So what does Berners Bay have that is so good that many of us want to save? I like calling it the bay of four rivers with many gifts of food. Or perhaps we should say it has many gifts of nature.
People come by the thousands from far away to see our part of the world. In the summer of 1996 a young couple from Antwerp, Belgium, stayed at our bed and breakfast. After going home they wrote, "Visiting Alaska was a true lifetime experience for us! Without a doubt this is because of the beautiful nature we encountered. It was the original reason for us to come and visit your country." And further, "after the trip, Alaska is more than just beautiful nature to us! In our view the dominant presence of nature and the lower population density mean that nature is a more active part of your living than for us."
And so, our 1996 guests were looking for nature. That is what Berners Bay has. The economic value of nature is higher then a gold mine in Berners Bay.
Recently a Sonoran Institute economist gave all kinds of information about Juneau economy. Of all the economic opportunities discussed, mining was at the bottom of the list. We don't need a mine in Berners Bay, we need nature. Nature is a renewable resource. According to economists, it is also an amenity resource which improves the lives of workers who live in the area. Minerals are a wasting resource that have a short life span and leave behind a desolated landscape.