The Bristol Bay Watershed, emptying into the Bering Sea, has sustained Alaskans for generations. It is not only home to some of the largest salmon runs in the world, but also trout, brown bears, moose, one of Alaska’s largest herds of caribou, and a rare population of freshwater seal.
Its remote location, southwest of Anchorage, has long protected the watershed from the meddling of man. Even today, there are few roads in the region.
But the Pebble Mine, proposed by Northern Dynasty Minerals, would change all that, taking this precious habitat and turning it into one of the largest gold and copper mines in the world.
Northern Dynasty has not yet applied for permits, but their current proposal involves both a large open pit and an underground mine. The open pit mine alone would cover more than two square miles and spew toxic pollutants into the water, killing marine life. And worst of all, the Pebble Mine, if approved, would likely open the door for other mines in the region.
That’s unacceptable to many Alaskans – and to the Pebble Pedalers as well. They have ridden before as individuals and as brothers. But never like this. In an effort to stop the mine, the two cyclists have mapped out a trip that will take them from Prudhoe Bay, the northern most point accessible by road in Alaska, to Tierra del Fuego, the southern most tip of Argentina. Before it’s over, they’ll travel through 13 countries, two continents and two hemispheres. They will be forced to learn the words “flat tire” in at least one other language. And the two brothers – Seth and Parker Berling – know that it will not be easy. Their trip is projected to last at least a year.
But as they see it, it’s worth it. From where they stand, there has never been a better reason to ride.
They ride to save Bristol Bay.