It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform we must cancel our 2020 fishing season at Nushagak River Adventures Lodge.
Sadly it is the only deducible response to this unfortunate pest COVID-19 as we are up against three large factors being the mandates by the State of Alaska, the local guidelines enforced in Dillingham, and the unknown of Ravn Airlines bankruptcy situation.
The State of Alaska issued health mandate 010 (https://covid19.alaska.gov/health-mandates/) that has been extended to May 19th. This mandate enforces people arriving in Alaska to self quarantine for 14 days and monitor for illness. This has been extended from its previous date. We do not know what is going to happen from there.
Additionally there are community leaders in Bristol Bay urging Governor Dunleavy to evaluate a fisheries closure for the year in the area. Their goal is to essentially close off Bristol Bay to outsiders this summer in an effort to protect their people. Medical supplies, medical personnel and hospitalization capacity are ill equipped in the event of a viral outbreak. Clearly we can’t ignore this cry from the local community to consider their welfare. And on top of it there are more mandates and protocols that further prohibit our travel schedule and resources.
Another large hurdle is the current bankruptcy situation with Ravn. While we do believe they can come out of this situation with federal aid and support to serve Alaska again, the status is unknown as to whether and when they will fly.
This COVID-19 is a financial strain on all of us—our businesses and employees, but I know this is the right decision to make, both for your safety and the piece of mind of our neighbors, the local residents of Bristol Bay.
I have adjusted the 2021 season schedules, moving everyone booked in 2020 to within a day or two (of their 2020 reservations) to dates in 2021. I will reach out to individual parties to ensure your dates work and adjust as needed. If you were planning to book for 2021 and were not scheduled in 2020, please let me know this right away so I can make dates work for you as well. We do have an expanded season beginning next year so I am confident we can satisfy all parties.
You will most likely see social media posts saying Alaska is loosening up and that charters, guides and lodges are operating. Most of these will be for Southcentral Alaska in areas where a second remote flight is not necessary and the medical infrastructure is present. This is not the case for Bristol Bay. You can view the letters to the Governor of Alaska from various Bristol Bay leaders by following the links down below.
There is nothing we want more than to host you in camp this summer, but it just can’t happen with these compounding and compelling high risk factors. We look forward to a COVID-19 vaccine and to the 2021 season.
Until we fish again,
Pete von Jess