Letter to the Editor

Rampart Dam was a terrible idea

To the editor: I am a fisheries biologist working in part on salmon migrations in the Yukon River. I was profoundly disturbed by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner editorial on Oct. 27, suggesting that we missed a great opportunity 60 years ago to produce tremendous amounts of power by constructing a massive dam on the Yukon River at the Rampart Rapids, a narrow point on the Yukon River about 40 miles upstream from the community of Tanana.

I thought about writing about the great harm that this dam would have caused to the enormous amount of waterfowl nesting habitat in the Yukon Flats upstream that would have been flooded by this dam and about the tremendous salmon runs that would have been compromised by such a structure, impeding their migrations to upstream spawning areas in the Canadian parts of the drainage. But I’m comforted now by the knowledge that in the Oct. 31 edition of the paper, Jenny Bell-Jones wrote a much more eloquent rebuttal to this flawed editorial than I ever could have.

Ms. Bell-Jones clearly spelled out the harm not only to the wildlife resources that depend on the free flow of this great river but also to the Native residents of the Yukon Flats region that would have resulted from the construction of this massive dam. I absolutely agree with Ms. Bell-Jones that the Rampart Dam would have been a colossal mistake for our fledgling state. Perhaps the editorial staff at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner should research their opinion pieces a little more carefully in the future.


The Daily News-Miner encourages residents to make themselves heard through the Opinion pages. Readers' letters and columns also appear online at newsminer.com. Contact the editor with questions at letters@newsminer.com or call 459-7574.

Community Perspective

Send Community Perspective submissions by mail (P.O. Box 70710, Fairbanks AK 99707) or via email (letters@newsminer.com). Submissions must be 500 to 750 words. Columns are welcome on a wide range of issues and should be well-written and well-researched with attribution of sources. Include a full name, email address, daytime telephone number and headshot photograph suitable for publication (email jpg or tiff files at 150 dpi.) You may also schedule a photo to be taken at the News-Miner office. The News-Miner reserves the right to edit submissions or to reject those of poor quality or taste without consulting the writer.

Letters to the editor

Send letters to the editor by mail (P.O. Box 70710, Fairbanks AK 99707), by fax (907-452-7917) or via email (letters@newsminer.com). Writers are limited to one letter every two weeks (14 days.) All letters must contain no more than 350 words and include a full name (no abbreviation), daytime and evening phone numbers and physical address. (If no phone, then provide a mailing address or email address.) The Daily News-Miner reserves the right to edit or reject letters without consulting the writer.

Submit your news & photos

Let us know what you're seeing and hearing around the community.