Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Tongass and Living in the Pacific Northwest

Dusk in Wrangell, Ak. Photo: Michael Davidchik

Living in the Pacific Northwest, I have been blessed to be able to live near the temperate rainforest of the Pacific Cascades. From the coastal lowlands of Central California to the mighty Olympic Peninsula, I have been able to travel, hike, fish and enjoy the splendor of the outdoors. Through all those trips, the one question that had always stuck in my mind was, “What was it like before mankind started to change the landscape and encroach on its every corner.”

Sawmill Creek Photo: Michael Davidchik

Over the course of the last century, man has altered these ecosystems to the point where each hold on by a thread, and species are trending toward extinction. Rivers and creeks have been dammed, natural stream flow has been altered, riparian habitats have been destroyed, trees have been removed, altering the natural environment that has managed to exist for centuries before man moved in. Though State Forests and National Parks have been established, the effects of man, even in those designated locations can be seen.

Skunk Cabbage in bloom in the Spring. Photo: Michael Davidchik

School of Pink Salmon Miles from Downtown Sitka, AK. Photo: Michael Davidchik

The separation of what was, and what we have now became obvious a decade ago when I flew over the lush green mountains and islands of the Tongass National Forest while on my way to Sitka, Alaska. Since then, I have been able to enjoy the Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in the country, our nation’s Salmon Forest. Seeing a pristine intact ecosystem, and being able to catch wild native salmon and steelhead brings more insight to what we fight to maintain every day back home.

Southeast Alaska Steelhead Photo: Michael Davidchik

As a fly fisherman or even a tourist, it is an amazing experience, to be able to walk up a remote river or creek, and stumble upon a pool of salmon, then look upstream and watch a black bear eating today’s catch, then have a bald eagle swoop down and take his choice from the pool minutes later. These experiences are what you take home, and with that seeing what we have lost when we step off that plane.

Commercial Salmon Boat near Mount Edgecombe. Photo: Michael Davidchik

Totem Park, Sitka, Ak. Photo: Michael Davidchik

Fighting to help pressure this natural intact resource is an easy answer. Vital to not only the local and recreational fishing industry, tourism and outdoor industry, the Tongass needs to be preserved as a National Treasure. The preservation and cultural history of the native people of Southeast Alaska, the historical heritage of each community and the future of this National Treasure lay in our hands.  The Tongass National Forest needs to be preserved not only for our selfish interests, but also to remind us of what we work so hard to fight for back home. Today Trout Unlimited’s Tongass 77 initiative is working on preserving the nation’s largest national forest, our salmon forest at a watershed level.  By looking back on history, it is clear, this self-sustaining resource is far too valuable to loose and today's fight will ensure that generations in the future will be able to enjoy the Tongass National Forest.

Friends and family enjoying Southeast Alaska.  Photo: Mike Davidchik Sr. 

This is my submission to the Trout Unlimited 2013 Blogger Tour sponsored by, Tenkara USAFishpond and RIO, and hosted by the Outdoor Blogger Network.


Millsy said...

atta boy steelie mike

Ralph Johnson said...
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