Alaska summer 2020/Covid

Clams

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My son has work lined up for this summer as a guide at an Alaskan lodge. He is obviously very excited about it. As of now the lodge still plans to open. Does anyone here have insight into what will become of the Alaskan fishing and tourism industries for the summer of 2020 in light of the Covid-19 situation? Will lodges really be open for business and will regular folks be willing to travel for nonessential reasons such as fishing trips?? I have my doubts. Thanks.
 

fyshy

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My float trip on the Goodnews River in August 2020 has been cancelled. The tribal council in Goodnews Bay banned all out of state travelers for the rest of the year (and mentioned extending the ban into 2021 if needed). ��
 

Clams

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My float trip on the Goodnews River in August 2020 has been cancelled. The tribal council in Goodnews Bay banned all out of state travelers for the rest of the year (and mentioned extending the ban into 2021 if needed). ��
Thanks. That's kind of what I'm expecting to hear, even if not what I want to hear. If that policy is carried state-wide it would absolutely crush the Alaskan tourism industry.
 

Ard

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My answer is that I don't know. Travel within Alaska has been nearly curtailed except for essential resupply of remote locations such as the Villages. If a particular lodge in Western AK. can figure out how to get staff and clients into their air strips without the need for refueling stops at any of the villages they may be able to host fishing. Having worked over there in the past I can tell you it's almost impossible to reach any of the rivers without landing at King Salmon or Dillingham. I don't think that either Raven or Penn Air are scheduling any commuter trips at this time. I did read that the ports are going to strictly monitor the commercial fishing boats and not allowing anyone to disembark boats at ports.

These areas are very isolated and have reported zero cases of this virus so we can imagine they may want to keep things that way. Lodges who are holding onto the idea that this will pass and we'll be running full steam by June 1st are being a bit optimistic I think. I myself don't want to see an influx of tourism here at all. We currently have 325 confirmed cases and growth of numbers has been slow but steady within the population. My wife is the lead of the critical care at the largest hospital here and sees covid19 patients daily. With that in mind I have a heightened awareness of vulnerability. I'm expecting a rather uncrowded season this year and I'm good with that all around considering.
 
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m3moser

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Hi- I have recently learned that Raven Air has filed for bankruptcy. I normally fly Anchorage to King Salmon using Alaska Air but they have, in the past, sub-contracted out through Raven Air (at least in 2019). Before that it was PenAir that was the Alaska Air sub but they are now out of business as well and Raven Air took over their planes in 2019. So getting out to western Alaska is going to be interesting even without all this Covid stuff. King Salmon is a big enough airport to host 737 and larger jets but the usual jets are the Saab Turbo props going in there except during peak commercial fishing demand when employees of the canneries are coming in.
My booked flights via Alaska Air into King Salmon in late August and then early Sept have yet to be cancelled nor have any of the camps that I am booked through have cancelled yet either. We shall see.
 

iv_wjb

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My answer is that I don't know. Travel within Alaska has been nearly curtailed except for essential resupply of remote locations such as the Villages. If a particular lodge in Western AK. can figure out how to get staff and clients into their air strips without the need for refueling stops at any of the villages they may be able to host fishing. Having worked over there in the past I can tell you it's almost impossible to reach any of the rivers without landing at King Salmon or Dillingham. I don't think that either Raven or Penn Air are scheduling any commuter trips at this time. I did read that the ports are going to strictly monitor the commercial fishing boats and not allowing anyone to disembark boats at ports.

These areas are very isolated and have reported zero cases of this virus so we can imagine they may want to keep things that way. Lodges who are holding onto the idea that this will pass and we'll be running full steam by June 1st are being a bit optimistic I think. I myself don't want to see an influx of tourism here at all. We currently have 325 confirmed cases and growth of numbers has been slow but steady within the population. My wife is the lead of the critical care at the largest hospital here and sees covid19 patients daily. With that in mind I have a heightened awareness of vulnerability. I'm expecting a rather uncrowded season this year and I'm good with that all around considering.
Thank your wife for her service. I hope you both can stay well!
 

Ard

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Thanks Wallace she already read your post :)

We currently have 355 diagnosed Corona virus cases here. While some may say that's good I guess it is when compared to New Jersey but it is 322 higher than it was just under 4 weeks ago.

I just came home from a trip to Fred Myer and Home Depot. With so many people seeming ignorant of staying apart and the use of any sort of mask I do expect our numbers to continue to trend upward albeit slowly.

The best part is when the guys without the mask look at me like I'm some dumbass.
 

fq13

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I am from South Florida. Even if I were willing to subject myself to the Petri dish of air travel for 14 hours, plus the stop over at Sea-Tac (which I am not), I doubt any sane small Alaska town would want me there. Doubly true since my first flight would come from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. Just like here in Fl., The out of state tourism business is going to take it on the chin. Do you want to go to Disney World now? Hell, the Keys have road blocks keeping non residents out, and this during the tarpo n run which is huge business. Alaska would be wise to follow suite since the medical infra-structure can't handle an out break out in the sticks. I would let your kid bunk with you this summer, and hope it's better next year.
 

Ard

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Thanks Wallace she already read your post :)

We currently have 355 diagnosed Corona virus cases here. While some may say that's good I guess it is when compared to New Jersey but it is 322 higher than it was just under 4 weeks ago.
Posted the above yesterday (Thursday) at 2 PM.

This morning the number is 364. These are confirmed cases, basically people who came into one of our relatively few hospitals in bad enough condition to warrant testing and treatment. The death toll has stayed at 9 for weeks.

Destinations like Kodiak or North Western AK have recorded only 1 each, that's 'one case recorded in each area'.

Native Alaskans meaning genuine Native people are very concerned with anyone coming into their areas of residence or Villages and that is something for outsiders to consider before listening to info from lodge operators. If an operation can arrange to have their clients transported to and from their operations without setting foot in any of the small towns or Villages....... then maybe.

While the non indigenous population of Alaska may be ready to "Open Up" there will be some enclaves that will not want to see any outsiders at all. There are Natives here who had traveled into the cities like Anchorage and have been stranded there since February. Not able to return to their villages if they do not have family in South Central they are no part of the Homeless population. There are additional shelters available because of this situation. So with that in mind one would wonder that if a place like Aniak is refusing their native sons and daughters being repatriated to the village how will they feel about some like me popping in to catch a few of their fish?

Unlike the many people I am surrounded by who show utter distain for the land, the animals, the Native Peoples, and because of their stupidity or selfishness won't even wear some sort of mask to guard against the spread of this virus....... I am and will remain safe as possible. Zero Clients, zero visits to my fishing buddies place, zero bush plane trips and limited exposure to the knuckle dragging public.

My attitude isn't driven by fear it is driven by fact. Facts like my own age and that currently we have no access to any effective treatment for this outside a coin toss. I don't have existing conditions, I don't take any prescribed drugs at all still I am nearing 66 years of age and although not afraid of dying I am not going to rush it.

I'll be doing all my fishing this year via river boat with some of my destinations requiring a 98 mile one way boat ride to get there. Good thing I have those outfitter tents and cots because the in and out one day trips by aircraft are off for now. It's OK because I love camping out there and if I don't have clients that means I don't need the $500.00 Commercial Land Use Permit :)

Matter of fact, between insurances and permitting alone I have already saved $2100.00 which isn't a bad thing here. This may be the end of my bargain basement fishing trips business. It's been ten years since I just went fishing alone when I wanted and at the peak times of the season, I am very much looking forward to it.
 

fq13

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A great post. Folks need to think of what they are exposing others to and not be like those jerks from NYC going to their summer homes in the Hamptons and buying up the groceries and exposing small towns with twenty bed hospitals to an out break. On the upside, you will have a river to yourself during the king salmon run.:eek: Make sure to practice social distancing from the bears!
 

prmike307

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Posted the above yesterday (Thursday) at 2 PM.

This morning the number is 364. These are confirmed cases, basically people who came into one of our relatively few hospitals in bad enough condition to warrant testing and treatment. The death toll has stayed at 9 for weeks.

Destinations like Kodiak or North Western AK have recorded only 1 each, that's 'one case recorded in each area'.

Native Alaskans meaning genuine Native people are very concerned with anyone coming into their areas of residence or Villages and that is something for outsiders to consider before listening to info from lodge operators. If an operation can arrange to have their clients transported to and from their operations without setting foot in any of the small towns or Villages....... then maybe.

While the non indigenous population of Alaska may be ready to "Open Up" there will be some enclaves that will not want to see any outsiders at all. There are Natives here who had traveled into the cities like Anchorage and have been stranded there since February. Not able to return to their villages if they do not have family in South Central they are no part of the Homeless population. There are additional shelters available because of this situation. So with that in mind one would wonder that if a place like Aniak is refusing their native sons and daughters being repatriated to the village how will they feel about some like me popping in to catch a few of their fish?

Unlike the many people I am surrounded by who show utter distain for the land, the animals, the Native Peoples, and because of their stupidity or selfishness won't even wear some sort of mask to guard against the spread of this virus....... I am and will remain safe as possible. Zero Clients, zero visits to my fishing buddies place, zero bush plane trips and limited exposure to the knuckle dragging public.

My attitude isn't driven by fear it is driven by fact. Facts like my own age and that currently we have no access to any effective treatment for this outside a coin toss. I don't have existing conditions, I don't take any prescribed drugs at all still I am nearing 66 years of age and although not afraid of dying I am not going to rush it.

I'll be doing all my fishing this year via river boat with some of my destinations requiring a 98 mile one way boat ride to get there. Good thing I have those outfitter tents and cots because the in and out one day trips by aircraft are off for now. It's OK because I love camping out there and if I don't have clients that means I don't need the $500.00 Commercial Land Use Permit :)

Matter of fact, between insurances and permitting alone I have already saved $2100.00 which isn't a bad thing here. This may be the end of my bargain basement fishing trips business. It's been ten years since I just went fishing alone when I wanted and at the peak times of the season, I am very much looking forward to it.
I appreciate your post. It answers a lot of questions I sent in a private message.
 

Ard

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Hi Mike,

Sorry for not getting back to you right away but even in a pandemic there is yard work that needs done and today I'm going to pull the boat out of the shop and get her cleaned up :)

The count has remained a slow increase today's number of confirmed (tested and in treatment or quarantine) stands at 370 with the deaths still at 9 confirmed. It is doubtless that the lack of outsiders entering AK. combined with the social distancing that is always part of living here are factors. Once outside Anchorage people live at distances unless part of a condo type development. Ourselves we live in a single family home on 3.3 acres with no one but Nancy or I coming or going and we both wear a mask when we go somewhere public. Many people don't and may not be at a great risk as a result of that choice. When faced with a systemic situation regardless of its roots I live by the old slogan, "You are either part of the solution or you're part of the problem". WIth that in mind II continue to do my small bit and hope to see things return to normalcy by next spring.

With the general collapse of the oi industry and tourism at this time I expect additional economic pressure to come onto residents in the form of additional taxes and fees associated with doing any sort of commerce. For instance; the various permits, licenses and insurances have made my little guide business near a break even operation for years. I have been under pressure from the IRS to earn more money thus pay more taxes on the earnings or to cease doing business. If another layer of expense were to be laid on top of what I already am forced to spend and pay out it's a no brainer that I am done with being the cheap way to fish Alaska. I've never charged as much for a 16 hour day on the river in a jet boat as the majority of walk & wade or drift boat guides charge in the lower 48. Anyone who ever hired me knows that but I was trying to help those who don't come from the 'silk stocking' neighborhoods fulfil a dream. Honestly I think that's done for. I have not had a single inquiry since last December and the couple I had arranged are cancled as well they should be at this time.

The lodges out in western AK. will no doubt be under extreme pressure to host clients because there is one hell of an investment in those remote camps dependent on the annual flow of clients and income. Things are going to change for sure after this year. If enough guides and lodges in South Central go belly up I may stay in because I could offer higher quality fishing if 50% of the commercial pressure on these rivers were to be removed.

Any way you cut it things are shaky at best.
 

bushak

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Pretty much the only game in Western Alaska, in the Kuskokwim Delta, are float trips on the Kwethluk and Kisarilik river but good luck getting a plane. Most people rebooked to those rivers once Goodnews and Quinhagek put pressure on the lodges. Might be a good summer to try a do it yourself trip. If so I'd highly recommend getting the book The Highway Angler by Gunnar Pederson. My girlfriend and I do quite a bit of in-state traveling during the summer and that book has allowed me to make the most out of each trip by largely avoiding the masses. It helps that I don't really care about catching salmon since we can subsistence net on the Kuskokwim.
 
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