Three major rivers that flow out of Canada into Southeast Alaska could provide a combined one billion dollars in value for tourism and fisheries on this side of the border over the next three decades. That’s one of the findings in a new study commissioned by a group seeking to highlight potential impacts to those rivers from the mining industry in British Columbia.
The study puts some numbers to the arguments that Southeast Alaska fishermen, tour operators, tribal leaders and communities have been making about the importance of the Taku River near Juneau, Stikine near Wrangell and the Unuk north of Ketchikan. Salmon Beyond Borders commissioned the report, written by the McDowell Group. The findings are that commercial and sport fishing activity along with tourism dollars from the waterways are worth a combined 48 million dollars a year in economic activity including the paychecks for 400 people in Southeast.
“It’s well known to any of us who live in Southeast Alaska know that salmon and commercial fishing have a substantial impact on our region’s economy and that the visitor industry as well,” said Kirsten Shelton-Walker, project manager with the research and consulting business McDowell Group in Juneau. “And so, we were not surprised but it was interesting to find that the impact of these rivers could be as high as almost a billion dollars over a 30-year horizon.”