My social media and email erupted today with news of the latest OBN/TU blogger tour. 3 emails for goodness sake, just in case I missed it on Facebook, Twitter, and G+. The rules to enter are that one would have to write about why the Tongass is important, what TU is doing blah blah blah.
The problem with this is that I know nothing about the Tongass except that it is the biggest national forest in the system. Other than that it is a blank page to me. And I'm a little confused, as I thought that Bristol Bay was the last great salmon fishery that we all need to be saving. Frankly I'm already weary of that story. Add to this the fact that I have no freaking clue what Trout Unlimited is doing there to preserve things, and I guess I have nothing to say, no starting point, no place of reference.
What is TU doing in the Tongass? Anything? I live in Michigan, birthplace of Trout Unlimited, and our chapter can't get its members to show up for a Tie-One-On (I mean you Miller Van Winkle chapter). How did TU get enough members in Southeast Alaska to rub together to get anything done at all? Or am I underestimating Alaska? Is my corner of the earth that much more remote, or just that much more feral?
Isn't this why I would write a winning essay? To go and see the Tongass, see what Trout Unlimited is accomplishing; to see what loggers, miners, commercial fisheries and others are up to, to see what the heck is going on, make some sense of the scene, to see if in fact there is anything worth saving at all?
Perhaps there's nothing to save. It could be that southeast Alaska and the Tongass National Forest are so far-flung, so difficult to access, so misbegotten, fog-drenched, moss-draped, ferry-fed and underdeveloped that none of us have anything to worry about? It could be that all the calculations have been made and everyone decided it's too far, too wet, too expansive, too expensive, too many customs hassles, too many bears, or there's cheaper lumber close to good highways. After all, the eastern forests have regenerated while no one was looking. Michigan, for instance, is experiencing its third cutting, and we're still covered in forest. There's nearly continuous forest from Minnesota all the way to the Atlantic coast. Why isn't that in danger?
I'm sure there's great fishing there. After all, I've never read about it, therefore it must be good, no- great, no- fantastic in fact.
I'll boil this down. I don't know what is at stake, or what we're saving or why we should care at all. And this is why I would like to go. I'd like to know why it is more important than saving the Sturgeon or Pigeon rivers. I'd like to know why my local TU chapter sucks. I'd like to see if a currently intact riparian system can be saved or needs saving.
And finally, I'd like to just go and fish, be left alone with my thoughts, then tell the world why that's worth preserving, and convince them to DO that.
This is my submission to the Trout Unlimited 2013 Blogger Tour sponsored byFishpond, Tenkara USA and RIO, and hosted by the Outdoor Blogger Network.