The past reveals folly of access road

Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I write in light of the recent news about the progress of the Juneau access road. As a Juneau resident of Tlingit ancestry, I strongly urge you to take into consideration the following when making your decision.

The past gives us a taste of what others have done and a context for our present. In the past, the Tlingit Indians roamed this land. My people settled in places such as Auke Bay and Sandy Beach. They chose the most habitable land. The avalanche chutes and rough terrain make the land of the proposed road inhospitable. My people utilized the sea and maintained life by travel on water.

Presently, the Alaska Marine Highway System uses the waterways to transport many people safely to their destination. I believe in ferries. I would like to see the Fairweather commute between Haines and Juneau. I love riding the ferry, because I see the beautiful trees and the mammals. I ride with my friends and neighbors who depend on the system for transport from villages such as Hoonah, Kake and Metlakatla.

Many people come to Alaska to see the pristine land and untouched wilderness. The one million tourists who come here expect a different life than the one from which they came. Building a road along the Inside Passage will open the area for more trash and dumping of fridges and freezers. I, and I'm sure tourists, would not like to see these things in the wilderness.

The Department of Transportation has proposed building a road to Katzehin River Delta where they will build another ferry terminal. What does this half-hearted attempt achieve?

I believe that we, as people, have the power to affect change. I would like to see change for the benefit of all people. We have a tough decision to make. Please take all sides into consideration.

Helen Watkins


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