Priority Landscape: Bristol Bay

Saturday, June 6, 2:15PM MDT

Sportsmen and women from across the world dream of fishing Bristol Bay’s wild rivers, which support the world’s largest remaining wild salmon fishery, 35 fish species (including all five species of Pacific salmon) and nearly half of wild sockeye populations. Located in southwest Alaska, Bristol Bay also attracts hunters from around the globe eager to explore the undisturbed lands that provide wildlife habitat for moose, caribou, bear and large populations of migratory waterfowl.

For generations, this wild watershed has fostered both a sustainable food source and a sustainable workforce for more than 14,000 people who are currently supported by Bristol Bay’s renowned sportfishing, hunting and outdoor recreation economy. The rich natural resources found here sustain Alaskans and Americans for generations to come, thus multiplying their worth indefinitely.

Unfortunately, Bristol Bay is threatened by a proposal to develop one of the largest gold, copper and molybdenum mines in the world. The mineral deposit sits in the heart of salmon country, in the headwaters of the famed Kvichak and Nushagak Rivers. One natural disaster could cause catastrophic damage to the watershed and livelihoods of thousands.

For more than a decade, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has been working alongside Alaskans, indigenous communities and more than 1 million American hunters, anglers and businesses to oppose development of the Pebble Mine. Please join us to hear important perspectives from three expert women leading the conservation charge and fighting for our traditions and values in Alaska. We’ll cover the current policy and political dynamics around Pebble Mine, the social values that ground important traditions in Alaska, the irreplaceable fish and wildlife resources, and hear from the people who make a living hunting and fishing the unique lands and waters of Bristol Bay.

Interested in attending this panel discussion? Visit our Crowdcast platform


Rachel James, SalmonState's Bristol Bay Campaign Coordinator, was born and raised in Palmer, Alaska, has worked with rural Alaskans from Barrow to Yakutat and in the field of environmental policy at the local, state, federal, and international levels. After spending nearly a decade in Patagonia eating farmed salmon, she has returned home to focus on protecting wild Alaskan salmon habitat so her eight-year-old son can enjoy a lifetime of eating healthy, wild fish and wild Alaskan game. 

Kat Carscallen is a lifelong resident of Bristol Bay, raised in a generational fishing family. She captains a commercial drift fishing boat, the F/V Sea Hawk, making a living as part of the longest lasting sustainable salmon fishery in the world.  She currently serves as Executive Director of Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay, a national coalition of fishermen dedicated to protecting Alaska’s greatest wild salmon fishery and the land and waters that sustain it. 

Tia Shoemaker is a Fishing and Registered Alaskan Hunting Guide on the Alaskan Peninsula. She grew up in Becharof National Wildlife Refuge on her families 40 acre homestead.  The Shoemakers have been running their family owned guiding operation out of their homestead for the last 33 years. Tia is a free-lance writer in her off-season and writes passionately about conservation and hunting.  She has been published in numerous magazines and newspapers, her blog posts can be found on Ron Spomer's hunting Blog and she is currently working with another Alaskan Woman to publish a new hunting magazine. When not guiding, she can be found flying her Piper PA-12 airplane, fishing for herself, hiking and traveling the world.