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RE: Protecting habitat protects Alaska business; support reforms to fish and game habitat permit laws.

Dear Alaska decision makers and voters,

As Alaskan business owners, anglers and hunters, we depend on robust populations of fish and game, and healthy habitat to support those populations, to feed our families, pay our employees, and help give visitors and residents alike the sporting experiences they’ve come to expect in Alaska.  Maintaining our wild salmon runs and abundant wildlife populations will help ensure Alaskan businesses, our lucrative recreational fishing and hunting industry, and Alaskan lifestyle continue to thrive.  We support efforts to update our laws and regulations to safeguard important habitat, and we urge our elected officials and fellow Alaskans to do the same.

Healthy ecosystems and abundant fish and wildlife populations bring tourists from around the world to fish, hunt and view wildlife. These activities create more than 43,000 jobs and contribute $4.8 billion annually to Alaska’s economy. The sport-fishing industry in Alaska annually supports more than 1,150 businesses, licenses nearly 2,500 Alaska-resident fishing guides, and hosts more than 450,000 participants.  Our businesses play an important and growing part of our state economy and help buoy Alaska during turbulent economic times by providing a diverse and resilient economic base. Strengthening our laws and regulations for protecting fish and wildlife habitat isn’t just the right choice for natural resources, but it is the right choice for our economy and for the long-term interests of Alaska.

Reforming our fish and game laws and regulations will create predictability. It will give Alaskans the confidence to know that projects permitted in important fish and game habitat will only be developed in a way that protects the natural resources that are the foundation for our businesses. These protections will allow us to continue to invest and grow our businesses with confidence.

Alaska is at a crossroads. As has been demonstrated time after time throughout the Pacific Northwest where habitat degradation played a key role in diminished wild salmon runs, if we fail to adequately protect Alaska’s unique and irreplaceable salmon habitat we will suffer the same fate and Alaska’s abundant salmon runs will become a thing of the past. We must act now to implement new measures to safeguard our abundant fish and game resources while allowing truly responsible projects to move forward.

Therefore, the undersigned businesses and organizations support strengthening the laws and regulations that guide development in salmon habitat and encourage voters to voice their support for salmon habitat protection at the ballot box this November. Our laws and regulations must do more to protect habitat, promote responsible development through science-based decision making, and ensure Alaskans have a voice in decisions impacting the future of our salmon streams and wildlife habitat.

 Sincerely,

David Lisi, Owner, Cooper Landing Fishing Guide LLC - Cooper Landing, AK

Christopher Tobias, Owner, Roe Hard Guide Service LLC - Wasilla, AK

Jason Rockvam, Owner, Wilderness Place Lodge - Anchorage, AK

Dave Bachrach, Owner, Alaska Adventures, Inc. - Homer, AK

Mike Brown, Owner, Mossy’s Fly Shop - Anchorage, AK

Brad Kirr, Owner, Alaska Kenai Fishing For Fun - Palmer, AK

Karl Schultz, President, Southcentral Alaska Trout Unlimited Chapter - Anchorage, AK

Dave Atcheson, Board Member, Kenai Peninsula Trout Unlimited Chapter - Kenai, AK

Kevin Maier, President, Juneau Alaska Chapter of Trout Unlimited - Juneau, AK

Kayla Roys, Marketing Manager, Alaska Fly Fishing Good - Juneau, AK

Jason Lesmeister, Owner, Jason’s Guide Service - Cooper Landing, AK

Lee Kuepper, Owner, Double Haul Fly Fishing - Sterling, AK

Richard Jameson, Owner, Alaska Internet Marketing, Inc - Anchorage, AK

Brian Kaferstein, Co-owner & Guide, Keen Eye Anglers - Seward, AK

Ed Schmitt, Chairman, Kenai Area Fisherman’s Coalition - Soldotna, AK

Dave Lisi, President/Director, Peninsula Rivers Conservancy - Kenai Peninsula, AK

Travis & Lori Price, Owners, Fish Em LLC - Cooper Landing, AK

Heather Kelly, Owner, Heather’s Choice - Anchorage, AK

Heidi Wild, Owner, Wild on the Fly - Wasilla, AK

Zack Walters, Owner, Alaska Clear Water Sportfishing - Cooper Landing, AK

Daren & Tracy Erickson, Owners, Enchanted Lake Lodge - King Salmon, AK

John Hohl, Owner, Alaska Fly Anglers - Kodiak, AK

Dan Michels, Owner/Manager, Crystal Creek Lodge - King Salmon, AK

Martin Kviteng, Owner, Alaska’s Fishing Unlimited Inc. - Port Alsworth, AK

Phil Hilbruner & TJ Dawson, Lakeview Outfitters - Cooper Landing, AK

Michael Adams, Owner, Alaska Angling Adventures, LLC - Cooper Landing, AK

Richard Marshal, Retired USFWS Biologist - Kenai, AK

Charles Ash, Owner, Wild Fly AK - Anchorage, AK

Rus Schwausch, Owner, EPIC Angling & Adventure, LLC - Alaska Peninsula, Alaska

Sarah Fullhart, General Manager, Bristol Bay Mission Lodge - Aleknagik, AK

Josiah Brown, Owner & Guide, Kenai River Trout Anglers - Cooper Landing, AK

Pete Wedin, Owner & Operator, Anchor Watch Vacation Rental - Homer, AK

Michael Trotter, Owner & Guide, Baranof Wilderness Lodge & Beyond Boundaries Expeditions - Sitka, AK

Rebecca Bertke, Chelatna Lake Lodge - Anchorage, AK

Michael Wald, Owner, Arctic Wild - Fairbanks, AK

Dave Maternowski, Fishing Program Manager, Alaska Wildland Adventures - Cooper Landing, AK

Mike Overcast, Owner, Tordrillo Mountain Lodge - Anchorage, Alaska