Opinion: Alaska Native village needs a safe road
"As I write this, I'm in King Cove, Alaska. Soon I'll board a plane from Cold Bay to Washington, D.C., to support passage of our wilderness/road study/land exchange bill included in the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, pending before Congress.

Aldo Leopold, pioneer of the conservation movement, declared, "When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect." As spokesman for Aleuts who have always lived in respectful community with land and water, I commend our position to you in contrast to the extreme environmentalists' rhetoric.

A review of history: A meeting is held in Cold Bay, Alaska, just as fishing season is getting under way in isolated King Cove in May of 1970. The goal is to take public testimony on designating land within the Izembek as "wilderness." No one from King Cove attends, nor is invited or solicited for public comment.

Fast forward 10 years. ANILCA is negotiated in Washington, D.C. Provisions within ANILCA codify the "wilderness" designation and quiet title to private property disputes for lands covered by that legislation. King Cove residents don't know about this until agency personnel destroy local cabins after the law passes. It will be years before King Cove and its Agdaagux Tribe learn that their optimum chance to negotiate a transportation corridor to an all-weather airport has slipped away. "

Get the Story:
Ernest Weiss: All King Cove wants is a short gravel road for safe access (The Anchorage Daily News 11/15)

Another Opinion:
Sen. Lisa Murkowski: A Road to Somewhere (The Washington Post 11/17)

Related Stories:
Gov. Palin supports Alaska Native road project (10/17)
House committee approves Alaska Native bill (4/24)
Alaska Native village supports 'Road to Nowhere' (7/23)

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