The renewal of the assault on Berners Bay, Juneau's backyard wilderness and wildlife-and-fisheries refuge, fans coals of resentment throughout northern Southeast Alaska. Senator Murkowski's reintroduction of a bill that would transfer this rich sanctuary to the state for development purposes is part and parcel of aggregating abominations. These multiplying mistakes include the Bush administration's abandonment of protection for key natural areas in the Tongass National Forest, and the state's proposed Southeast Alaska Transportation Plan, whose aggressive road network would defy the logic of living in an archipelago. Together these careless acts and decisions would transform the last and best pristine zones of Southeast into roaded and eroded zones of industrial development.
It's all or nothing with these people. Regarding the Tongass, for example, negotiations and compromises with local communities that took decades to perfect have been swept away by administrative decrees that bypass forest management plans and affront required legal processes.
Berners Bay is symbolic of this rollover of years of effort. In its natural state it performs great work for society. It is a nearby place for repose and recreation on many fronts. Its drainages are nurseries for bountiful fish that sustain both wildlife and people. Here is a place that gives us and our wild companions a place to balance ourshares - as it is. Why can't such a place simply be left as it is?
William E. Brown
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