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Tom Hyslop
Tom Hyslop

Tom Hyslop was interviewed on November 18, 2009 by William Schneider and Sidney Stephens at his home in Tanana, Alaska. In this interview, Tom talks about environmental changes he has observed during his time on the land gathering driftwood, hunting, and fishing. Specifically, he mentions the effect that river water level (“June Rise”) has on his ability to collect driftwood for firewood, how the change in weather affects the animals, the impact of fire on the land, and the melting of permafrost.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2009-11-11

Project: Stakeholders and Climate Change Project Jukebox
Date of Interview: Nov 18, 2009
Narrator(s): Tom Hyslop
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider, Sidney Stephens
Transcriber: Carol McCue
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Science Foundation
Alternate Transcripts
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Slideshow
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Sections

Winter Temperature

Ice Thickness

Geese

Tamarack Trees

Summer Temperature

Salmon

Changes in Water Level and Driftwood

2009 Spring Flood

Moose Hunting Season

Fire

Permafrost and Erosion

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Transcript

BILL SCHNEIDER: I'm Bill Schneider, Sid Stephens is here, it's November 18th, 2009.

And we have the pleasure of talking today with Tom Hyslop (HIGH SLIP)-- did I pronounce that right?

TOM HYSLOP: Yes. Yes.

BILL SCHNEIDER: So thanks for taking the time, Tom. And we're going to talk about some of the issues that you've been seeing in the way of climate change or climate variability or fluctuations here in Tanana.

And I understand you're originally from Northway?

TOM HYSLOP: Northway, yes.

BILL SCHNEIDER: So how long have you been here?

TOM HYSLOP: Since 1967.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Well, that's a good, long time.

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah, I've been other places for a few years, but mostly here since 1967. Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Well, what are some of the things that you're observing that you think we should know about in the way of climate variability?

TOM HYSLOP: I think there's shorter cold spells in the winter versus like when I first moved here in the late '60s, early '70s, it seemed like there was at least -- there was --

there was colder temperatures for longer period -- periods of time.

So -- but now, it seems like some years you get one -- one day of 40 below and that's it.

And that's what I've been observing.

BILL SCHNEIDER: What's the impact of that, not having that really cold weather?

TOM HYSLOP: Well, you have in the wintertime, you have -- the ice thickness is, you know, is -- I mean, it -- you have more of a chance of falling through the ice on the rivers and in the lakes.

And then you see a lot of more -- a lot more open water year around.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Yeah. That's something that hasn't come up yet in the discussion is the lack of ice thickness and the impact of warmer temperatures on -- on the ice.

So that's interesting to hear.

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's a -- it's a safety issue, you know.

So when you go out in the woods, you have to be careful, you know, more so than a long time ago.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Uh hum.

TOM HYSLOP: You know.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Absolutely. Yeah.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: So -- hmm. So then you think it's those -- those long cold spells that are really needed to -- to make sure that the ice is solid and safe?

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely, yeah.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: And then if it were, say, just 10 below consistently, you wouldn't -- you wouldn't get the same kind of --

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Okay.

TOM HYSLOP: It would be thinner ice and more unsafe, you know.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Yeah.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Uh hum.

TOM HYSLOP: So like -- like up at the Tanana River, flying in yesterday, you know, there's open water almost all the way across the river at Six Mile Island, you know, so

it's still -- still open channels so -- but it's -- the winter has just started, so -- so it should freeze over.

BILL SCHNEIDER: I'm picking up a little bit of your tapping.

TOM HYSLOP: Okay. Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: So if it's more comfortable, take the shoe off on that foot and you can keep tapping.

Well, that's -- that's neat that you mention a place because that gives us some indications of where to look for -- for problems in the river.

TOM HYSLOP: Right. And then up at Hay Slough there, I think there's a -- you know, that's up between -- that's a slough that's a couple miles above us,

it's between the Yukon and Tanana River, and that's been a problem off and on, you know, with freezing up.

And then in the -- in the springtimes you might -- you get -- you get -- you get earlier springs, and then the geese hunting's impacted that way. You know,

I used to drive dogs up to Fish Lake, which is about 18 miles from here, and it seems like we used to use dogs, you know, we could use dogs back then because the ice was thicker and there was less water, you know.

So -- and then -- and then now it seem like you'll be taking a chance of having your dogs drowning or yourselves drowning because of the warmer springs.

So you don't see that anymore, people driving dogs up there to geese hunt, you know, in the springtime, so that's...

BILL SCHNEIDER: What about the timing of geese hunting? Has that changed?

TOM HYSLOP: It seems like it's pretty consistent. You know. In May, late -- oops, I'm sorry. Let me get a -- get a piece of --

BILL SCHNEIDER: There you go. There you go. Okay.

TOM HYSLOP: But you want to touch on the tamarack trees a little bit? Because of the --

BILL SCHNEIDER: Sure. Do you want to move to that? Okay.

TOM HYSLOP: You know, I made -- used to make fish wheels. And the baskets, the easiest way to make the baskets on a -- on a fish wheel is to use tamarack poles.

And -- in the last 10, 15 years, with this warming, it seem like there's more -- there was a larvae that came and just killed all the -- the good tamarack trees,

they were mostly along the riverbanks, they were nice and straight, and that's what the fishermens prefer to use.

And so they are all -- you'd see stands and stands of them along the riverbanks, they are all dead now. They are dried up and dead.

And the only tamarack that's left are the bad ones, you know, the ones that grow real crooked and they are out in the -- and they are short and they are not real long, so I've seen that change.

But that might be a cycle, I'm not 100 percent on that, you know -- you know, with the tamarack tree, the long -- the long, slender ones.

So I've seen that. And other people, like Lester Erhart, you know, seen that, whereas, you know, when you -- now we have to look for the spruce poles, and that's hard -- hard to find.

So I just want to touch on that.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Sure.

TOM HYSLOP: The tamarack stands being decimated.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Yeah. And has -- has anyone weighed in on that? I mean, have any -- have any scientists have been researching that or talk -- talked with you guys about it?

TOM HYSLOP: I think most articles I see in the newspaper has been from Ned Rozell from -- I think he's at the university or something.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Yeah.

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah. And he -- I save these clippings, newspaper clippings, and -- and then he pretty much explains --

explains in detail why, like, the tamarack trees have been dying, you know, but -- but I think it's just these insects move in because it's warmer. You know, that's my thought on it.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: How about going back to temperature, you were talking about the wintertime not having the cold snaps and stuff, but you also, earlier, you were mentioning about you were keeping track of weather in the summer?

TOM HYSLOP: Oh, yes. I -- I keep a calendar diary of summer temperatures and 80 degrees or warmer, and seem like it's been getting warmer, you know.

Like in Tanana here, we're probably on par with Fairbanks temperature with the 80 degree plus temperatures, and I think we get more down here some summers.

And it's maybe in the last five years, I've seen maybe two summers with around ten or more days, and that's -- whereas before, maybe you get one or two or up to five, and I think that's an indication of, you know, the summers getting warmer.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: What -- what impact does that have on things? How does that effect --

TOM HYSLOP: Well, let's see, the forests are drying out and there's more forest fires, and then -- and then rivers and lakes are warming up, and then -- so you see changes in the fish population.

And it's -- that's what I've been observing right there.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Uh hum.

TOM HYSLOP: The king salmon has been impacted by the -- the warming Yukon River, and then -- and other salmon, you know, the chum and stuff like that. So I don't -- and what else. Let's see.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Are the chum getting the ichthyophonus as well as the kings?

TOM HYSLOP: I really don't know. I just know the kings have the ich. And then seem with the -- I catch a lot of firewood, you know, that -- that come down -- that drifts down the river, we call it driftwood, it's spruce, white spruce that we collect for firewood, and

seem like some years there's not very many -- much driftwood just because of the low snowfall and stuff -- and warmer temperatures. So a lot of people depend on this driftwood.

BILL SCHNEIDER: How does that work? How do you get that driftwood?

TOM HYSLOP: Well, there's more than one method, but the method I use is I -- I get on my boat and -- and then I go upriver about a mile, and then I just kind of wait around, and the drifts in the springtime with the high water,

just look for a suitable log and then just -- you have -- you have rope and you tie the log -- tie off the log, and then you have a little -- in your transom area, you have like a handle or a hole in your transom on the top,

and you just tie -- attach it to that, the rope to that, one end to that, and then you -- you drag it to shore. And usually you try to use an eddy so you're not in the current.

You know, so you just start with one log, and pretty soon you end up with 20 in one raft, and then you start another raft, and hopefully in the same eddy, then you just -- you just -- and then you just keep it there.

I mean, what I do is I try to have three, four rafts of 20 or -- let's say 20 to a raft, and so I try to get 40, 60. Some -- one year I almost got 100. I think I got 99.

And then you just leave it there until -- until the falltime, the water drops. And I try to leave the stump on so the log is off the ground, so it won't get rocks or mud on the -- on the drift log.

So you just go out there and when it's nice and cool and windy and you just start cutting, cutting away, and block it all up, and leave the sawdust on the -- down at the riverbank, so my wife is happy, I'm happy, you don't have to rake up the sawdust in the spring, you know.

So it's -- it's a little art to living in the village. You know what I mean. And I see a lot more people doing that, you know, blocking up the wood over the riverbank, and it's -- it doesn't cost very much to do.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Ice -- is the ice running when you do that, or is it after it runs?

TOM HYSLOP: It's after, but you see little chunks running down, I mean flowing down, you know, probably about 8, 10 inches pieces, that's probably coming out of the glaciers or the creeks or something.

It's cold water, that's for sure.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: So you stash it on the -- in kind of an eddy area?

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: And then you go back in the fall and block it up. And so --

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: -- how big -- how big do you cut it and how do you get it from there home?

TOM HYSLOP: Usually -- usually a pickup, you know, and then we cut it stove length. I mean, I do. I just -- you know, a foot and a half long.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Oh.

TOM HYSLOP: That way you don't have to lift up a heavy piece of wood, you know, like a 4 foot -- a 4 foot long piece of wood almost 2 foot in diameter, that gets pretty heavy, you know.

So it's -- you just try to make them -- block them up small and save your back. That's all I could say on that, you know.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Oh, I'm glad we asked because I had this -- I had this idea that you sort of rafted them all up, that you were farther away from Tanana --

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: -- that you wouldn't have a truck, you know, and that you kind of rafted them all up and somehow pushed them or dragged them downriver, or -- or herded them, herded them. I guess. Down river.

TOM HYSLOP: Some people do that, they go make -- they go upriver, and they just assemble their raft, a wood raft, and they bring it down with a boat and dock it, and then they bring it out with a pickup or a four wheeler, or you can -- you can manhandle it, you know.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Uh hum.

TOM HYSLOP: I've seen people pack wood up from the riverbank to the top of the bank, and I've -- I did that a few times myself.

BILL SCHNEIDER: And how much time do you have when -- after breakup, how much time do you have to get driftwood?

TOM HYSLOP: Let's see. Breakup is, what, second week in May, sometimes third week, so it will be end of May, first week in June, around there.

I have a -- my calendar records of this but I don't really have it -- I don't have it with me now.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Yeah.

TOM HYSLOP: I keep track of my wood count and stuff like that. That's one of the things I keep track of in my calendar is how much wood I get. And the -- you know, other things, like moose and --

BILL SCHNEIDER: Yeah. One of the questions -- one of issues that's come up is that some people have said that the June rise is -- is not as -- it doesn't last as long as it used to.

TOM HYSLOP: Oh, yes. That's right. Because seem like the driftwood used to go for around three days real solid; now it's just one day, solid drift run.

And then it will take two days to taper off. It seemed like it was more like five days the whole -- the whole run of driftwood.

BILL SCHNEIDER: It would be real interesting to look at your notes on that

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: -- and see what -- see what they indicate.

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: To graph that, you know.

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Yeah, especially if you were -- I mean, if you keep track of when you go out, you'd have a really solid record of -- of that day over the last many years.

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: And it would be curious to compare that to people's sense of the timing, you know

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: -- since you've been marking it.

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah, I've been keeping track of the driftwood run, pretty much --

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Interesting.

TOM HYSLOP: -- the last 15, 20 years, maybe. I don't know. I -- I just thought I'd keep a diary, just -- just -- just because it is interesting to me, you know, just...

BILL SCHNEIDER: Well, it's interesting to us, too.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: In terms of what people have been saying.

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah. Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: And what is so important is the fuel here in this community.

TOM HYSLOP: Oh, yes, yes, yes. The price of oil is just sky high. And usually we burn wood, you know, and -- but this year's the exception because of the flood of, you know, the spring -- past spring's flood, you know, the -- it pretty much washed our driftwood out so there wasn't much of a drift run.

You know, all the -- the flood is -- the ice -- the ice just took everything out, you know.

You see a lot of driftwood going down with the ice, and so it -- there wasn't much happening on the wood this year, so a lot of people -- plus a lot of people lost their wood during the flood.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Ah, huh.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Maybe that's a good chance for us to segue into talking about the flood.

Has the flood added any perspective to your thinking about climate change, climate variability?

TOM HYSLOP: Well, it sure seemed like there was no climate change last winter because it was a colder than, you know, the warmer winters, you know.

We got so used to the warm winters. But it -- it was -- you know, I think it was a combination of factors that led up to this flood, you know, like -- like the river froze up real high last fall.

It -- I think it was like Galena or I don't know how far downriver, but I know I talked to people in Fort Yukon and into Canada, you know, the river froze up high and froze up rough, you know, and then it snowed a lot and it got really cold.

Then the breakup was -- it was -- it got cold again in the -- in the spring. So it --

like here in Tanana, you know, like it got -- the spring, it got cold, whereas it should have been breaking up. And so downriver it stayed solidly frozen, and then when it did break up, it flooded, you know.

And that's the first time it flooded since 1937. And my mother-in-law, Josephine, she went through the flood in Galena, or Old Louden, and they -- so she went through two floods, you know, in her lifetime.

And she stayed here -- stayed with both of them, so she was the oldest.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: And was her house okay?

TOM HYSLOP: Yes. She was -- she was -- she was fine.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Well, that's good.

BILL SCHNEIDER: That's good. What about after the flood, in terms of the water?

Did that water have any impact on the land or the resources?

TOM HYSLOP: Let's see. I think it was -- no, I don't -- I haven't really thought about that, you know.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Some people have said that -- that that flushing of water into the system kind of refreshed it.

TOM HYSLOP: That's right. It seemed like there was more water in the lakes, yes, you know. And that -- that's helpful, you know, whereas the last -- since -- I noticed since, you know, like in '73,

I was out in the -- like springtime, muskrating a little bit, and that was -- seemed like that's when it started happening, the lakes started probably were drying up, you know.

It seemed like it was drier around the lake -- I mean, between '73 and now, whereas it used to be water around the edges of the lakes.

It seems like now you could just walk, you know, where there used to be water around the lakes, and so I seen that happen, you know.

But this year with the flood, it -- there was more water around the lakes.

So that -- that was helpful, you know. But there's still no muskrats hardly, you know, but that's a whole another story, I'm sure.

BILL SCHNEIDER: People in Fort Yukon and Chalkyitsik talk a lot about muskrats.

TOM HYSLOP: Oh, yes.

BILL SCHNEIDER: And changing of that.

TOM HYSLOP: Yup, I was born in Northway, and so we hunted and trapped muskrats, you know. So...

BILL SCHNEIDER: Did -- are the lakes holding the water now, or have they drained? Or is it -- or is it impossible to say?

TOM HYSLOP: We'll see next -- next year, probably. And let's see. What else.

Oh, yeah. And then getting back to -- well, I don't know if you want to talk about the moose.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Sure. Yeah.

TOM HYSLOP: Seem like with the last, you know, since the '80s or, you know, seem like the falltime has been -- has been getting warmer, and -- and now -- and the moose, the bull moose, they are rutting later.

And then seems like it's harder to hunt and the season doesn't really -- the open hunting season doesn't really coincide with the moose rutting anymore,

so people are getting less moose, less bull moose, and then -- so I -- I think that's a change, you know, with later falls and warmer falls.

So you need -- you need the cold weather for the moose to get into the rut cycle.

So that's a change -- a big change, so we need, you know, just like the wood, you know, we need -- we need the moose meat.

And we need the king salmon and stuff, you know.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Yeah. How does that work with the -- with the moose and cold weather?

TOM HYSLOP: I think -- I think it's a chemistry within the moose's body that they need the cold weather to -- for them to get into that rut cycle.

And that way they -- they are more active and they are moving around more.

They also -- and that's with the warmer temperatures, you see less bulls moving around.

BILL SCHNEIDER: So it's harder to hunt them when they are not moving around?

TOM HYSLOP: Yes. Yes. And you have to go way back in the woods, you know, and so it takes more effort to -- to get a bull. And that's what -- that's what everybody -- most everybody's doing.

You have to -- you have to go way back, you know, and then you're -- but there are bulls around, but sometimes, you know, the bulls way back are the -- the breeding bulls, they are the big ones, you know.

And -- and you don't want to take too many big ones, you know. They are the -- you know, you want the smaller ones, you know.

That's what I think. But you do have to take what you can get, you know.

And I've taken some, you know, 60 inchers before, and those are the good -- the good trophy breeding bulls, you know.

I just -- I feel bad taking them, you know, but you need to eat.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: So when you say you have to go way back on the land, so when you're on the river, obviously, you're kind of cruising in a boat, right? And using --

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: -- using gas, and whatnot. So when you're -- when you say you have to go way back in the woods, how are you travelling?

TOM HYSLOP: Usually -- usually there's portages, you know, that's been there for generations, you know, and it's mostly locals that know these trails, you know.

And then on these trails, there's usually lakes, and then you have a canoe that's right close to your camp, if you take a bull way back on a -- across a lake or something, you need to go get your canoe, you know,

so that's -- that's how we hunt, you know, now, pretty much, you know. We just -- and then you don't want to go -- what I do is I count my steps.

You know, I -- I -- you know, a long portage is 800 steps, you know, 1, 2, like that, and then -- I mean, that's doable, you know.

That's -- I don't know how far that is, but -- and then -- then you can throw -- you can throw the moose in the -- I mean, like, if you shot it on a lake, you can --

that's pretty easy to portage the moose out in the canoe -- I mean, put in the canoe and paddle it out, and then you can take the 800 steps to get to the boat on the riverbank, and that's doable, you know. But

-- you don't want to go too much further than that, you know. It's -- it's --

BILL SCHNEIDER: It's a lot of weight.

TOM HYSLOP: -- it's a long pack, you know.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Yeah.

TOM HYSLOP: A 20 minute pack, or -- is a long pack with -- with moose, with moose meat.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Yeah, for sure.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Well, and especially if it's warm and you're trying to get it back to refrigeration and all.

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah. Yeah.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: You don't want to fiddle with timing.

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah. Yeah.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Uh hum.

TOM HYSLOP: Three days -- two or three days with the -- the moose, you know, being -- I mean, if it's not hung or if it's -- that's about the limit, you know, if you're worried about spoilage.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Yeah. Well, that's interesting.

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah. So we -- I've done a lot of that canoeing and portaging for moose.

BILL SCHNEIDER: But if the -- when the cold weather comes, the moose begin their rut --

TOM HYSLOP: Yes.

BILL SCHNEIDER: -- begin moving around.

TOM HYSLOP: Yes, uh hum.

BILL SCHNEIDER: It's easier to --

TOM HYSLOP: It's easier, they are closer to the river, and they are moving around, you know, they're running around.

You've just got to know where to hunt.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Is there a reason they are closer to the river?

TOM HYSLOP: I think they're -- when it's colder, I think the ice tends to freeze, you know, along the meadows, meadow lakes, and I think they move toward open water.

That's my opinion, but -- because I don't think they really like ice. You know. That's -- that's my observations right there.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Well, several people have said that they are moving towards the river at that time.

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: And I've never asked the question why.

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah. Yeah. I think it's -- I think it's the ice, and they -- they tend to go to the meadows with the water, you know.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Uh hum.

TOM HYSLOP: And once they start freezing, they go to the meadows that's close to the river.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Yeah. One of the issues that's come up in some of the discussions is fire and the impact of fire over the years.

TOM HYSLOP: Because of warmer temperatures, I think it's -- I think it's -- everything's getting drier.

There's less rain in the summers, and it -- it seems like there's more fire, to me, you know.

But it might be management issue or something there, but, you know.

BILL SCHNEIDER: What's the impact of fire on your activities?

TOM HYSLOP: Well, you have to go slower in the riverboat, that's for sure, if you're on the river, you know. And --

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Because you can't see where you're going, you mean?

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You have to go slower, yes. And then that's about it, I think.

And then -- and they advise you to stay inside, but we usually don't, you know, when it's real bad.

BILL SCHNEIDER: The breathing?

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah. Yeah. With the ash -- ashes, you know, drifting in. But that's -- I can't think of anything besides airplane travel, you know.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: So you're not -- you're not travelling like -- you said you're not trapping any more, so it's not like your traplines got burned or the trails to your traplines got --

TOM HYSLOP: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: -- got ruined by fire, that's not -- so that's not affecting you

TOM HYSLOP: No.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: -- because you kind of pulled out of that?

TOM HYSLOP: I've been a carpenter since 1974, so I've trapped, you know, like in other areas, you know, like for beaver with Edmond Lord down at Tolovana River, you know.

And that's -- but I'm sure their trapline -- I know their trapline has been impacted by the forest fires. So I --

BILL SCHNEIDER: Yeah, I think so.

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah. That's in the Minto Flats area, you know, the Tolovana River.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Uh hum. Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Well, interesting. Other questions? I think this has been really useful, particularly the discussion of the drift and --

TOM HYSLOP: Okay.

BILL SCHNEIDER: -- every person we talked to adds a little more information

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: -- and our understanding of it increases.

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Yeah. I guess the -- how about just general kinds of tree -- tree growth or changes in land cover?

TOM HYSLOP: Oh, I mean, you'll see -- I think the changes in the -- in land cover --

BILL SCHNEIDER: Let's hang on a second. (Pause in interview.)

TOM HYSLOP: Changes, she was asking about land changes.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Yeah, talk about land changes. Yeah.

TOM HYSLOP: Okay. Land changes. In the -- in the summertime, moose hunting, you know, or falltime, should I say, like 30 miles above Tanana, on the Tanana River -- oh, no, 20 miles up the Tanana River, there's a lake they call it Murray Lake.

And along this -- along the Tanana River, right -- Murray Lake is just a little -- probably about, you know, 4 or 500 feet away, there's a land mass that the last 10 years,

it's -- or whereas before it's just been a nice, stable riverbank, and with this warming -- warming trend, there is, like -- like 500 foot by maybe 200 -- 500 foot lengthwise on along the river,

and maybe 20, 30, 40 feet back on the riverbank, it dropped about 2 or 3 feet because of the permafrost that's underneath it has melted.

So I -- you see the trees, it's all birch trees, and they all kind of fell over after the -- the permafrost melted.

So just to get to this lake is just like you have to climb over this mass of birch trees just to get to the lake.

And -- and it used to be a favorite camping spot right along the riverbank, so that definitely impacted whoever's camping there, you know. So that -- that -- I've seen that happen. And then

-- and then my brother in law, Francis Robert's trapline, he said there's permafrost melting, whereas, you know, I trapped there with him one year, and it was nice going, and he said now it's changed.

And that's, like, 10 miles below Tanana before the Tozi River, and there's, like, ravines or something, you know, where the permafrost melted, so I haven't seen it, but he said that it's -- he states that it's definitely melting back there. So...

So -- so that's -- it's definitely, you know, permafrost melting happening in this area.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: And are there much changes along the Yukon, or is it a more stable kind of system than -- than the Tanana?

TOM HYSLOP: I think the -- yeah, Tanana is pretty much permafrost, low lying; and then the Yukon, seems like there's more rocks along the riverbank, you know, it's more stable, you know, until you get down to maybe Galena area whereas it's more silt and permafrost, I believe.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: Uh hum. Yeah. And because people haven't really talked about erosion problems or permafrost melting problems further up, but we haven't asked pointedly until now, either.

But it hasn't come up, has it?

BILL SCHNEIDER: No. Not at recent.

TOM HYSLOP: I think locally, you know, the permafrost, you know, I built a lot of houses the last -- since '86 here in Tanana now, probably 20 or more, you know, and I've seen houses shift because of the permafrost melting, you know.

Even in the house right here, we're on permafrost, and it definitely -- it settled around 6 inches, you know. So -- it was pretty stable for -- this house is 25 years old, I believe, and it was built in 1982, so that would be -- yeah.

So -- and it was pretty stable, and then until the last 10 years, and I had to do a lot more adjusting on the foundation. So it's even right here where we -- where I sit is probably melting.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Yeah. That's interesting. Yeah. Okay. I think we've covered a lot.

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah.

SIDNEY STEPHENS: We have covered a lot.

TOM HYSLOP: I can't really -- let's see, what else could I -- could I think of. See, summer, spring. No, I think that's it for --

BILL SCHNEIDER: It always happens that when we turn the tape recorder off that we'll think of things.

TOM HYSLOP: Yeah.

BILL SCHNEIDER: But thank you very much for doing this.

TOM HYSLOP: Thank you. I've enjoyed it.

BILL SCHNEIDER: Good.