Juneau salvage program aids social services

Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2002

The state Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection oversees a local roadkill salvage program that helps put meat on the table for five Juneau organizations.

Gastineau Human Services, the Salvation Army, the Glory Hole, the Juneau Pioneers' Home and the Tongass Community Counseling Center make up the list of charities that stand to receive a call when an animal is found.

Lt. Will Ellis of Fish and Wildlife Protection estimated that "a half dozen at most" animals - almost entirely deer - are given away each year.

"We just don't get that many in here that it's ever been a real problem or a challenge for us," he said. "Up in Palmer where they have moose and you can end up with 256 roadkill in one season, the list is much more developed."

Despite smaller numbers, the benefits for recipient organizations are great. Glory Hole Director Joan Decker said the program is one of the group's meal program's few sources of fresh meat.

"Very seldom do we get meat," she said. "We can get fish in the summer from DIPAC. ... We can get packaged meat like wieners and prepared meat like baloney and salami from the food bank, but we very seldom have any fresh meat."

The program also supports Gastineau Human Services' desire to promote subsistence traditions, said Executive Director Greg Pease.

"The residents butcher (the animal) up and package it up and we distribute it to the various units and they eat it," Pease said. "We also use the skins and some of the other parts in various art projects."

So far, they've received one bear and four deer. How much meat can be recovered from each animal varies widely.

"A lot of times they might have been hit or laid on the side of the road for various lengths of time, so whatever meat isn't damaged or spoiled, we use it," Pease said.

Ellis estimated the average deer delivers about 50 pounds of meat.

"If you get a bigger buck you get more things," he said. "But a smaller one that runs across the road - more like what we see here - is less meat."

That's enough for Decker.

"We usually chop it up and make stew," she said. "Depending on what it is, it will determine how we prepare it, but in the past what we've done is we've made stew."

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