50th anniversary mugs, or throw on a SEACC baseball cap to stay out of the rain. Find all our apparel, accessories, books, stickers and more at seacc.org/store
Ravencall | Fall 2020
photo by Q’on Bear-Clark
SEACC file photo
Executive Director’s Note Meredith Trainor
photo by Michael Penn
2020 is the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council’s 50th year and it looks very little like what we had anticipated in 2018 and 2019. We reflected on our history and we planned celebrations for this milestone, but the global pandemic that 2020 brought has delayed these events. The larger political and cultural context of the Trump administration also calls for deeper reflection about our trajectory for the next five decades of protecting the Tongass National Forest and Waters of the Inside Passage. When we originally made our plans for the fall of 2020, the SEACC staff and I imagined convening a big public event, part conference, part festival, part research symposium, that would celebrate and articulate Southeast Alaska’s transition to a more regenerative, local, sustainable regional economy. With lots of partners at the table, many longstanding and, hopefully, many new, we would work to elevate and champion what many close observers
photo by Michele Cornelius
see as the inevitable future economy of Southeast Alaska, and the true “transition” that has been, and is, taking place every day on the Tongass. In anticipation of an organizational move to proactively advance this new narrative, we took time to reflect on the role of the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council as a truly grassroots regional nonprofit, working to build people power through issue education and activism. We reflected on our serious commitment to living, working, and being in a relationship with each of you, and on our role as an advocacy organization, which uses policy and advocacy tools to help bring about new opportunities for Southeast Alaska. When we imagined our celebrations and program work for this fall we likewise anticipated a big, in-person, retreat-style board meeting to affirm our strategy for advancing these evolving priorities, bringing the board’s deep experience in advocacy, and knowledge of our region and its people, to bear, to put flesh on the bones of our vision for the 50 years yet to come.
Neither in-person meeting will happen this fall, given COVID-19, and this Ravencall lands in your mailbox in a moment that is filled with both great potential and great risk for the world and country that will emerge from 2020 and, eventually, the pandemic. When the Ravencall arrives in your homes we’ll be just weeks from what is sure to be the single most important, most defining election of our lifetimes — the presidential election of 2020. The days and perhaps weeks following the election will likely be fraught, but perhaps also burgeoning with the opportunity for change, finally within reach. So, instead of sitting together this month to share plates of fall foods and summer fish stories, charting a path forward for our region, we’ve devoted the centerpiece article in this Ravencall, themed “the Next 50 Years,” to some of the big ideas, developing plans, and long-term envisioning that we hope will make future SEACC supporters, staff, and board looking back from our centennial in 2070 proud.
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SEACC file photo
Two Visions of the Future: Creating a Regenerative Economy
A Prediction of the Future:
All of the statements made about the Constantine-Palmer mine’s future are, though speculative, drawn from Constantine’s Plan of Operations and Preliminary Economic Assessment, and the history of mine development in the U.S. A similar scenario is currently playing out with the Niblack Mine on Prince of Wales Island, where an exploration company dug a portal, the project shut down, and acid mine drainage has leached continuously for the last seven years. Imperial Dynasty* is a fictional business created to fulfill a role that is common in the lifespan of a mine.
by Shannon Donahue
It’s the year 2070.
In the Chilkat Valley, SEACC and our partners focus on the aftermath of the defunct Palmer Mine, and its impacts on the Chilkat Watershed and the downstream communities of Klukwan and Haines. Almost 50 years ago, Vancouver-based Constantine Metal Resources, with financial backing from Japanese corporation, DOWA Metals and Mining, obtained permits from state agencies in bed with the mining industry for underground mineral exploration at the headwaters of the Chilkat Watershed. We challenged those permits, but the alliance between state and industry eventually won out, with a little help from the then-Governor and his friends. The project was riddled with problems from the start. Constantine lacked the resources to respond when they ran into acid-generating rock while digging the access portal, and encountered unplanned-for water treatment costs. DOWA, 49% shareholder in the mine, bailed them out and, as majority shareholder, brought in another, more experienced and better funded mining company, Imperial Dynasty*, to develop the mine. Imperial was not bound to Constantine’s promises to downstream communities, such as dry stacking tailings, a storage method that eliminates the risk of tailings dam failures but is unproven in a wet northern climate and could produce acid mine drainage. Instead, Imperial submerged tailings in a large pond with a retaining dam, posing risk of catastrophic tailings dam failure akin to the one at Mount Polley Mine in 2014. In addition to lost revenue, dumping barite in the form of tailings spiked operating costs. Zinc and copper prices
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rose, saving the mine temporarily, then plummeted, as they do from time to time. The mine borrowed money in an effort to weather the volatile market, but ultimately declared bankruptcy and closed, laying workers off permanently, leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid debts to local businesses, and burdening taxpayers and the state with perpetual cleanup and monitoring costs. Because the reclamation plan was unproven, it was impossible to fully seal the mine portal and expensive ongoing water treatment will continue be required for hundreds of years, like at Tulsequah Chief Mine. That treatment is not 100% effective, and the mine will leach acid mine drainage and heavy metals into the Chilkat Watershed essentially forever.
This doesn’t have to be our future. We recognize the natural abundance that stems from the Chilkat Valley’s clean water, healthy forests, and our interdependence with the land. In the face of a global pandemic, economic crisis, social uprising, and climate change, we see an opportunity for a Just Transition from an economy that exploits and exports finite natural resources, to a better quality of life achieved through a locally-based, circular economy that allows the resources that sustain us—the salmon, timber, and wildlife—the time and opportunity to regenerate, supporting human and nonhuman life. While the challenges of 2020 result in economic struggles initially, we assess our strengths and vulnerabilities, and build grassroots, local support networks. Our interdependent relationship with the land and water demonstrates that we share more common values than we’d
previously understood. While differences in how we approach those values have historically torn deep, painful rifts in the community, responding to threats to our health and economy helps to heal some of those rifts. And so, it’s 2070. The Chilkat Valley has changed with the climate, but we’ve changed too. Some climate change losses will never recover — the Chinook salmon will never be the same, glaciers have receded, and ocean acidification has hurt shellfish populations. But, with help from our supporters and allies, we stopped the mine before it could make things much worse. The clean waters of the Chilkat Valley continue to sustain fish, wildlife, and our communities. We’ve shifted forestry practices from large-scale timber sales to smaller, sustainable harvests with stream buffers that protect salmon habitat, leaving healthy forests able to shade salmon streams and produce oxygen, contributing to climate resilience. Carbon sequestration credits for areas of forest left intact, and recreational trails and cabins also contribute to our new economy. Clean water and healthy soils allow us to grow more food locally, and our interconnected community networks help us ensure that all communities in Southeast Alaska have access to the benefits that this fresh and locally grown food provides. Much of the income generated from our natural resources stays within the community now, rather than enriching big international corporations. Our re-scaled economy, interdependent with the land, nurtures both community and our ecology now and for perpetuity. This future is possible, but it takes all of us to make these changes and restructure our communities and our economy for a livable future. Shannon Donahue is SEACC’s Upper Lynn Canal Organizer. She resides and works in Haines.
Photo by Josh Carson
Definitions provided by the Just Transitions Collective, from “Kohtr’elneyh: Remembering forward: A strategic framework for a Just Transition”
Just Transition Just Transition is a framework for a fair shift
to an economy ecologically sustainable, equitable and just for all Alaskans. After centuries of global plunder, the profit-driven, growth-dependent, industrial economy is severely undermining the life support systems of the planet. Economies based on the violent extraction of natural resources are causing not only massive ecological degradation, but are contributing to the declining health of frontline communities of color whose food, resources, and lives are taken by ‘development’ projects. The current economy — based on extracting from a finite system faster than the capacity of the system to regenerate — will eventually come to an end, either through collapse or through our intentional re-organization. Transition is inevitable, justice is not.
Regenerative Economy An economy based on reflective, responsive,
reciprocal relationships of interdependence between human communities and the living world upon which we depend. The purpose of a Regenerative Economy must be social and ecological well-being.
Extractive Economy An economy based on the removal of wealth
from communities through the depletion and degradation of natural resources, the exploitation of human labor (a particularly precious natural resource) and the accumulation of wealth by interests outside the community (i.e. big banks, big oil and big box stores). The purpose of the Extractive Economy is the accumulation of wealth and power in the hands of a few, enforced through the violent enclosure of land, labor and capital. The violence of enclosure can only result in the erosion of biological and cultural diversity.
Changing World, Changing Work by Matt Jackson
With a warm breeze
blowing off the glaciers, I strip down and leap from the bow of my sailboat into the waters of Glacier Bay, a quarter mile off the Margerie Glacier. I feel a layer of colder water beneath as I dive down, but the surface is balmy. I swim slow laps around the drifting boat and play with tiny icebergs in the water, and dry off in the sun without shivering. I imagine myself as an old man telling an improbable grandchild, “When I was your age, there were still glaciers in Glacier Bay.” Alaska is on the front lines of climate change, warming twice as fast as the rest of the nation. Glacier Bay is a microcosm of climate change — here, a single degree of average temperature change or shift in precipitation can result in widespread change. Glaciers, king salmon runs, the range of the yellow cedar, our hopes for a liveable future: all receding. Though the climate change threat is global, we still feel and see the changes in the familiar forests and fishing grounds of Southeast Alaska. In places where SEACC has fought hard to prevent clearcut logging, yellow cedars are dying off due to changing snow accumulation patterns. And we now know that, after decades of advocating for precious salmon spawning habitat, some of the most important limiting factors to some salmon populations are in fact changing ocean conditions in the North Pacific. These are just two small examples in the cacophony of climate chaos. Though it means looking beyond the geographic boundary of Southeast Alaska, we know that SEACC’s legacy of advocating for our region is at risk unless we work to address climate change. As SEACC incorporates climate change more into our program work, we nurture our bonds with partners, like Lynn Canal Conservation, and build alliances with groups like 350Juneau. We deepen relationships with groups around the state who are working toward a Just Transition away from the carbon economy. And as the Alaska affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation, SEACC is engaged
Photo by Josh Carson
with a national coalition of conservation groups putting coordinated pressure on the federal government to hold them to accountable to acting boldly on climate change. This summer, SEACC started to more intentionally take on regional leadership to address climate change. We hosted a series of virtual workshops, called “Hunker Down for Climate Change,” for five Southeast communities, and brought art and activism together to express what climate change means for Southeast Alaskans. It was our hope that creativity could influence decision-makers and encourage them to act ambitiously on climate change, as is clearly the will of most Southeast Alaskans. In late August, we delivered the art created during the workshops to Senator Lisa Murkowski, hoping she would find it persuasive. The politics surrounding climate change seems uncertain, but the changing climate itself is inescapable — and it’s on the forefront of my mind as I sail through the icy wilderness of Glacier Bay, where glaciers tower high as cathedrals, seals are born on icebergs, and salmon swim in freshwater streams. I remember Glacier Bay’s name in Tlingit: “Sit’ Eeti Gheeyi,” the bay that was once a glacier. One day, Glacier Bay will have no glaciers at all. I hope that day will never come. I hope that my future grandchild will never have to ask, “Why is it called Glacier Bay?” I hope that our political leaders will wake up to this reality of climate chaos and boldly set a course that will chart our nation toward a sustainable future. A future where fishermen’s livelihoods are not at risk, where carvers and weavers won’t struggle to find yellow cedar, where seals never lose their birthing grounds. This different and better future is ours to have, should we rise to the challenge and opportunity of climate change. Matt was born in Ketchikan and looks forward to living his life as a guest on the land and waters of Tlingit Aani. He enjoys sailing his 24’ sailboat, The Tern. Over the Fourth of July weekend, Matt took advantage of the lack of traffic to explore Glacier Bay, Sit’ Eeti Gheeyi, for the first time. Ravencall | Fall 2020
The Next Fifty Years by Meredith Trainor
A True Tongass Transition
In 2011 the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service, announced the intent to move away from logging old-growth and toward logging “young growth,” previously logged forested areas, in their Tongass Transition Framework. This transition is widely referred to in conservation and land management circles as “The Tongass Transition.” At times over the years since, the desirability of this transition has been contested by a few loud voices with a stake in maintaining the status quo and continuing to cut Southeast Alaska’s diminishing number of old-growth trees. Nonetheless, the Southeast economy and slim minority of our earnings and jobs numbers related to timber have trended faithfully toward the transition’s completion, with or without official government sanction and the endorsement of powerful individuals. But a true Tongass Transition to logging younger trees in lieu of old growth is not without risk — the most mature and desirable young growth stands that could be logged today are in places that hosted the best growing conditions and access when they were logged historically. An unfettered young growth transition risks lighting up the map of logged areas across the Tongass to be logged yet again, just as some begin to return to the ecological and aesthetic characteristics of a maturing forest. Where those areas are in proximity to communities, the forestry industry may find robust pushback from participants in a local economy that benefits more from those young growth trees continuing to mature and provide benefits to tourism, protection of key salmon streams and wildlife habitat, or mitigation of climate change, as these forests grow and store carbon in their trees and soils.
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Rather than prioritizing a Tongass Timber Transition, then, we at SEACC seek to expedite an already wellunderway regional economic transition, which re-centers the regional economy of Southeast Alaska on a foundation of fishing, tourism, and governance. In other regions of Alaska and at some of our peer organizations this has compellingly been described as a “Just Transition,” emphasizing the importance of economic justice as our economy changes. The Alaskan Just Transitions Collective, or Kohtr’elneyh (“We Remember” in the Benhti Kanaga’ language of the lower Tanana Dene peoples), describes a Just Transition as “a framework for a fair shift to an economy that is ecologically sustainable, equitable and just for all Alaskans.” They beautifully articulate the economic transition and resulting implications that we see beginning to manifest in Southeast Alaska: For us a Just Transition means uplifting Indigenous place-based knowledge systems while we shape regenerative economies, steward lands and waters, and build more just and equitable communities for all. Alaska is experiencing an unparalleled moment of systemic political, economic, and ecological crisis—one that requires us as Alaskans to rethink how we balance our current and future needs. The economic system that has sustained Alaska for over 40 years is unraveling. Since the 1970s, an oil-based economy has dictated the speed and sectors of business growth. Over this time our state government has implemented a tax structure that furthers dependence on one main revenue stream— oil revenues. Over the past few years we have experienced the harm caused by our state’s economic dependency. Although the slow, very public death of Alaska’s oil-reliant economy can trigger overtures of fatalism, this moment is ripe with opportunity for the state to stop allowing itself to be treated like a neocolonial banana republic with resources to plunder, and to demand a more sophisticated economic model from our elected leaders.
In 2020 and years to come, we plan to add SEACC’s considerable weight to this effort, already advanced by leaders in the Just Transition Collective up north, and the Sustainable Southeast Partnership and 350Juneau in Southeast. This will include providing our grassroots bench strength and advocacy ability to help draft and enact policies and laws that support the conditions that enable growth of our regional economy, not at the cost of our environment, but buoyed by it. To do that, we will support specific policies that are not intuitively environmental, but that protect the environment by advancing the pace at which our economy is diversified and regionalized — also providing stability during periods of economic downturn, like the one we are now experiencing, in years to come. Bringing SEACC’s expertise at grassroots power building and advocacy to bear in expediting the Just Transition is where we see a clear role for our organization. SEACC will continue to be — will always be — an organization whose mission prioritizes conservation of the land and water of Southeast Alaska, but now with an expanded toolset for doing so.
Moving the Needle on Climate Change
Just as Alaska must diversify its economy while weaning off oil, SEACC must diversify its labors to meet the exigencies of the next half-century. Our program pillars, Tongass Forest and Inside Passage Waters, will grow in coming years to include more extensive engagement in work around climate change. Our effort on climate change must be focused and strengthened, with more resources supporting it, if we are to move the climate needle in Alaska. In 2020 and beyond that work will necessarily expand to include joining and organizing regional and statewide groups in sophisticated, targeted campaigns to compel the Legislature and the Governor to act on climate.
To learn more about the Alaskan Just Transition Collective, check out www.justtransitionak.org
A More Diverse, Equitable, Just, and Inclusive SEACC
To achieve a Just Transition, we will prioritize incorporating justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion into everything we do at SEACC. We’ve taken concrete steps to address these values in recent years, but can do more, including by committing to help underrepresented members of Southeast Alaska’s communities to enter the pipeline to become conservationists and leaders, themselves — for their leadership is needed. We are preparing a statement on SEACC’s commitments to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, jointly developed by staff and board, which will express our internal commitments, priorities, and pathways for advancing this work, with metrics for accountability. Our work toward being an explicitly anti-racist organization is deeply reflective, time-consuming, important work that will not be concluded overnight, or even this year, but our engagement in a larger, ongoing process feels good to us and our staff, who have clamored to be better allies in the face of overt injustice. Justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion also manifest at SEACC in our external work. As we contemplate landscape conservation, the Tongass, and the waters of the Inside Passage, we see clearly that there are no lingering “unclaimed” lands, and that the lands that were historically treated as unclaimed or unoccupied, were in fact stolen from Alaska Native peoples. In the 50 years to come, few conservation objectives will be advanced without the explicit participation, collaboration,
SEACC will continue to be,
will always be, an organization whose mission prioritizes conservation of the land and water of Southeast Alaska, but now with an expanded toolset for doing so. and support of the Indigenous peoples that were historically displaced from those lands, and who seek to have their sovereignty recognized and engage in land management and ownership now. Explicitly acknowledging the theft of these lands will feel daunting and hard to sit with, for some, but there is beauty in the reckoning that we finally take on by making this acknowledgment, and an opportunity, for us all, to pivot together to ask what we do next. In the next 50 years, landscape conservation that prioritizes special places and acreage will necessarily and appropriately shift to prioritize opportunities that are advanced in partnership with Alaska Native Tribes and leaders. Conservation will finally and necessarily expand to include lands where people continue to live, and will be realized by all those who are committed to careful stewardship of our shared home.
Looking back, in 2070
As I contemplate the organization that we will create together in the next 50 years, I feel hopeful, and find myself thinking about the many members who were here at our organization’s
founding, who still work with us and support us today. Their early efforts catalyzed a lifelong commitment to conservation and to SEACC. I hope that in 2070, I’ll look back proudly at a legacy that included increasingly homegrown and local leadership for SEACC, from the staff to the Executive Director, especially with regards to Indigenous leadership. I hope to reminisce about how we redirected federal subsidies, once used to rationalize logging, to instead restore the Tongass and retrain forest industry workers. I hope to fondly recall how our team improved water quality standards to protect fish and aquatic habitat even as our region moved away from overreliance on another extractive industry — mining — and toward opportunities that nascent industries created for our region. And I anticipate meaningful and collaborative progress on climate, without which all else will founder. Most of all, I hope I’ll look back 50 years from now and reflect with joy on the power built by a coalition of increasingly diverse and visionary grassroots leaders who worked collaboratively across organizations, and trusted one another. I hope to reflect on how we pushed Alaska to become the best state it could be, and helped Alaskan elected officials to change the state’s leadership model toward one of inspired and compassionate governance. I hope to reflect on how we charted a path for a Just Transition in Southeast, together. I know that when we all take the opportunity to look back on the work we did to get there, 50 years from now, I’ll see each of you working, striving, advocating, and organizing right along with the staff, the board, and me. It’s going to take all of us, and the time to push for and create the economy for the next 50 years, is now. Ravencall | Fall 2020
Photo by Malena Marvin
Photo by Michele Cornelius
The Future of the Tongass Lies in Restoring its Past SEACC is celebrating our 50th anniversary alongside that of one of our country’s most important environmental laws: the National Environmental Policy Act. While we look forward to the next 50 years of conserving the Tongass, we reflect on how NEPA helped us stand tall for the forest by making our voices heard. by Dan Cannon
Since day one, SEACC has used the National Environmental Policy Act— the law of the land since 1970—to ensure that Alaskans use their voice on proposed development projects that could negatively impact the Tongass. The right to publicly comment on such federal projects is not enshrined in law anywhere else: NEPA is the sole law that guarantees that right. From pointless, exorbitant roads to nowhere, and mines that poison the water, to massive oldgrowth clearcuts that destroy critical wildlife and fish habitat, SEACC has utilized NEPA as a tool to elevate the voices of Southeast Alaskans and ensure they reach the halls of power in D.C. For over 50 years, SEACC supporters of all walks of life—hunters, fishermen, subsistence users and Indigenous peoples—have participated in hundreds of NEPA processes, allowing us to keep numerous special places in the Tongass intact. This summer SEACC, our partners, and the public raised hell when President Trump proposed weakening NEPA to allow development projects to be fasttracked, but ultimately the Trump administration succeeded. The new NEPA will erode public participation in decision-making by not requiring public hearings or meetings, shortening the comment period and limiting topics of comment. Those and other restrictions will limit the public’s meaningful input on issues close to Alaskans’ hearts and homes. The timing couldn’t be worse, as our region and state begin to feel the worsening impacts of the climate crisis, and the updated law no longer requires cumulative climate change impacts to be assessed. Some of our partners have filed lawsuits to fight these changes, and, thankfully, presidential administrations do end. We cannot dwell on disappointment. When participating in democracy, it is
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important to take an occasional break from saying “no” and set an agenda that will shape our future, instead.
Anticipating the next 50 years for the Tongass is simple: we envision restoring watersheds and logged areas damaged by years of ecological destruction and accelerating climate change, and doing everything in our power to promote and expand Southeast’s outdoor recreation economy. According to a 2011 USDA study, over $100 million is needed to address the remaining watershed restoration work on the Tongass — including removing or remediating fish barriers at roadstream crossings, and improving floodplain and stream function to provide salmon with healthy spawning and rearing habitat. Restoration of logged areas is a notable sector for local workforce development and climate change mitigation. Projects such as Sustainable Southeast Partnership’s Hoonah Native Forest Partnership and TRAYLS Program in Sitka, Keex’ Kwaan Community Forest Partnership and Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition’s (SAWC) Pat Creek Watershed Restoration are already setting the tone for hiring locals to restore the Tongass. Specifically, in the summer of 2019 the Hoonah Native Forest Partnership worked to successfully restore 300 meters of Spasski Creek, and SAWC received support from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to contract BW Enterprises from Wrangell to help with restoration efforts. Fish passage should be the top priority when restoring the forest. The 2016-2017 Tongass National Forest Monitoring and Evaluation Report evaluated 3,687 fish stream road crossings along approximately 5,000 miles of forest roads, and problematically 33% of the crossings
failed to meet state fish passage standards. Prioritizing fish passage will help the Tongass ecologically, ensure nourishment for our communities, and continue our thriving commercial and growing sport fishing economies. SEACC will advocate in the years to come for sustainable development of recreation within the Tongass. Recreation efforts need to be comprehensive in considering a variety of natural and cultural values of an area and build meaningful engagement with local communities. SEACC believes that continued intentional recreation efforts will only improve the Tongass’s already world-class hiking, hunting, camping, canoeing, fishing and kayaking. SEACC envisions a future where the US Forest Service, Alaska Congressional Delegation, and State officials truly embrace a vibrant outdoor recreation economy, and invest in helping it grow. Some of this work has already begun. Groups like the Alaska Trail Association, Juneau-based recreation and trail maintenance group Trail Mix, and Alaska Outdoor Alliance are making significant progress in developing and promoting recreation resources. On the policy side, Alaska’s Congressional Delegation recently supported the Great American Outdoor Act, the bill that established the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration fund. Up to $1.9 billion a year will be set aside to support deferred maintenance projects on federal lands. The GAOA allows up to 15% of those funds to be used on National Forest system lands such as the Tongass National Forest. Ask any Southeast Alaskan: they know a Forest Service cabin that needs improvement, a trail that needs a new bridge, or a culvert that needs to be repaired to ensure protection of critical coho rearing ponds. If we commit to restoring the Tongass, one day it will be as healthy and whole as it was in the past.
Southeast Alaskans Anticipate 2070 What is your vision of Southeast Alaska in 50 years?
Joe Zuboff, Yeilnaau
I hope all our trees are still standing and the bears are still roaming the streams and the fish are still coming in and packing the waterways like we’ve witnessed in the photo by Art Sutch past. My children grew up in the Tongass and now my grandchildren are growing up in the Tongass and I want for them what we were privileged to have. I want to be able to continue to put out crab pots and have them help pull and get the crab… Both my kids have come back to Alaska after going outside to school. My daughter, Lindsey, is working to protect the environment... My son Scott is in Kenai now and he still comes back to the Tongass to fill his freezer in Kenai with venison. It remains important in their lives and they’re trying to conserve and they’re getting their children involved. I just really, really want it to be there for them in the years to come.
Our main sustainable resource is surviving off the land! I was out hunting with my brother-in-law. On a logging road we came up to a large clearcut. photo by Colin Arisman You could turn all the way around and see only stumps. He jumped up on a large stump and looked at me and said “I leave all this to my great-greatgrandchildren.” My sons are real concerned about pollution. They’re concerned about mine tailings. They’re here and wonder why some of our own corporations want to log. They know if we log the old-growth forest we lose everything. They see the scars from the past. My concerns are health issues. I don’t want to be worried my grandchildren will have birth defects, cancer, or mercury and lead poisoning from mine runoff. So in 2070, my hopes are we find a way to stop pollution and work together.
Shawaan JacksonGambel, Ch’aak’ti
Arias Hoyle, Yawdunéi
2019 CCTHITA Emerging Leader
Around Kake especially, we suffer from the SEACC file photo consequences of large scale clearcuts, and when I see it I think, “Man, what if I was alive when they made those decisions?!” But I’m alive now, so in my 50 years, I want to make sure that somehow, everywhere around Kake is protected because we’ve already had to suffer from logging and poor management. Partnerships like the Keex’ Kwaan Community Forest Partnership (KKCFP) here in Kake really helps people in the community find work — and do work that really matters, work that the employees care about. What we’re doing this past year, using the LIDAR we have, we’re able to start ground-truthing.
50 years from now in Southeast Alaska, formline will become the primary art on about every building. SEACC file photo The Auk Kwáan and the Taku Kwáan, the original inhabitants of Douglas and Juneau, their Tribes will flourish and actually see a growth in population all over. On top of that, Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian languages— Língit, Xaat Kíl, and Sm’álgyax—will all see a huge rise in fluent speakers, teaching it to both Native and nonNative children.
Working with the TRAYLS Program in Sitka, I got to see how restoration can really impact a stream in a good way. Five years after restoring a stream, we went back to measure the depth and couldn’t find the bottom because of the restoration that they did there. I think it’s restoration projects like that that’s going to help our salmon.
When it comes to the economy, I definitely want to see more investment without worry on behalf of the arts here. I live not even two miles from the Mendenhall Glacier, and with the Tongass as the surroundings of my livelihood, I want to see it manifested by the people here by making art and murals on behalf of where we’re from. It can be a beautiful, huge, glacier painting for the Tongass signs, it could be that you’re picking blueberries and salmonberries out in the middle of the Tongass and living.
I’d like to see the economy grow. There’s a lot we can do, like oyster farming, kelp farming, responsible tourism, smallscale logging that is used to build single-family housing for people in Kake and other local communities. It’s just a matter of elevating these careers for the people who live here.
As for the water, I would just love everyone to take into consideration how much it means to have clean water and healthy salmon and just leave everything as it should be, respect the land we’re on, make sure the Auk Kwáan get recognition for it, and use it appropriately. Ravencall | Fall 2020
Q&A with SEACC Leadership Past & Present Kay McCarthy
1976-1982 First Co-Director
1984-1991 & 1995-1999 Executive Director
2016-Present Executive Director
SEACC file photo
photo by Q’on Bear-Clark
SEACC file photo
What was your vision for SEACC when you worked there? Do you think you reached it? Why or why not? SEACC’s first big goal was to have 45 unprotected watershed areas we had selected designated as wilderness areas. In 1975 there were no congressionally protected wilderness areas in the Tongass. The wilderness study areas the Forest Service had proposed were either rock and ice or remote bird nesting islands. We obtained wilderness protection for five major areas in the 45 with our work on the Alaska National Interest Lands bill, which was signed by President Carter in 1980. We continuously made progress on the 45 watersheds, culminating in the 1990s with the Tongass Timber Reform Act.
To conservationists, it seemed the Forest Service and the Alaska Congressional Delegation saw Southeast Alaska as a timber colony, mandating 450 million board ft/year timber sales and $40 million a year to make clearcuts and using taxpayer money. Our mission: repeal all sweetheart provisions and shut down the pulp mills by getting rid of their contracts. We also needed permanent protection for key watersheds with pristine environment. It took a decade, but in 1990 the Tongass Timber Reform Act (TTRA) was passed, turning the tide. By 1999, pulp mills in Southeast were closed. SEACC stayed the course and led the way to a huge sea change.
When I started at SEACC in 2016, my vision focused on steadying our organizational ship, and returning to many of the ideas that informed SEACC’s founding. I have strong ideas about running a business and team, and I prioritized a consistent approach to advocacy, a carefully thought-out structure and budget, and a sustainable, happy staff. My vision today is focused on how we create the future we want to live in, here in Southeast. That includes elevating work towards a Just Transition and new economic model for Alaska, and priorities around justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion within SEACC.
What was the biggest political obstacle/threat during your tenure? How did you approach overcoming it? The biggest political obstacle was that conserving areas in the Tongass seemed irrelevant to most people. People said, “this forest is so vast, it is a huge wilderness. Development won’t make much of a dent in it.” Most Southeast residents had never seen much of the forest, and were not aware of logging practices on the Tongass. Also, anybody with an economic connection to the pulp mills was antagonistic toward us, including the Alaska Congressional Delegation. We didn’t overcome that hurdle entirely. What helped was a lot of work by SEACC showing that these timber sales were deficit sales that cost the Forest Service and the taxpayers’ money.
We had two priorities, both major challenges: making the Tongass a national issue and building grassroots support in communities throughout Southeast. We had a traveling slideshow that hit key districts and states, coordinated by our SEACC staff in D.C., and we kept a consistent presence in Tongass communities who were trying to protect their best-loved fish and wildlife watersheds, each one vital to their ways of life. Our grassroots organizing was effective, most clearly during the Senate Tongass Hearings in Ketchikan and Sitka, when the spokespeople for Southeast communities came forth and testified in favor of the TTRA.
The Trump administration. When I began working for SEACC we anticipated a Clinton presidency, and the first months of my tenure were spent planning how we’d work with her administration to advance our goals! When we woke up on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, everything had changed completely. Leading during the Trump administration has been the challenge of my life, from meeting attacks on long-standing conservation laws like NEPA and policy like the Roadless Rule, to facing relentless efforts to tear apart our democracy. I will spend the rest of my career repairing the damage Trump has done.
What was your most memorable public speaking engagement as the ED, and why was it so memorable? What was the issue? What was the crowd like? Do you still think about that day? All public events were memorable. The first congressional hearing I attended was in Wrangell. I was representing SEACC, talking about areas around Wrangell we’d proposed for protection. The audience was polarized. Clearcut logging was happening so fast, but the other side saw wilderness protection as a threat to their jobs. The crowd was hostile. People kept referring to me as the “silver tongued lady.” Then, Wrangell was home to the Alaska Lumber and Pulp Co. sawmill. Looking back, I was naïve. People were scared. Loggers and mill workers were feeling the winds of change blowing. Many had come to SE Alaska to work because of conservation battles in Oregon.
Ravencall | Fall 2020
1995, my second stint as E.D. We’d thoroughly
The most recent Roadless meeting in Juneau
prepared for the Senate Oversight Hearing on
comes to mind, because we interrupted it! The
the Tongass: we were bombproof. A political
Forest Service seemed to be trying to literally
ceasefire had been called once the TTRA
bore the hundreds of people who showed up
passed, but Senator Ted Stevens pushed
to voice their support for the Tongass out of
the USFS to make excessive timber sales, so
the room, and I was incredibly frustrated by
SEACC reluctantly filed a lawsuit blocking one
the way they were handling that event. So I
sale. At the hearing he retaliated, calling me a
stood up and interrupted, and asked people
liar and storming out. I was next to testify. My
to stand if they were there because they
response was akin to: "I've never been called
wanted to see the Tongass protected, and
a liar before, certainly not by a Senator. To
the Roadless Rule kept in place. Nearly the
be clear: SEACC stands by every word we say
entire room simultaneously rose to their feet,
today. I wish the Senator had stayed, we’ll
which was a powerful, compelling, and visual
hash this out.”
demonstration of public support.
Go to www.seacc.org/legacy or email Maggie Rabb at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank You, Business Partners Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks | Gustavus Baranof Wilderness Lodge | Sitka Art Matters | Juneau Rainbow Glacier Adventures | Haines Tongass Kayak Adventures | Petersburg
If you would like to partner with SEACC, email email@example.com to find out details on how to get into our Ravencall, Tide Book, and our new website!
Thank You to Our Volunteers
We are a grassroots organization, once and forever, and these volunteers have stepped up as part of our work from Fairbanks to Ohio. Join us in thanking them: Mac McIntosh, Todd Ulrich, Rosa Gaona, Grant EchoHawk, Jules Dellinger, Kathryn Portelli, Scott Pearce, Daniel Nelson, Luann McVey, Caitlin Purdome, Kevin Maier, Laura Stats, Lynn Wilbur, Autumn Simons, Danielle DiNovelli-Lang, Ron Kreher, Jim Mackovjak, Chelsea Mckenzie, Father SĂŠamus Finn (OMI), Andrei Horincar, Joe Zuboff, Joyanne Bloom, Shawaan Jackson-Gamble, Arias Hoyle, Ray Sensmeier, Hunter Mallinger, Bonnie Demerjian, Wanda Culp, Katie Craney, Kay McCarthy, Mark Rorick, Zorza Szatkowski, Jessica Plachta, Ashlynn Leask, Naomi Leask, Torah
SEACC file photo
You can donate stock, IFQs, or pledge for the future of Southeast by making a planned gift to SEACC in your will.
Plan for the Long Term
We canâ€™t wait to gather in person with you all again, but for safety we will be postponing our 50th anniversary party until April 17, 2021 in Juneau, Alaska!
50 Anniversary Party Announcement th
SEACC file photo
Incremental efforts build beautiful futures. Recurring donations of even $10 a month accumulate to big impacts.
Donate online at www.seacc.org/donate50-50 or clip and mail the form on the back cover.
Receive a limited edition 50th anniversary SEACC camping mug! Vacuum sealed stainless steel with a leak-resistant lid. Keeps hot drinks hot, cold drinks cold, and is perfect for the woods, the office, or a walk along the shore with a friend.
SEACC file photo
Receive a SEACC 50th anniversary snap-back baseball cap to keep the rain off your head.
We all share the benefits from a healthy Southeast Alaska. Share $35 or more with SEACC today to keep the Tongass tall and the Inside Passage Waters clean!
$100+ $250+ $500+
Choose one of eight historic SEACC prints to savor some Alaskan art.
For our 50th year SEACC has a special goal that we need your help to reach. We are raising $50,000 Sandhill Cranes of Gustavus above and beyond our annual fundraising in order to by Gene Harrison SEACC file photo cement SEACCâ€™s position between Southeast Alaska and the forces that would threaten the Tongass and the Inside Passage Waters. For this special occasion, we have rewards for three levels of giving:
Support SEACCâ€™s Work Today
50th Anniversary Giving and Rewards
Zamora, Julia Gregory, Ricky Tagaban, Kelly McLaughlin, Louise Brady, Vivian Faith Prescott, Mitchell Prescott, Judy Brakel, Nicole Jacobs, Todd Wehnes, Allison Lihou, Michelle Tagaban, Matt Hamilton, Ellie Schmidt, Trixie Bennett, Tis Peterman, Lisa SadierHart, Nellie Metcalfe, Tisa Becker, Rebecca Caulfield, Lester Miller, Reno Sommerhalder, Tony Perelli, Connie LaPerriere, Charlotte Tanner, Vince Murray, Douglas Edwards, Karen Wilson, Kerry Kirkpatrick, Chelsea Miller, Susen Kreml, Hannah Reynolds, Kristy Friend, Sandra Kinzer, NaawĂŠiyaa Tagaban, Bart Koehler, and many more. Ravencall | Fall 2020
NON-PROFIT ORG. US POSTAGE
SOUTHEAST ALASKA CO N S E R V AT I O N CO U N C I L
JUNEAU, AK 99801 PERMIT #107
2207 Jordan Avenue Juneau, Alaska 99801 (907) 586-6942 www.seacc.org
Check out our new website and follow us on Instagram and Facebook to connect with the SEACC community and keep up to date on the issues!
Thank you, to our founders: SEACC would not exist without the founders who first brought together the disparate lovers of the Tongass and Inside Passage together to enact lasting change.
YES! I want to support SEACC: seacc.org/donate
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o $10/month o $100/month
o I want to make a one-time donation of: o $35 o $250
o $50 o $500
o $25/month o $_____/month o $100 o $________
To Achieve SEACCâ€™s 50-50 Goal: seacc.org/donate/50-50
o I want to make an additional one-time donation of: o $35 o $250
o $50 o $500
o $100 o $________
50th gifts will be processed separately. If using checks, please include separate checks.
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Jean Eisenhart Jay Snodderly Jerry Deppa Margaret Piggot Lee Schmidt Jan Wrentmore Roger Lohrer Dale Pihlman Emily Merriam
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You may make a donation online or clip out this form and mail to: Southeast Alaska Conservation Council 2207 Jordan Ave, Juneau, AK 99801 Your contribution is tax deductible to the extent allowable by law.
The 2nd Ravencall issue for our 50th anniversary, take a look at how we see the next 50 years of Southeast Alaska unfolding!