Favor eco-tourism over extraction

Posted: Monday, March 29, 2004

Berners Bay is located just 40 miles north of Juneau, offering easy and pristine recreational access by watercraft for thousands of residents and visitors annually. It is truly a gem ecosystem, comparing favorably to world-class Admiralty Island National Monument close by.

Biodiversity in this bay is phenomenal. Spring hooligan fish runs attract many thousands of seabirds, and sea mammals, as well as, large and small land mammals. It is an exceptional, unique biomass phenomenon well worth fighting for to retain it's unspoiled state. Yet, it is for political consideration that Sen. Murkowski is threatening to change this bay forever. Private corporation development is the silent, underlying theme in her land swap bill amendment, one which favors private, pro-development interests over public needs and wishes. Her highly questionable decision is made after listening intently to hundreds of Juneau citizens as they voiced their opposition to this swap at town meetings. I was there. Her decision is made in spite of a global new-age movement towards eco-safe tourism, which includes Alaska's Panhandle heritage. We should all be concerned when our appointed Alaska congressional delegate sees private enterprises timber extraction and gold mining as more desirable than the much less invasive eco-tourism process.

Alan R. Munro


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