Malena Marvin is the Executive Director of Southeast Alaska Conservation Council.
Walk up to most houses in rural Southeast Alaska, including ours, and the first thing you see is an impossibly long row of battered XtraTuf rubber boots. There are boots for the family, the friends who stopped by to chat, extras for the summer folks who came to visit or work as crew, and probably a pair or two with mysterious origins. Together, they tell a story of a certain way of life, one lived by the tidelines and on the water, and one defined by adventure and hard work outdoors.
Wrangellite or Skagwegian, Republican or Democrat, Native or newcomer, our families are diverse. But our family values in this place do have a few common elements. Jars full of berries and fish are the obvious one. A commitment to taking care of friends and neighbors is another. I also look across the islands and fjords of our region and see that few of us are more than one degree of separation from a family whose livelihood depends on fishing or tourism dollars.
It’s in reverence to our unique way of life, to these things that unify us, that today I’m asking Gov. Bill Walker to work harder for clean water, and to walk his talk about putting Alaska’s fish first when it comes to policy.