Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Eyak Preservation Council?
We are a social advocacy group of cultural and environmental preservationists dedicated to protecting and preserving wild salmon habitat and the wild salmon traditional way of life. EPC is a 501(c)(3) organization that was formed after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. EPC is not to be confused with the Native Village of Eyak (the federally recognized tribe of Cordova) or the Eyak Corporation (an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act for-profit corporation in the surrounding region).
- Where do you work?
EPC is based in the small fishing village of Cordova (the Eyak traditional homelands), in South Central Alaska. Our region of wild salmon includes the Prince William Sound and Copper River watersheds, and the Gulf of Alaska. Although off the road system, and only accessible by boat or plane, Cordova hosts one of the largest commercial fishing ports for wild salmon in North America.
- Why is wild salmon habitat so important?
The wild salmon habitat in this region supports an 100% renewable, healthy, organic food source for people all over the world. This pristine region provides not only commercial fishing jobs for thousands of people and their families, but also traditional subsistence harvesting of wild seafoods for the entire community. The First Nation's People still rely on and honor the wild salmon as their giver of life. Our namesake's tribe, the Eyak, are a salmon and forest people. Their culture and traditions are dependent on the returning wild salmon to this day.
If protected, the pristine forests and waters required for thriving wild salmon will continue to persist - as they have for thousands of years - supporting yearly returns of spawning salmon to freshwater streams, generations after generation. Wild salmon are an endangered species all over the world. Between pollution, overfishing, destructive development practices and climate change, once abundant salmon runs have disappeared or been greatly diminished. EPC works to keep salmon Forever Wild! And we welcome your help!
- What do you actually do?
EPC is an environmental watchdog group also working to protect the Eyak culture and language from extinction. Our Habitat Protection program monitors proposed development projects and threats to the environment. We reach out to our regional, statewide and national community with information and direction regarding how - as a grassroots movement - we can work together to enforce appropriate policies for social change that will protect our wild salmon way of life. We help facilitate citizen involvement such as submitting public comments, writing letters to elected representatives and government officials, signing petitions, and litigation.
EPC invites people to come and take part in experiential adventures in Cordova. Visitors experience a pristine and productive wilderness that supports returning wild salmon. We show people what wild really means! We also provide wild salmon for benefits and take part in and host community events.
Our Culture program fosters the preservation of traditions and promotion of Eyak language and culture. We are working to revitalize the endangered Eyak language. Every summer EPC hosts the Annual Eyak Culture Camp in Cordova.
- When do you use activism (protests, demonstrations, road blockades, bridge lock downs)?
While EPC is not opposed to civil disobedience, it is never our first choice of action. EPC has utilized demonstrations and non-violent activism only a couple of times in the 25 + years we have been an organization, acting each time in the public interest. Almost 100% of the time EPC uses other types of citizen involvement such as submitting public comments, writing letters to elected representatives and government officials, petitions and litigation. We use public demonstrations and non-violent activism when all other options have been previously exhausted without seeing the change we are looking for. While these have been successful actions, they must always be followed up with public support and involvement in enacting wise policies that protect habitat and our commitment to sustainable and resilient communities.
- Where is the controversy?
The work EPC does is not controversial. We work to preserve wild salmon habitat and culture so communities, jobs and the commerce that depend on this productive renewable resource will continue to flourish, forever. Protecting wild salmon habitat and the jobs that depend on it sometimes means stopping or changing development projects that would threaten or destroy habitat. EPC will challenge laws, policies, and short-sighted development that does raise the ire of status-quo, and business interests based on greed. With so much of the world already developed, EPC works to keep one of the last truly wild places truly WILD!