Exposing the Preposterous Pebble Mine

Salmon State’s Rachel James hikes the remote access route for the proposed mega-mine in the headwaters of Bristol Bay
Rachel James
Credit: Courtesy of Salmon State

In the relentless battle against the globally condemned Pebble Mine—proposed for construction in the headwaters of the world’s greatest wild salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska—there are many contributors. The opposition is led by the people of Bristol Bay, where the project has generated a singular level of opposition over many years, and aided by millions of allies in Alaska, the lower 48, and internationally, including NRDC and its 3 million members and activists.

Consider Rachel James, one of those allies, working with Salmon State, an Alaska-based organization dedicated to the protection of salmon and their habitat and Pebble’s demise. To highlight the absurdity of the plan currently proposed for the Pebble Mine by its Canadian owner Northern Dynasty Minerals, she has set out to walk the proposed alignment for the project’s access and supply road from Amakdedori Beach on Kamishak Bay at Cook Inlet overland for 35 miles to the proposed site of a barge port near Kokhanok, on the southern shore of Iliamna Lake. From this port, the corridor is proposed to run 18 miles across the lake—using heavy-duty ice-breakers in winter months—and then overland for another 25 miles to the mine site.

The proposed transportation corridor, like the project as a whole, is preposterous, fraught with peril in countless ways, through remote, undeveloped terrain that includes some of the most robust brown bear habitat in the world, adjacent to the renowned MacNeil River State Wildlife Sanctuary. 

It’s one thing to fly over the route in a small plane, as I did last month; it’s another thing to walk the entire southern corridor, as Rachel is doing. Rachel’s trek reflects not only physical stamina but her courage and commitment to do whatever it takes to expose the level of desperation to which Northern Dynasty and its shareholders have fallen.

You can follow Rachel’s trek in real time here.

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