Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Project Jukebox Survey

Help us redesign the Project Jukebox website by taking a very short survey!

Lynne Cameron and Susan Fredricks

Lynne Cameron and Susan Fredricks were interviewed on October 6, 2018 by Karen Brewster at the home they share in Skagway, Alaska. In this interview, they discuss their observations of and concerns about environmental change they have witnessed after having lived in Skagway since the mid-1980s. As gardeners, they talk about changes they have observed in the growing season, the weather and amounts of precipitation, the types of plants that succeed or fail, insect species, invasive species, and plant diseases. They also discuss other changes, such as with Lynne's beekeeping activities, trees, growth of alpine vegetation, air pollution, glaciers, birds, and shellfish. Finally, Lynne and Susan talk about the issue of lead contamination in Skagway and the possible human health effects, and the importance of living an environmentally responsible and sustainable lifestyle.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2018-14-05

Project: Observing Change in Alaska's National Parks
Date of Interview: Oct 6, 2018
Narrator(s): Lynne Cameron, Susan Fredricks
Interviewer(s): Karen Brewster
Transcriber: Ruth Sensenig
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
There is no slideshow for this person.

After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.


Susan coming to Alaska and employment history

Lynne coming to Alaska and employment history

Observations of change of planting season in the garden

Observations of change in success of seeds planted in garden and in temperature, wind and weather patterns

Observations of change in glaciers

Observations of warmer temperatures and less precipitation

Observations of change in summer weather conditions

Gardening in Skagway, and differences in the timing of planting and types of plants

Observations of changes in insect species and arrival of invasives

Observations of changes in plant diseases and blight

Observations of changes in types of plants that thrive in local gardens, and the need to water more

Collecting seeds from annuals for re-use the following planting season

Observations of changes in the length of the growing season

Beekeeping, and overwintering of bees

Observations of changes in trees and level of treeline, and effect of air pollution

Observations of changes in growth rates of alpine vegetation, and in berries

Observations of changes in bird populations

Observations of change in weed species

Observations of change in shellfish populations and water quality

Lead contamination in Skagway,

Health effects from lead contamination

Environmental pollutants and health effects

Lead contamination clean-up

Nesting arctic terns

Lead contamination at the ore terminal basin

Contaminated sites around town

Benefits of living in Skagway, and maintaining an environmentally responsible lifestyle

Cost of living in Skagway, and effects of tourism

Responsibility to care for the earth

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


KAREN BREWSTER: Ok, this is Karen Brewster, and today is October 6, 2018, and I’m here with Lynne Cameron and Susan Fredricks in Skagway, Alaska, for the Klondike Gold Rush Historical Park and Bering Land Bridge Climate Change Oral History Project. Thank you, ladies, for letting me come visit you in your lovely home and for feeding me delicious cake.

Um, I’d like to start with finding out a little bit about each of you. I don’t know who wants to start. LYNNE CAMERON: She was here first. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok, Susan.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Well, I came from Haines in ’70 -- came to Haines in ’78 at -- no, that’s right, ’78, and then came here to Skagway in ’86. So I’ve been in Skagway since ’86.

KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. And what brought you to Haines originally? SUSAN FREDRICKS: I followed a man, and the man left. And so that’s why I stayed.

And in the process of this whole thing, I met Lynne Cameron, who is here today with me. And she has been with me, strangely enough, through this time, because I met her, ’80 -- LYNNE CAMERON: ’87. SUSAN FREDRICKS: ’87.

And she came with a husband, and so I’ll let her tell that part of the -- KAREN BREWSTER: Right. And so what type of work have you done here in Skagway? SUSAN FREDRICKS: I have done jewelry store sales in those earlier years, besides raising a family, sons. And then -- LYNNE CAMERON: Daycare. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Daycare. Yes, that’s right, I did daycare.

And then the last fifteen years, until just two years ago, I did tours off the ships. I’d meet the people, bring them to the fast ferry to go over to Haines, which I was familiar with, and they would go see the wild, what was there, nature as it is. And besides that, eagles and bear. Bear feeding at the river. Eagles in the tree. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: And that was the summer program for, oh, many people to see just that. And it was the wild. KB: Yeah. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Ok?

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I didn’t realize that they offered that to the tour passengers. SUSAN FREDRICKS: They did. KAREN BREWSTER: But not anymore? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, they still do? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Oh, yes. I just said, that’s enough years.

LYNNE CAMERON: But the character of the tours changed. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes. LYNNE CAMERON: Over the years. SUSAN FREDRICKS: That’s right.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so now, Lynne, a little bit about -- well, wait. Where are you from originally, Susan? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Chicago. KAREN BREWSTER: You came from Chicago. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Right.

KAREN BREWSTER: And you followed the man, but why was he coming to Alaska? SUSAN FREDRICKS: He was a counselor for the Lynn Canal. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And that -- there was an office opening here from Haines. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. SUSAN FREDRICKS: So I moved with him to this. KAREN BREWSTER: Big change, from Chicago to Haines. SUSAN FREDRICKS: It was. It was, definitely.

KAREN BREWSTER: You have adapted. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Very well.

KAREN BREWSTER: All right, Lynne, now tell me a little bit about yourself. LYNNE CAMERON: Um, I was in Anchorage in 1980. I came up initially because, from Idaho, because my parents decided to come to Alaska.

My dad had a brother who was actually in Fairbanks, and then north, and he pioneered a way of making housing north of, uh, the Arctic, up in Ambler. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: And adapted quite well.

He made his own tools, and he taught a lot of young people who came how to survive in the North.

And so my dad had always wanted to come to Alaska. So after he and my mom retired, he did. And so I came up.

My youngest sister was up there, and she was in Anchorage with my parents. And I came for her wedding. And I looked at Alaska, and I went back home, and I said to my husband, we have to move. And we did.

And six months later, we were on the highway coming up in a one-ton truck, ex-Army truck, with our son. And I never looked back, ’cause Alaska was my earth home.

And then in 1987, I came to Skagway on a fishing boat with the man I was engaged to at that time because the first marriage, uh, I was divorced.

And um, I -- we came into the harbor on a day that was absolutely beautiful. It was one of those really rare days in Southeast Alaska that’s clear and sunny and gorgeous, and I was bewitched, like a lot of people that come to Alaska.

But since then, I realized the weather is not always fair, and that if you live here, it’s a challenge to your inner being and your very core to decide if you’re a survivor here in Alaska or you’re not. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: And so when I met Susan -- and then over time things happened. Both marriages went, and we both were here. We decided to join forces because it’s really hard not having a friend in Alaska. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

LYNNE CAMERON: And survival is much better if you have a friend in Alaska. So she shared her house, and I shared my means. We just pooled everything, and it’s worked out quite well.

So I was -- I’ve done everything as most people here have, ’cause you do everything you can do to live here. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: So I’ve worked retail. I worked as a janitor. I worked as a housekeeper in a hotel. I worked, um, as a tour guide. I drove tours up the Pass.

And you learn so much about people and about Alaska doing that. I mean, we studied our brains out, with -- KAREN BREWSTER: I see you have lots of books. LYNNE CAMERON: -- Alaska history, trying to make sure that whatever we gave as a tour would be quality. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: And we studied natural history of the area. And so that’s how I come to be here. I ended up, um -- I had let my -- I was an RN when I came here and a nurse practitioner. I let those licenses go ’cause I was thoroughly burned out. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. LYNNE CAMERON: In the system.

And then they needed someone at this clinic, and so I went to work first as a medical assistant without any licensure, and then they said, "Could you please go back and get something?" KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. LYNNE CAMERON: "Because liability might be an issue." I said, "Ok."

So I went back, and I got all of my licensure back and my certifications, and I became a family nurse practitioner here.

KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh. And then, so how long did you stay in that position? LYNNE CAMERON: About twenty years. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, well, just a little bit of time.

LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. And I just retired, as Susan did, two years ago. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Great.

The -- was it your uncle who was up in Ambler? LYNNE CAMERON: Um-hm. Oliver Cameron was his name. KAREN BREWSTER: Oliver Cameron LYNNE CAMERON: And then -- KAREN BREWSTER: Was he part of that group of non-Natives who kind of settled in the Ambler area? LYNNE CAMERON: Yep. KAREN BREWSTER: They call them the, um, "white Eskimos." LYNNE CAMERON: I suppose. KAREN BREWSTER: It was in the ’70 -- LYNNE CAMERON: But I never knew --

KAREN BREWSTER: It was in the ’70’s, I think. Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: That’s correct. And he raised a family there. And um, his wife and his youngest son eventually went back to Idaho. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: But his -- both his oldest son and his daughter were raised there. KAREN BREWSTER: Great. Well, those are both good classic Alaska stories. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Definitely.

Um, so, I know you guys are avid gardeners and you have a cuckoo clock. Um, so I don’t know if we want to start there about things you’ve noticed changing with the plants and the seasons, and pests and things like that. If we’re going kind of talk about climate change and things you’ve observed.

LYNNE CAMERON: Susan’s documented that every year. She is -- she is the basic, um, gardener, because you have documented weather changes, and you’ve documented temperatures, and you’ve documented what grows and what will grow next year, and a lot of trial and error.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Right. Right. All I can think of is the seeds that we start in February. And we’ve learned to eliminate some of the ones that are without -- like the edge of the scope of this land.

So this is truly an Alaskan garden that comes back every year. And I started with perennials. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And then multiplied them.

One plant (loud hammering noise in background) would then next year would be two plants, then four. And so that’s how these beds happened around the house.

KAREN BREWSTER: I should say that that hammering is, you’re getting new windows in your old house here, so we will have to live with the hammering. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah. We’ve been looking forward to that. This is an 1899 house. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And the windows are in the bay in the front, and we’re very, very grateful that finally something’s happening. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Well, your house will be a little warmer. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. Yeah.

And like a lot of communities, everything that we have made essentially has gone right back in the community because we hire local artisans -- KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: -- who know how to do historic preservation.

The man who is working on our house worked for the Park Service, so he knows how to do these things. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: And he is an artisan. He’s very good. So, that’s what we’ve had. We’ve had probably five different guys who were back and forth from Park Service. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, well, that’s good.

So, back to the seeds. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Ok. KAREN BREWSTER: So, what are some things that you have found that -- are there things you’ve tried to grow, and they didn’t grow because of this unique -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Climate. KAREN BREWSTER: -- environment, climate? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm.

Well, you have to stay within the zone. And the zones fluctuate. Like last winter into spring, we changed a huge zone. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um, I would say we dropped. We normally we're five going into four, and then this last winter, because of the moisture that came late and the water that came.

And we had more deep snow outside, and then it melted. And then we had flooding. We have never had that the whole -- I mean, since ’86, there’s been no flooding to speak of. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: But it runs down, you know, and the Catholic church dumps. They don’t have gutters. So the gutters are not there, so all the water comes this way. Our house has come this way.

And so the chickens were floating in water. LYNNE CAMERON: If they -- if they put their feet out. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah. It was really something.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I've -- I heard some people say that last winter, so winter of 2017/18, you didn’t get very much snow. SUSAN FREDRICKS: At the end, we did. KAREN BREWSTER: At the end you did?

SUSAN FREDRICKS: We got -- LYNNE CAMERON: Initially -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes. LYNNE CAMERON: In Decem -- was it? It was in January. There were about three and a half weeks where we got temperatures down to twenty. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes. LYNNE CAMERON: Right?

SUSAN FREDRICKS: And seventy-mile-an-hour wind. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh. LYNNE CAMERON: And so -- and that was sustained.

And we’re a maritime climate, and so usually we have fluctuations. It’ll maybe go down there for a week, maybe. But we haven’t seen that kind of temperature probably since the early ’90’s. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: When we were first here -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: -- we saw weather patterns that were, um, much more severe with sustained winds. We had prevailing winds. We knew what they were gonna be. It was out of the north in the winter. It was out of the south in the summer.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Southeast. Right there. LYNNE CAMERON: Southeast and northwest. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: In fact, the trees grow -- If you noticed when you’re walking around town, the growth pattern on the trees bends because the growth is being forced from the wind coming from the southeast. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: So they’re all leaning. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

But now are those winds no longer that consistent? LYNNE CAMERON: That’s right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: That’s right. LYNNE CAMERON: They became variable.

So when was it -- it was probably seven to eight, maybe nine years ago, we noticed those prevailing winds were no longer dependable.

And I remember a winter where we first noticed, uh, this is a southeast wind, and it’s the middle of winter. This is not something that we’ve seen before.

And since then, it’s been extremely variable. Um, maritime, you expect some of that, right? KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: But still, it was pretty, pretty dependable up 'til that time.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, and you’d think in this very defined valley -- LYNNE CAMERON: Corridor. KAREN BREWSTER: Corridor, that the winds would come up or down that corridor. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Which they did. Yes. KAREN BREWSTER: But now they’re not? SUSAN FREDRICKS: No. No, they’re not.

In fact, last week, we had southwest. We had east. I mean, these are anomalies to us. LYNNE CAMERON: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Because it's -- that’s not happened. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: And my neighbor across the way has been doing just that kind of observation, too. We’re all concerned about the glaciers in front of us. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Harding Glacier just dropped off a huge chunk of ice and came down, sliding down past rock and is now melting separate from the glacier itself. LYNNE CAMERON: And many noted that, because we all watch -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah. Every day. LYNNE CAMERON: We all watch what’s up there, you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. When you can see it. Unfortunately, today we can’t see it. SUSAN FREDRICKS: No. KAREN BREWSTER: But the other day when I got here, you could. LYNNE CAMERON: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes. KAREN BREWSTER: I’m hoping for another sunny day.

LYNNE CAMERON: Plus, we were doing tours up the Pass. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes. LYNNE CAMERON: And we did them every day. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And we saw seven glaciers filled -- LYNNE CAMERON: When we started.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Up the Pass, if you'd -- at a certain point, you’d look back to Skagway, you could show people seven in a row. LYNNE CAMERON: You could count ‘em. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Count ‘em. LYNNE CAMERON: And now -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Now --

LYNNE CAMERON: Two of those are non-existent. You don’t see them at all. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: They’ve receded back beyond the lower hills in front. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: Do you know which ones? The names? LYNNE CAMERON: I don’t think they have names. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. LYNNE CAMERON: But if they did, I never knew them. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm. And just -- LYNNE CAMERON: Here on the east -- KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Just -- let’s see, what is it? Sunday, did we go up to International Falls? LYNNE CAMERON: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: We drove up the highway and just a little bit beyond to see the fall colors. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: International Falls was a trickle. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: The waterfall that was coming -- as our dividing line -- KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. Right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: -- between Canada and the United States, I’ve never seen it.

And then just yesterday, I heard we have twelve to thirteen neighbors that are on the cliff side here. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Of new homes, are without water. KAREN BREWSTER: ’Cause their wells are dry? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Their wells are dry.

KAREN BREWSTER: And that’s ’cause you had a -- a -- a dry summer? LYNNE CAMERON: We’re relatively -- we’re in a relative drought. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes.

LYNNE CAMERON: Last year, we have a friend who was the head of DOT (Department of Transportation) here. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: And she said the snow burden up at the Pass was notably less. They were very surprised.

And usually they do a lot of avalanche control up there. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: For the highway. And they didn’t have to do nearly as much as they did a year ago, ah, the year before.

And those are small fluctuations, and I don’t know how it fits into the big pattern, but over the period from ’87 to 2017, we have definitely seen a trend, and it has changed the way we garden.

KAREN BREWSTER: And how -- what is that trend? It’s -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Warmer. KAREN BREWSTER: Warmer. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: And less precipitation? LYNNE CAMERON: Drier. KAREN BREWSTER: Even in the winter? LYNNE CAMERON: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm.

Whereas last year -- see, this is what’s so odd. LYNNE CAMERON: It’s hard to track. SUSAN FREDRICKS: It was rain, rain, rain. KAREN BREWSTER: Last winter? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Last summer. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: We just had the wettest summer, and then this is the driest summer. Usually five days will go by, and then the wind shifts, and it either is coming from the north, which is right down from Canada, and it’s drier and sunnier.

If it shifts coming off the ocean, it’s more moist and cloudier, and there’s rain or just moisture comes in. This is just unbelievable. We’ve had a spring that was almost three weeks of dry sun, no wind.

LYNNE CAMERON: But very delayed. It was cold. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Cold. It was very cold.

KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. Just this last spring? 2018. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes. Yes. LYNNE CAMERON: Um-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: So you couldn’t plant on your normal schedule? SUSAN FREDRICKS: No. No, we couldn’t. LYNNE CAMERON: Hm-mm.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: And then summer was three weeks of sun. No wind. And then we have just finished three weeks again. That is -- we’ve never had that. KAREN BREWSTER: It’s a gorgeous fall. LYNNE CAMERON: Yes. KAREN BREWSTER: Sun. No wind.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes. Yes. Usually it’s -- as I said, and my neighbor would say, "Oh well, here’s our five days. Let’s soak it up." KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And then that was it. And then the weather would shift, you know.

Either it would be really sunny, or it would be clear. KAREN BREWSTER: Or cloudy? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Just that time. And then cloudy and rain. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: But we -- we have never had a whole month -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: And no wind. LYNNE CAMERON: -- of days without wind. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes. LYNNE CAMERON: And warm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: And sunny. And dry. We have never. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Never.

KAREN BREWSTER: This summer was the first time? LYNNE CAMERON: It was weird. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes. KAREN BREWSTER: Since you guys have been here? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes. LYNNE CAMERON: So it was gorgeous. It was enjoyable, but weird. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: And so we were a little uneasy.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I was gonna say, are people concerned? Or do you just -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Well, gardeners may be, but there aren’t that many gardeners in Skagway. KAREN BREWSTER: There aren’t? I always thought everybody gardened in Skagway. LYNNE CAMERON: Not everybody. SUSAN FREDRICKS: They work very hard.

LYNNE CAMERON: There are -- you know, but we met young -- young people who would just come for the season, and some of them do container gardening. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: And they’re so sweet because they’d come by, and they’d yearn and talk. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And we’d give ‘em pots if we had extra pots. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, nice. SUSAN FREDRICKS: So that they could grow something.

You know, their budget was pretty little. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. SUSAN FREDRICKS: You go to the hardware and you pay twenty bucks, maybe, for a cot -- a pot, and then you have to make do with what you got. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah, and then you’re going to leave it.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, don’t you have an organic gardeners club or something here in town? LYNNE CAMERON: Uh, they’re a loose -- loose-knit organization, but we don’t belong to actually, an organization. We just talk to gardeners. SUSAN FREDRICKS: If they come by, we talk.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I just didn’t know if there was a group that kind of support each other. LYNNE CAMERON: There has been, off and on. Yeah, there has been, off and on.

But gardeners just talk to each other. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: Mainly. And then most people work. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Very much. LYNNE CAMERON: You know, and so you catch as catch can. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

LYNNE CAMERON: But then we go to the organic -- we go to the health food store, and I -- I talk to gardeners there, and Susan does, too.

I have bees. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I’ll get to the bees. LYNNE CAMERON: Um-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: I have questions about that. I want to finish with the gardening.

So, that now you’re -- well, at least this last year, you had to plant three weeks later? LYNNE CAMERON: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes.

KAREN BREWSTER: Um, now are you planting the same kinds of things as you did, you know, ten, twenty years ago? Or are things surviving differently in -- do you have to plant different things?

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Well, the spring was so cool, it took a long time for plants to come into bloom this year. That I noted.

LYNNE CAMERON: So like, the bulbs came late. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: And then you wait for the bulbs to die down for flowers, so you can put in annuals for color to help with the perennials.

The perennials were late, and some of them did not thrive as well as we had seen in other years. Some of the perennials, winter kill.

Well, we come to expect that, somewhat, but like the delphiniums, I think, all the -- all the old stock now in the last two years has been replaced. They replaced themselves. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Themselves.

Except that last summer, we had an invasion on the delphiniums -- LYNNE CAMERON: Oh. SUSAN FREDRICKS: -- back -- LYNNE CAMERON: So that’s part of gardening. SUSAN FREDRICKS: -- by -- by the shed. And we had never seen that before.

KAREN BREWSTER: An invasion of? LYNNE CAMERON: They were an aphid from Florida. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, my. LYNNE CAMERON: I looked it up because these were the weirdest aphids we’d ever seen.

We’ve always had aphids. But they’re green. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And they don’t cause very much -- LYNNE CAMERON: And they’re, you know, somewhat voracious, but they’re controllable. You know. So, soapy water, or safer soap. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

LYNNE CAMERON: And this year, we get these black, horrible things. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Clusters. LYNNE CAMERON: And they absolutely went after the delphiniums.

And we’re going, aphids have never wanted delphinium. SUSAN FREDRICKS: No. LYNNE CAMERON: And they just destroyed them last year.

And so this year, we had one delphinium, I think. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes, I took it out right at the root. LYNNE CAMERON: We took it right out. SUSAN FREDRICKS: When I saw it. LYNNE CAMERON: Right down.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Because the leaves curl. And they get dark green, and then all the aphids are under the leaf. And they’re big! KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. SUSAN FREDRICKS: I mean, it’s just -- they’re just not the same type of thing.

KAREN BREWSTER: And now, did those aphids overwinter? Did they survive? LYNNE CAMERON: So, what we did was, I waited, and I treated and treated. Because that’s what I did always with aphids. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: You could -- I could treat them out of existence in three weeks. Not these. SUSAN FREDRICKS: No.

LYNNE CAMERON: These were some tough suckers. And so, what I did then was I cut everything out. We just took it all out. We burned it. We destroyed everything, down to the ground. SUSAN FREDRICKS: We didn’t bring it to the -- the landfill up there. KAREN BREWSTER: Right, no, I mean -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Just done. LYNNE CAMERON: It’s garbage. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: It’s garbage. LYNNE CAMERON: We didn’t compost it. KAREN BREWSTER: You don't want them to spread. LYNNE CAMERON: No, exactly. And we were --

SUSAN FREDRICKS: And then the raspberries from across the alley. There’s a fungus on the raspberries that came in. That was two years ago. LYNNE CAMERON: It comes out of the woods. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And -- KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, really? LYNNE CAMERON: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Oh, yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: And then devastates the raspberries.

KAREN BREWSTER: And that’s a more recent phenomena? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: Three years. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. LYNNE CAMERON: Three years.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: And it’s kind of a -- a rust color and a dark, darkening of the leaf. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: It destroys the raspberry. SUSAN FREDRICKS: It’s like a mosaic, I would say. LYNNE CAMERON: And it destroys their ability to bear.

And if you get it, you have to take out your raspberries. Burn ’em and start over.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: So we said that to our neighbor. We said, "Hey, you know, you got a real problem." LYNNE CAMERON: He asked us what it was. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Because if the wind is blowing this way. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And it’s coming across the alley.

Well, he wasn’t too interested in that, so then now we have them on our side of the alley as well. So we were just looking there this morning. We’re going to have to go out and literally take out all the plants that look that same way. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. LYNNE CAMERON: So we’ll burn ’em again. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah.

LYNNE CAMERON: But that is something that’s come with the warmer climate in the woods, and then moved down. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Hm-mm.

And the same thing has happened with a blight on the birch tree and the lilacs. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And that’s new as of ten -- LYNNE CAMERON: Like, five years. Five years? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Eight. Let’s say eight. LYNNE CAMERON: Ok. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Because it’s not ten. LYNNE CAMERON: No.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: But if you turn around and look out, you’re going to see discolored leaves on the birch tree that’s behind you. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And then the lilacs are here against the house, and they have a cycle of ’em.

LYNNE CAMERON: They have two things. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: So they have the same blight as the birch, but both of them -- and the lilacs more, have this little worm. And I can’t remember the name of the disease now, but it just -- it cocoons itself in the leaf, and then once it’s formed, then it comes down on webs and hits the ground.

And it virtually destroys the sightliness of the birch and the lilac. And it comes -- it's -- it’s more likely when you’ve got cool, wet weather. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Correct. LYNNE CAMERON: So this summer, it was delayed because we were warm and dry. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

Did you get it at all? LYNNE CAMERON: Oh, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: It still came? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Just now. Yep. As soon as the weather shifted, here they came.

They’re like parachuters. They -- You’re sitting out there watching, and these little worms about this big. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: Green. KAREN BREWSTER: Half-inch. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And they’re kind of yellowish. LYNNE CAMERON: Green. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Off-pale.

And then they come down and make their own -- all the way down.

KAREN BREWSTER: We’ve had things like that in Fairbanks in the spruce trees. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: And these little worms are hanging from all of them, and it’s like bleech (sound effect). SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: And that’s where they came from. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: Was the woods. SUSAN FREDRICKS: But this came from the woods. There’s nothing we can do about it.

KAREN BREWSTER: Are they killing off the birch trees and the lilac? Or they just -- LYNNE CAMERON: They don’t seem to be. Uh, if it is, it’s slow. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: Because they invade the actual secondary growth. So they invade the leaves, not the -- not the branches. Or the -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: The root. LYNNE CAMERON: -- the limbs. KAREN BREWSTER: That's why the -- (unintelligible) LYNNE CAMERON: Huh-uh. They don’t go into that. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. SUSAN FREDRICKS: So that’s our horror stories.

KAREN BREWSTER: ’Cause in Fairbanks, we have something on, um, the willow bushes, that the leaves are all -- LYNNE CAMERON: Yep. KAREN BREWSTER: You know -- LYNNE CAMERON: Curled. KAREN BREWSTER: -- it’s July, and it looks like it’s fall colors because -- LYNNE CAMERON: Yes. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes. KAREN BREWSTER: Because they dry up and curl and -- LYNNE CAMERON: And that’s it.

KAREN BREWSTER: And, um, yeah, it’s some kind of blight. But the trees still seem to -- LYNNE CAMERON: Come back. KAREN BREWSTER: -- come back and survive, so. LYNNE CAMERON: As long as they get fed long enough. And so it may be earlier, but still they get it long enough, apparently, 'cause they come back.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, but that’s interesting here it’s all, you know, those kinds of insects can now survive, I guess. That before it was too cold. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Right. Yes. LYNNE CAMERON: And so we don’t freeze out, maybe? I don’t know, but we thought maybe with this last year’s freeze -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: We would have less of a problem with some things.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Like, you know, zero and seventy-mile-an-hour winds? KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. SUSAN FREDRICKS: We thought that would do it. KAREN BREWSTER: But it didn’t? LYNNE CAMERON: Hm-um. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.

And so, are there things that you used to plant? LYNNE CAMERON: That we don’t? KAREN BREWSTER: That, well yeah, or I was thinking, what’s -- what's thrived here, and what hasn’t? And it’s probably changed as the climate is changing.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Your garden would tell you more than me, I think. LYNNE CAMERON: I don’t know, because we’ve adapted every year, just --

KAREN BREWSTER: I mean, is there something you planted -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Well, peas and the potatoes. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah, all the root crops do ok, but there are some years where they don’t, but I don’t know that that is climate as much as me. You know, it’s like -- KAREN BREWSTER: Well --

LYNNE CAMERON: You know, like, this year for the first time, I raised a bumper crop of onions, and I’ve never raised onions like these. KAREN BREWSTER: Well, maybe it was the warm dry? SUSAN FREDRICKS: It was warm and dry. LYNNE CAMERON: It was warm dry.

KAREN BREWSTER: That’s what I was going to say, is it maybe what you plant. You plant all cool, root things, and you have a hot summer, and they’re not going to do as well versus the other -- LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. So my brassicas did not do well. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, it’s too hot. LYNNE CAMERON: Like, our, um -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: The broccoli. LYNNE CAMERON: The brussels sprouts also. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Brussels sprouts, yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: Did not come. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: Well at all.

KAREN BREWSTER: It’s too hot for them? LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah, it was too hot. And my celery was -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: And dry. KAREN BREWSTER: And dry. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: So those things that we depended on for a maritime climate and for moist weather did not come well this year because it was too hot and dry. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: And we had to water. You know, I had to water. I had to keep those onions watered because they don’t do well without water. KAREN BREWSTER: No. LYNNE CAMERON: And the potatoes, too.

KAREN BREWSTER: And you’re used to not having to water so much? LYNNE CAMERON: That’s right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: That’s right. Well, it would be intermittent. Like, nights we’d have rain. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: And -- and, actually, we did pretty well with night rains here this spring. That would -- they would come in and you could see -- You know, it was -- you’d wake up in the morning and look out and all over the bushes, it’d be wet, and you think, "Oh, thank goodness, I don’t have to -- " KAREN BREWSTER: Don’t have to water. SUSAN FREDRICKS: "-- don’t have to haul water.

LYNNE CAMERON: I remember that year you went -- the first year you went to work on the street. At the store. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: And John was in, maybe, kindergarten? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Maybe. LYNNE CAMERON: Or first grade.

And it was hot and dry that year. And I was here, helping take care of the garden, and I didn’t do anything but water. I watered and watered and watered my brains out.

And you’d just start on one end of the garden and end up at the other. And that was the last year I remember when it was like this year.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so how many years ago that would have been? Based on your son’s age? LYNNE CAMERON: That would’ve been, right. So that would have been ’88, maybe? ’89? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you collect seeds from your perennials? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Some plants, yeah. No, the annuals. KAREN BREWSTER: From the annuals? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah. Because the perennials take care of themselves. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

And so, what’s that process of collecting? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Just, on a sunny day, any gardener knows, you look through the garden and see something coming to seed, and then you put it on a tray or something. And then you don’t leave it in the wind because it won’t be there when you return.

And then it dries enough that then I bring it in the house and maybe put it in the back bedroom, cool. And then bag it up into an envelope and then try it next year.

LYNNE CAMERON: But it’s only things that seed early and seed prolifically because -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: -- we don’t have a long enough season, of course. SUSAN FREDRICKS: No. To fill the -- LYNNE CAMERON: Because we’re Alaska. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

LYNNE CAMERON: So like, we can do -- for flowers we can do calendula. We can do sweet pea. This year, we’ve done sweet peas and peas for the first time, and those are early. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: And pretty prolific.

And then, what else? The bachelor buttons, I got seeds from this year. But it’s because it’s been warm and dry. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: So there’re very few flowers that we’ve done, uh -- KAREN BREWSTER: So the fact that the -- LYNNE CAMERON: Buckwheat.

KAREN BREWSTER: Um, temperatures seem to be warmer, does that increase the length of your growing season? LYNNE CAMERON: You know, I don’t think -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Look at our cool fall. See, that was what threw us. It isn’t the length because we didn’t have it at the beginning. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: We had the foreshortened spring. Right? Is that the right word? KAREN BREWSTER: Yes. LYNNE CAMERON: And, um, because of the length of time that we were unseasonably cool, the dandelions didn’t -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: They came three weeks late. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. LYNNE CAMERON: By my internal calendar. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: And really, by the calendar of the years preceding.

I expect dandelion crops, flowered out, by April anywhere from the fifteenth to the twenty-eighth. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. LYNNE CAMERON: And this year, it wasn’t until into May. So we were very delayed.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: And the bees just want -- LYNNE CAMERON: They had to be fed. SUSAN FREDRICKS: They had to be fed. That was another thing.

You couldn’t just let them say, well, just wait a minute, you know. The flowers are coming. LYNNE CAMERON: That’s ok, you’ll be ok in two weeks. Well, they went for tree pollen. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Hm-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: So tell me about bee keeping. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Oh, gosh. You got a little time? KAREN BREWSTER: No, well, yeah. In terms of what you’re doing, and --

LYNNE CAMERON: Well, my hope is to raise bees here who will survive the winters, and who will raise their own queens and be hardy here.

And (loud hammering noise in background) other people have done bees here, and I’m not sure about the success ‘cause I haven’t been able to talk to them long enough about it. But nobody was keeping bees here for some time before I did.

Um, there was a man who was keeping bees, but I don’t know how many years he did it, or if he successfully overwintered. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: But as far as I know, um, I’m the first to overwinter bees. And now I’m into the third year, the third winter. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. LYNNE CAMERON: Coming up.

And so they’re doing pretty well, and the reason is, I chose hives that are different. They’re called Warré hives, and they’re top-bar. And they build their own combs. They choose the size of the cells that way.

And I make sure I feed them up in the spring well, so that they’ve got plenty of time to get their combs going and get their brood going.

And then I try not to feed them the rest of the summer because we’ve got a pretty good summer, with fireweed and all that. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: And, um, my hives are small, so I’m not really stressing making honey so much as I am just trying to keep them and learning how to keep them. Because I’m a new beekeeper. I’m not -- I’m no expert. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

LYNNE CAMERON: And everything you learn, it seems like you learn by experience. I read like a maniac before I started. I studied all winter and then you keep studying.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Show her your bee journal that you write. LYNNE CAMERON: Oh, Lord. I journal everything in my beekeeping journal. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: Because I need to be able to refer back and know that what I’ve done is working or not working. It helps me remember if I write it.

So, the first year was just heavenly, right? My first batch of bees, I loved them. I watched them. There were no problems. They just did what bees do. And I learned a lot. And they raised brood, and they had drones. And I watched the drones, and I watched the driving-out of the drones, and that was fascinating to watch that year.

And the next year, oh my! That was like, hell broke loose. We just -- I had two swarms. I had three swarms. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, my goodness. LYNNE CAMERON: They all -- I mean, it was everything that I didn’t have happen the first year, I happened the second year, that second summer.

They did winter over. KAREN BREWSTER: They did. Now do they wintering over outside in their hive? LYNNE CAMERON: In their hives.

And then what I did was I read up all the ways that you could winterize. So I put a bale of hay on the north side of the hives. We put bamboo stakes, um, and then put a tarp over them. To wind -- because that’s the wind. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. To help insulate. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. And to keep the wind off of them.

They can -- they can survive cold winters, and I don’t think the cold here would be a particular problem. We’re not nearly as cold as they are in Fairbanks, for instance. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

LYNNE CAMERON: But we’ve got moisture, so you have to have hives that have good circulation. So that’s the other thing I like about my hive. It’s got a screen bottom, and then it’s got, uh, what they call a cushion with sawdust in the top to absorb moisture. So, that’s on top of the hive.

And it works really, really well to keep the hive warm and dry. They generate 98 degrees. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.

Yeah, it’s not like a chicken coop where you have to have a lightbulb in there to keep them warm? LYNNE CAMERON: Nope. They generate their own.

KAREN BREWSTER: Um, but I do wonder if, you know, fifty years ago when the winters were colder here if it would have been possible to winter-over bees. LYNNE CAMERON: Yes, you could have. KAREN BREWSTER: You could have? LYNNE CAMERON: You could’ve.

Our problem is the freeze-thaw. I mean, I have a friend who's a beekeeper out in McGrath. It’s cold there. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: And he's winters over successfully. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. LYNNE CAMERON: So, and he doesn’t put ’em inside.

I know some beekeepers are playing with, you know, putting them in sheds and insulating and all that. But you want your bees to cluster. I don’t want to feed ’em for as many months out of the year as we have no light. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: And no, nothing for them to eat outside. I can’t afford that.

KAREN BREWSTER: What do you feed them? LYNNE CAMERON: Uh, in the -- in the fall, I feed them a two-to-one sugar -- it’s cane sugar. You always have to use cane sugar for bees. Syrup.

Or I make patties with -- it’s a vitamins -- it's vitamins and minerals and all the good stuff for them. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: I make these patties for them now because we’re coming up freezing and it’s high-nutrient, and it’s got pollen in it, and it’s really good for them. And so they’re --

KAREN BREWSTER: Builds ’em up strong for the winter? LYNNE CAMERON: Builds ’em up, yeah, so that their brood is strong, and the nurse bees are strong, and --

Winter bees are different than summer bees. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. LYNNE CAMERON: They’re built to go through the winter. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: And take care of the brood. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

And is there a native bee to this area? LYNNE CAMERON: There are. There are lots of native bees, and since I started keeping bees, we’ve noticed -- maybe it's because I notice bees more and small flying insects --

I have noticed insects coming through, and other gardeners have as well, that we have never seen before.

And we get bumblebees. We have bumblebees every year. KAREN BREWSTER: That you didn’t use to have? LYNNE CAMERON: We have always had bumblebees. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: But we have noticed the patterns of bees now since keeping honeybees.

And the other thing is, we have -- we have probably four or five different types of bees that come. Little tiny ones. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.

'Cause I know on a broader scale, bees, honeybees are having trouble. LYNNE CAMERON: Well, and they’re domesticated. They’re a domesticated being that, you know, isn’t here. I mean, they’re from Europe. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: Right?

And so, that’s the other thing is, what’s really native? Well, they aren’t. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: But they produce something we want. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

LYNNE CAMERON: And so what we’re interested in is just introducing something that increases the pollination. And people in town who have fruit trees have noticed that their fruit trees bear better, their cherries, and --

KAREN BREWSTER: Just from your little bee population? LYNNE CAMERON: From the bees, and from the -- there are two other people in town that are keeping bees as well for the summer. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: And I don’t think anybody’s wintered over yet, other than these bees, but yeah. It’s made a difference. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. LYNNE CAMERON: In our crops. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: As well.

KAREN BREWSTER: Um, are there other things you guys have noticed in terms of -- with the changing, I want to call it climate. I don’t know if it’s changing climate, but beyond your garden? LYNNE CAMERON: And weather patterns? KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: And insects? KAREN BREWSTER: Insects or trees.

You know, I’ve been wondering -- I’ve been seeing all these beautiful, um -- LYNNE CAMERON: These trees accelerate. KAREN BREWSTER: Cottonwoods turning yellow. LYNNE CAMERON: Well, that has been always. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

But I was wondering if they’re -- if cottonwoods are moving higher up the hillsides? LYNNE CAMERON: Oh, I see what you’re saying.

Well, there is some controversy about that. Um, since the cruise ships have come in. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Oh, yeah. Right. LYNNE CAMERON: And what it seems like -- And, uh, the Park Service has documented some of this as well, is that the stacks exude whatever they exude in harbor to generate their power, and at the level where that happens, there’s been a die-off of hemlocks and um --

That was noticed by a guy who hiked a lot and was a hunter and has lived here his whole life. So that was one thing.

Have we noticed them going up? Um, there -- we have watched a sentinel cottonwood for many years, and -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: And the hemlock. LYNNE CAMERON: And the hemlock.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: That was Irene. LYNNE CAMERON: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: You must talk to a lady. She's been studying just the hemlocks. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. LYNNE CAMERON: But she has a lot of information, so -- especially on that aspect of it.

KAREN BREWSTER: So she’s been making regular observations? LYNNE CAMERON: Yep. KAREN BREWSTER: That it's a certain spot -- LYNNE CAMERON: Yep. KAREN BREWSTER: -- and seeing how it’s changing? LYNNE CAMERON: Yep. Her name is Irene Henricksen.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: She alerted the City of Skagway and the Park Service. LYNNE CAMERON: Yep. SUSAN FREDRICKS: She caused a lot of flurry about it. And it was true. But they kind of thought she was just making it up. LYNNE CAMERON: But she’s -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: But no, because then we go up and we hike on that level, and there are -- LYNNE CAMERON: There are levels. SUSAN FREDRICKS: There are levels. And the foliage on the hemlocks turns brown. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. SUSAN FREDRICKS: At that level.

LYNNE CAMERON: So I don’t know that we -- I don’t know -- Have we seen a change in the level where the deciduous and -- and the -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: They climb up higher? LYNNE CAMERON: The evergreen. I -- Not that I have noticed. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. Ok. LYNNE CAMERON: I have not noticed.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Have you interviewed anybody that has? KAREN BREWSTER: Um, no. LYNNE CAMERON: We have watched -- we have watched these hillsides for many, many years, and I have not seen that. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Well, there’s a few -- the few cottonwoods that are higher up. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: That seem to be more numerous, but I think that that is where the watershed comes down off the mountain.

LYNNE CAMERON: It’s hard to tell if it’s climate -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: And it’s hard to tell. LYNNE CAMERON: Or if it’s the amount -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Of moisture. LYNNE CAMERON: Up high.

Like if the glaciers melt up high? KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: Then you got more ground water coming down. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: Which is going to change the nutrient, um, availability for different species, right? KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: And then, like you say, the -- the deciduous trees, their level depends on how cold it is. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: Where do they grow, and where do they change?

And I have not noticed, um, a change in that. You know. Probably I will now.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: All I have noticed is that the watershed, where it comes down. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: There’s far more deciduous there.

When you look up the side of the mountain, you'll know that the water has come down on draw -- Just a draw or something, and you say, "Boy, there’s a lot more cottonwood right here." It’s because water comes down there. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

LYNNE CAMERON: What we have noticed is, the trees had -- all of the trees, blue spruce and the lodgepoles and the deciduous trees, too, had an accelerated growth rate, which to us signaled a warming, generally, of the climate overall.

And that was probably eight years ago. We noticed that began where we had not noticed it before. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: And so the trees that grow around here took a decided leap in their growth rate at that time, which we had not seen before. KAREN BREWSTER: And it’s continued? LYNNE CAMERON: And has continued. It has continued.

So these trees out here? KAREN BREWSTER: By the Catholic church? LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Those spruce trees? LYNNE CAMERON: My ex-husband and I planted those. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. LYNNE CAMERON: They were about as tall as I am when we planted them. KAREN BREWSTER: So you, in 1980 -- LYNNE CAMERON: ’87. KAREN BREWSTER: Seven? And they’re now twenty feet tall. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Oh, come again. KAREN BREWSTER: Or more? I don’t know. I’m a terrible judge of those things. LYNNE CAMERON: I don’t do the -- I don’t do that well.

KAREN BREWSTER: But they’re taller than the top of the roof of the church, so. LYNNE CAMERON: Right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: By far. KAREN BREWSTER: By far. LYNNE CAMERON: Right.

And the crows every year go a little higher, and they like that. KAREN BREWSTER: (loud hammering noise in background) And there are more crows? LYNNE CAMERON: There are so many more crows. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Oh, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

Before we get to birds, I have one more tree question. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Which is the change in tree line into alpine. LYNNE CAMERON: Um-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: Has that border changed?

Are there more trees moving higher up in the Pass than there used to be? LYNNE CAMERON: I believe there are.

I do not see the bare ground that we saw initially, I do not think. I think that we see it more covered higher.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: But, you know, what we’ve noted on the alpine? The growth on the alpine, we’ve never -- they were stunted and -- LYNNE CAMERON: Oh, yeah. If you go up the Pass. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: When we were doing tours, which was in ’94-'95. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm, ’95, yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: Uh, there was an area just past the Pass. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: And we would always call it the miniature forest. It was like they were -- they were stunted because they had not very good growth, um, -- KAREN BREWSTER: Conditions. LYNNE CAMERON: Conditions, right.

Growing conditions were harsh there. It was high winds, very cold winters, heavy snow load. SUSAN FREDRICKS: They were up, maybe, two feet. Two and a half feet. LYNNE CAMERON: And they were ancient. SUSAN FREDRICKS: They were old. LYNNE CAMERON: They were old. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

And they were spruce? LYNNE CAMERON: Spruce trees, for the main part. There were hemlock in there, too. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Hemlock, spruce.

LYNNE CAMERON: And what we noticed just this year, those tiny trees that were probably a hundred years old when we were going up there, have doubled. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. LYNNE CAMERON: So their growth rate has increased. KAREN BREWSTER: They’ve doubled in -- LYNNE CAMERON: Doubled in height. KAREN BREWSTER: Height. LYNNE CAMERON: And width.

KAREN BREWSTER: It’s not that there’s twice as many of them. LYNNE CAMERON: No. KAREN BREWSTER: That each tree has doubled. LYNNE CAMERON: That each tree -- that when you look at it now, you just go, "Oh, well, they’re still tiny. They’re still miniature." But they have doubled. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: I swear to God, they have doubled. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm. Um-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: Well, that’s good to know. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Are there other changes in the alpine -- ? LYNNE CAMERON: In that area? KAREN BREWSTER: You know, like are there other plants different or -- ? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Well, as I said, though. KAREN BREWSTER: The berries? The berries? SUSAN FREDRICKS: The International Falls was almost a trickle. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. SUSAN FREDRICKS: I’ve never seen that.

KAREN BREWSTER: No, that’s not where the -- it’s controlled for hydro. That’s not that side, is it? SUSAN FREDRICKS: No, it’s on the other side that’s coming down. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. LYNNE CAMERON: At the -- at the -- at the summit. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. SUSAN FREDRICKS: At the summit.

LYNNE CAMERON: Uh, I think the blueberries are actually more plentiful. And the highbush cranberry. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: Seem to grow -- Our measure -- our landmarks got wiped out. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, no. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. But um --

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Where they’re putting in that Moore Bridge. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. Yeah. For the -- doing a new bridge up there. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah, but then they -- LYNNE CAMERON: Well, they took out a whole blueberry hill. SUSAN FREDRICKS: They took the whole blueberry hill and the curve. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And then they built a huge gravel -- KAREN BREWSTER: Pit? Yeah. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Dump there for the gravel they needed. LYNNE CAMERON: For the roadway. SUSAN FREDRICKS: So it’s gone. KAREN BREWSTER: That’s so sad. LYNNE CAMERON: But -- it was sad for us. KAREN BREWSTER: Yes.

LYNNE CAMERON: We felt it was sad. They didn’t have much problem with it. KAREN BREWSTER: No.

Well, that’s the other thing, are berries growing in different places than they used to, other than those damaged by road? Just naturally occurring, are you finding them in different places? LYNNE CAMERON: I think you would -- I think you would need to talk to wild-crafters and, uh, I think Irene. Mavis Irene. She goes by Mavis more, I guess. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: Mavis Irene would be the one.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: I’ll tell you who, um. LYNNE CAMERON: And Debbie Knorr. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Debbie Knorr. Because she climbs up there and does blueberry picking. LYNNE CAMERON: Debbie Knorr does. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And she knows sites.

LYNNE CAMERON: And she’s a very good observer. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yep. LYNNE CAMERON: So either one of those, Mavis Henrickson or Debbie Knorr, either one. They’re kinda related by family anyway. By marriage.

KAREN BREWSTER: So birds. Lot more crows. LYNNE CAMERON: A lot more crows. Less warblers. Um, same number or more of juncos.

We still see rusty blackbirds, which we saw for the first time maybe five years ago. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm. And then we have a redwing blackbird that comes traveling through. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. LYNNE CAMERON: Which first started coming through maybe eight years, nine years ago. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: We’d never seen or heard a redwing here. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: But oh, it’s so thrilling because both of our childhood, that was the sound that you’d remember. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, right.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: And all of a sudden one day you’re in the garden, you’re bending over, and you hear this thing and you think, "Wait a minute. I know what that is, you know." LYNNE CAMERON: You do know. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: And you’re going, what? KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

I mean, I grew up in northern California, and we had redwing blackbirds, too. LYNNE CAMERON: Right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Oh, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: I know the sound. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: So, we’re -- we're happy for that. But I do think that they are -- Joanne Beierly would be able to you. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Not -- well, I talked to them yesterday. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm. They’re very careful. LYNNE CAMERON: And she would have noted all that.

KAREN BREWSTER: But I always -- I like to hear from other people. Everybody notices different things, and -- LYNNE CAMERON: Well, we wait for them to come to the birch because the birch is a great attractant for certain birds. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

LYNNE CAMERON: The doves have increased. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Oh, yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: Probably three times. SUSAN FREDRICKS: The ring-necked doves. LYNNE CAMERON: The ring-necked doves. SUSAN FREDRICKS: We never saw them before. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

LYNNE CAMERON: And they’ve been here probably about the same amount of time as we saw the blackbird. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: Now is there something that you remember that you saw in the ‘80’s that now -- LYNNE CAMERON: Is not here? KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: We do not see so many warblers. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Mm-mm.

LYNNE CAMERON: And, you know, the little redpolls. SUSAN FREDRICKS: They -- but -- LYNNE CAMERON: But they come and go. And we’re not sure if that’s a trend or not a trend because they tend to do that. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Because they have different flyways.

I have a bird friend in Haines. LYNNE CAMERON: And they choose different ones. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And she said that sometimes they come in and they're flocks of 200, 300, and they’ll just perch for about a month in your yard. LYNNE CAMERON: Which we’ve had happen twice.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: And so then I go up to Whitehorse and get, like a hundred pounds of Nyger seed, and they go through it. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: But then one year, they’re not there, and you think, "Oh, they’re gone. They’re not coming back." And then Pam will call me and say, "Nope. They’re here. They’re on the different flyway." So we don’t know that. So this year -- LYNNE CAMERON: This year we had some. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Uh, some, but just -- LYNNE CAMERON: Just a few. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Briefly.

And bluebirds -- Joanne Beierly knows bluebirds come to the fence over by the airport. LYNNE CAMERON: The airport. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And some years, we’ve seen them. But you have to be so -- LYNNE CAMERON: They’re -- they’re going through. SUSAN FREDRICKS: -- watchful.

LYNNE CAMERON: It’s interesting because we’re on a flyway. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: For the arctic. So we do see some things.

But one year, I swear we saw every duck in the book. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah, we did. LYNNE CAMERON: And then other years, we haven’t seen very much at all.

This year, we saw some. We saw some.

KAREN BREWSTER: Now when you say a bluebird, is that the blue jay? Is that what you’re talking about? SUSAN FREDRICKS: No. LYNNE CAMERON: No. KAREN BREWSTER: An actual bluebird? SUSAN FREDRICKS: A bluebird. LYNNE CAMERON: Mountain bluebird. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. Oh, ok.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Did you write that down in our bird book, as far as what year? LYNNE CAMERON: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. It’s in there. SUSAN FREDRICKS: The bluebird, too? LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. I got it. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Are you sure? LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah, it’s in the Sibley’s on the list. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Ok. LYNNE CAMERON: I’m pretty sure I got it. I don’t know if I wrote the date.

Um, so it’s hard, you know. I mean, every year -- I mean, I saw a pair of Canadian geese this year. And we saw a pair of swans. KAREN BREWSTER: And they’re not normally -- ? LYNNE CAMERON: They don’t ever come to this river. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: Rarely. But it’s not abnormal. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: But, um, out in Dyea, I think this was not a good year for them. You know, they just -- they didn’t seem to be that plentiful in Dyea. They felt like they were short-changed this year. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: So it’s hard to know if they’re changing their patterns or not, but we have been under the impression that more southern birds have come farther -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Farther north. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: -- north on their flyways.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: And we’ve read somewhere that in Juneau, that they figure every year it’s warmer, there’s about a thirty-five mile radius of bird flying farther north. KAREN BREWSTER: Farther north. Wow. LYNNE CAMERON: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: But I can’t be certain.

But they have done studies of what it is. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Yeah.

Um, and what about invasive species of plants or weeds? I mean, as gardeners, you have to deal with the insects. LYNNE CAMERON: Right. KAREN BREWSTER: And weeds. LYNNE CAMERON: Right. All we have are invasive species.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I guess most weeds, the reason they’re a weed is they’re invasive. But are there things coming up in your gardens that didn’t used to be there?

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Oh, the grass. What is that grass? LYNNE CAMERON: What is that grass? It’s a beach grass. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes, and it’s in our yard. But I think it comes on our -- LYNNE CAMERON: The birds bring it. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Maybe the birds bring it or it’s on our clothes. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm. LYNNE CAMERON: Because we hike.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Because it’s very hard to get out, and they’re in clumps, and they come up like this in the middle of your garden, you know. Wherever it is. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

And that’s a relatively new thing? SUSAN FREDRICKS: We never saw it before, no. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: But I think it travels on your clothes. To me. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

Other -- other ones? LYNNE CAMERON: That was the main one that’s been so invasive for us. Everything else is just what it’s always been.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: If there’s new construction, sometimes we get lamb’s quarters. But we love lamb’s quarters, so we’ve never complained. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: I got lamb’s quarter this year for the first time.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Because it comes on the new dirt that’s put out, like dirt hills or something. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Around new construction. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

And so you use the lamb’s quarters? It has medicinal purposes, doesn’t it? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Oh, we eat it like spinach. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. LYNNE CAMERON: Oh, it’s so good. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Oh, it’s better than spinach. Really good.

KAREN BREWSTER: Do people pick the nettles to -- the leaves, the fresh leaves in the spring to -- ? SUSAN FREDRICKS: We have a friend that does nettle tea. LYNNE CAMERON: Emily does, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And also nettle salve. Have you met her? KAREN BREWSTER: Yes. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Ok. KAREN BREWSTER: I talked to Emily, and I forgot to ask her.

Well, we talked about nettles, but I know somebody in Homer who picks the little fresh shoots in the spring and just -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Eats ’em. KAREN BREWSTER: Eats ’em. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: I did that. KAREN BREWSTER: With fireweed. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes, that’s right. KAREN BREWSTER: And fiddleheads. SUSAN FREDRICKS: That’s right. They’re delicious.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I’d never had it before. It’s really good. LYNNE CAMERON: They are good. They’re good for you, too. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

So I wondered, yeah, do people do that here? LYNNE CAMERON: Yes. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm. And there’s different types of seaweed you can eat off the beach, and we’ve done that as well.

Mussels, because of the cruise ships coming in, we’re not too sure how safe.

And I think you’ve heard reports already of our shrimp and our mussels and the harbor? KAREN BREWSTER: No. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Because of this? KAREN BREWSTER: No. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Really? KAREN BREWSTER: Well, tell me more. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Really? LYNNE CAMERON: No, really?

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, it may just doesn’t -- some of these things come up, and sometimes they don’t. LYNNE CAMERON: Ok, here we go.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, go ahead. LYNNE CAMERON: What? What were you gonna ask? KAREN BREWSTER: No. Tell me about the shrimp and the mussels. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Go ahead. KAREN BREWSTER: Because it may be related to another question I have, but I want to hear your answer first.

LYNNE CAMERON: They are -- ok, so number one, you know that the red tide comes in here as well as everywhere else in Washington, and so that’s -- that's well documented. So we get that once in awhile, too.

And so the tribal council has been putting out a list every year of what’s safe and when is safe to harvest. And generally speaking, that’s one thing. That is a problem. Ok, that’s one thing.

But the other thing here is that we do have documented, and it’s at the Park Service, for particulars, that there is contamination in certain areas of the harbor of, um, the shellfish. So we have made it a practice not to eat any of the mussels on the rocks, from -- KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: We used to. LYNNE CAMERON: We used to, but we learned better. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: Uh, from the harbor over past the river. We don’t eat anything even west of the river.

And we did do that for awhile because we thought maybe there’d be a natural barrier there, but now you’ve got to worry about red tide as well, so you have to really be careful. And so we just don’t.

KAREN BREWSTER: When did you stop doing that? LYNNE CAMERON: ’87. We heard about --

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Well, then in the spring, we see the river turning green. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. LYNNE CAMERON: So, Petro is there. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: The fueling. LYNNE CAMERON: Right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And the spills. LYNNE CAMERON: They, of course, have spills. I mean, they’ve denied it. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: "No, we don’t have spills." Well, yeah, you do.

Any time you offload fuel. SUSAN FREDRICKS: You wouldn’t have a beach looking like this. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: And so you look at the river, and the river has this unnatural green algae in it that you don’t see in any other riverbed. And I grew up around rivers. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

LYNNE CAMERON: I have never seen this. And -- but we do see it here. And um --

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Jan Wrentmore is someone you’ve gotta talk to. KAREN BREWSTER: I’ve been trying to reach her. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah, she has the documentation. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Be sure to -- she's the one about the documentation about the green algae. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. LYNNE CAMERON: So that we saw as well. And so we’ve been very careful.

There are people who harvest crab. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And shrimp. LYNNE CAMERON: By hanging their pots. Crab and shrimp by hanging their pots off the docks. I don’t want anything from those pots. KAREN BREWSTER: No.

LYNNE CAMERON: And I know what they say because they’ve tested the water, that there isn’t anything that’s of a level that you should be concerned with except right in the ore terminal basin.

And I just have a really hard time with harvesting shellfish who live on the bottom anywhere around the small boat harbor where the cruise ships stir up sediments all the time. All the way over.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, and what are the cruise ships emitting? I mean -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Gray water. KAREN BREWSTER: There’s -- well, gray water, and they’re sitting there running their engines. LYNNE CAMERON: They’re running their engines. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And stirring the sediment. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

LYNNE CAMERON: And so, what it -- there’s what they’ll admit, what they do as a practice because of the law, and then there is what’s already there.

And we already know that that harbor has been polluted by the lead for many, many years. And we have been discussing this since 1987.

And we still haven’t done anything. SUSAN FREDRICKS: It’s still sitting there. LYNNE CAMERON: And I have gone through every bit of that documentation, from 1987 on, because all of that is freely available from the Alaska Department of Conservation, (ADEC) right? Of Environmental Conservation, DEC. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

LYNNE CAMERON: ADEC has that all. And I have watched the dialog between the city and ADEC since 1987 and all they do is circle the camp, around and around and around.

Well, we’re gonna do this, and we’re gonna do this, and we’re gonna do this. And they get up to here, and they don’t do any more. And then we start all over again.

Then somebody else gets reelected, or gets elected. The assembly changes. The mayor changes. The people at DEC change. And we just start over again.

We’ve had how many city managers since ’87? Like five or six. At least. SUSAN FREDRICKS: At least. LYNNE CAMERON: And so, the nature of this -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: And the consultants that come in. We have had so many consultants. LYNNE CAMERON: We;ve been set -- up -- up -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Because of this. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: And we don’t get it done.

Now we’ve got a new partner with the railroad being changed hands. So, they’re -- they're all interested and gung-ho, you know, in cleaning up the harbor because they’ve got to dredge there in order to make room for another cruise ship. KAREN BREWSTER: Or for bigger cruise ships. LYNNE CAMERON: Or bigger cruise ships. For the bigger ones.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Well, this is exactly, yeah, I had on my list to talk to you about, was the lead-zinc issue. So, I knew that you guys had been very involved in that, and uh --

LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah, we heard that there was a lead pollution problem. There was going to be -- there was going to be a big city meeting in 1987, in the winter, right? So Susan and I trucked ourselves down there, and we sat there, and it was mind-blowing for us because there’s a representative from DEC, EPA, White Pass, the -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: City. LYNNE CAMERON: City, and the trucking outfit, and the ore terminal.

There’re all these white male guys there. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And Lucille. LYNNE CAMERON: Well, Lucille’s in the audience. But we -- we sat there and listened to it, and then they said, "Not to worry. We’ve got it under control."

And the minute we heard that, we knew we had to worry. Right? And we were walking home, talking about it, and I said, "We’re not -- we’re not going to take that as fact, because that ain’t the way it worked."

KAREN BREWSTER: And that was at the time when they were bringing all that ore on the train? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Not the train, the trucks. KAREN BREWSTER: It was the trucks? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Open trucks coming down Skagway. KAREN BREWSTER: Open trucks. LYNNE CAMERON: The pots were open. They didn’t have lids on them. They were blowing, uh, lead -- lead, arsenic, zinc dust all the way from the mine down to here. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: And along State Street.

And so the gutters in State Street, you coulda mined. And they did. KAREN BREWSTER: Really? LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: They bought -- they got a Supersucker in. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: To just suck up and then determine the amount of pollution that was laying in the gutters.

LYNNE CAMERON: 'Cause EPA -- there were enough preliminary tests that were very, very quiet. Nobody knew they were being done. And I don’t even know who initiated it.

But EPA ended up being involved. And so they determined we needed a clean-up. We had to clean up. They said that the -- the state was liable for some of this, ’cause the state was supposed to maintain State Street.

And the ore terminal was responsible for cleaning up their end up to the first street. The first cross street. And so they tested. They went so deep north of that ore terminal that they had to finally call it quits, and they never found non-contaminated land. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, my goodness.

LYNNE CAMERON: And so they determined they would have to cap it and keep it capped in perpetuity because it was never going to change.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Now we’re talking about the road surfaces and the grass if you look north of the ore terminal. LYNNE CAMERON: Of the ore terminal. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: That’s how they capped it. But the ocean, by the way, it never got taken care of.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so they capped it with grass, -- ? LYNNE CAMERON: Yes. KAREN BREWSTER: -- if the soil underneath that is contaminated, then doesn’t that get the uptake through the roots into the grass? LYNNE CAMERON: Right. So you’re never going to herd cattle on that grass.

KAREN BREWSTER: But it’s ok if it’s just visual grass? LYNNE CAMERON: Yes. Yep. But it isn’t a playground. It is fenced.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Did anybody tell you about the ore chute that would bring the ore, the powder, up into the ships that would come? KAREN BREWSTER: I’ve seen the ore tower there. LYNNE CAMERON: Yes. SUSAN FREDRICKS: You see the chute? KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. SUSAN FREDRICKS: But have you ever seen? KAREN BREWSTER: It in action? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: No.

LYNNE CAMERON: Well, still to this day, when they’re loading a ship, you can smell it. KAREN BREWSTER: Are they -- they’re still using the ore terminal? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Oh, are they ever. KAREN BREWSTER: I thought the ore terminal wasn’t being used anymore. SUSAN FREDRICKS: No way. LYNNE CAMERON: No, it’s used.

But what they did is, they had to rebuild it. So they took down the old ore terminal. They built a new one. AIDEA (Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority), which is part of the state, you know, the -- KAREN BREWSTER: The development -- LYNNE CAMERON: A.I.D.E.A. Yeah. They own some of the -- they own the terminal, and they own the ore chute.

And so their job was to make sure that they weren’t going to further contaminate. One spill has been observed. That was in 2016, by a tugboat captain. Uh, they all assured him -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Korsmo. LYNNE CAMERON: -- that it never happened. SUSAN FREDRICKS: They talked to him.

LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah, Mike Korsmo. That it never happened. But the mayor at that time happened to work there, and he said, "No, that’s bullshit. It happened. And we want assurances that you will never have this happen again, and we want you to make sure you clean it up."

Well, they’ve done core samples in that area, but the problem is that the core samples were done by different techniques. So you couldn’t depend on core samples from one year to another, right? So that was one problem.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: And then you have different consultants that came in and gave surveys.

LYNNE CAMERON: So the last one, Chad Gubala, who is on record. In 2017, he wrote, and he said, "By the way, we stored all these ore sample drillings in 55-gallon drums and stored them at the north end of the White Pass terminal. And we are finding that these barrels are now losing their life." KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: "And we have to know how to dispose of these, essentially tailings." KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: -- from -- "And because they were wet, and because they’re being put in these barrels, that is not going to last." KAREN BREWSTER: They’re going to leak. Yeah.

LYNNE CAMERON: "And so we’re -- we're ending -- their life is ending. We need to know what to do." And they were trying to get advice from DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) what their advice would be. I don’t have anything past that.

And Gubala was -- he was let go from the city contract. So after that, the city manager took over his duties, and I don’t have any documentation past that point of what happened.

So now we’re into a new generation of city fathers, as Carl would call them, and mothers, and we still are dealing with the same mess.

Anytime you deal with lead ore, which I was told by the man who was contracted to do the clean-up of the old building and then help build the new -- The head engineer who was in charge of lead ore testing at the clinic. I worked at the clinic. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: And so I was privy to the results.

And so what happened was, these guys didn’t have protective gear in the old regime. They would come in, they would have lead -- blood-lead levels that were up in -- reaching toxic.

They'd have to go off work, let their bodies figure it out, take it down, and then they could go back to work. And that happened over and over. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.

LYNNE CAMERON: And I watched ’em do it. And that was their safety standard. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.

LYNNE CAMERON: Well then, with this new batch, it was a whole different ball game. They all had to wear protective gear. They couldn’t have facial hair. They had to have -- KAREN BREWSTER: A mask. LYNNE CAMERON: Well-fitting masks, ventilators, in essence. They had to shower there. They could not track out of there at all.

That water had to be taken care of separately. That was part of the problem. SUSAN FREDRICKS: The water. The containment.

LYNNE CAMERON: And so that’s one of the things that the mayor was looking at in 2015 and '16 is, how are you getting rid of the water from when you wash off your trucks and when you -- when your personnel, you know, get rid of this. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, are they just putting it into the bay? LYNNE CAMERON: Are you -- Yeah. Are you running it into the bay again?

And so these have all been controversies over the years. And we have watched it, and we have tracked it, and we have listened to it. And we have watched it go nowhere. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

LYNNE CAMERON: And it’s highly frustrating. KAREN BREWSTER: Very frustrating.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: But there’s also an insistence that this lead is not damaging to the body. LYNNE CAMERON: But now we know it is. SUSAN FREDRICKS: It is. LYNNE CAMERON: It’s one of the most highly absorbable forms of lead that there is, other than smelting.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I thought all lead was bad for the body. LYNNE CAMERON: You would think. And we insisted that it was.

But logically, it did not make sense from what we had read because when we started this, the only studies out there were on smelted. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. LYNNE CAMERON: And that was worldwide. We were going everywhere. You didn’t have the internet. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

LYNNE CAMERON: In fact, we had a fax. One in town. And we had long distance, and our bill was tremendous because we were calling scientists who were in Germany or wherever.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: So we insisted on the children being tested for blood-lead levels. LYNNE CAMERON: And they were. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And they were. KAREN BREWSTER: And? SUSAN FREDRICKS: And the study is there at the Park Service.

KAREN BREWSTER: And what did the results indicate? LYNNE CAMERON: So the results were that if they were toddlers who were hand-to-mouth, and they were on the north end of town, or on the south end of town, they were likely to have come in contact with and absorbed enough lead to be of concern.

One family got their lead results back, and they were out of here in two weeks. They had two little girls. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

LYNNE CAMERON: They apparently had to get their girls treated, but we never heard diddly. They didn’t share any information. They left.

And so we never got that information for the community, which was kind of sad.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. But for other people in the community who were tested and had high levels, is there something that can be done? LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: What do you do? LYNNE CAMERON: And we studied it up. We were at Ninth. Our children were good. They were fine. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: We had grade school age kids. And if you -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Man. LYNNE CAMERON: What we did to those kids.

What you do, essentially, is you feed them high levels of nutrients that will aid in blocking the uptake of -- of hard metals. Of lead and zinc. KAREN BREWSTER: Heavy metals. LYNNE CAMERON: Heavy metals. So that helps block it.

And then you aid them in getting rid of it by making sure they have high nutrition -- nutrient levels. So they were on blackstrap molasses because iron was really important in their blood, to keep -- because what happens is, lead will uptake.

And then we also made sure that they had high calcium. Um, they had very good diets in protein, calcium.

KAREN BREWSTER: And that blocks the lead uptake? LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Oh, yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: Because lead is stored in the bones. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And that’s why the early crews at the ore terminal have had, as they got older, hip surgery, hip replacements.

LYNNE CAMERON: I saw more and more males, and part of it was due to aging, you know, that males were aging longer because they were taking statins or whatever.

But this was before that, and these were the old-school guys who had the unloaded lead ore from the trains. And they had a rate of hip fractures that I felt probably was due to the fact that they were unloading -- their bones were unloading that lead. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: Right. They were exposed. LYNNE CAMERON: That they were demineralizing, which happens in aging. They would end up with osteoporotic kind of bones, and they would fracture.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so it was happening at an earlier age than was normal? LYNNE CAMERON: Earlier age, and in males.

KAREN BREWSTER: That doesn’t normally happen in males? LYNNE CAMERON: Not normally in males.

KAREN BREWSTER: And what about asbestos? Was that an issue, too? LYNNE CAMERON: It was an issue on the trains. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: It was never hauled on the trucks through here. But the asbestos was hauled on the trains. They had derailments. They dumped it down the sides of the mountains. They had it in the rivers. SUSAN FREDRICKS: It came down through the rivers.

LYNNE CAMERON: And so there were people who worked on the railroad who knew where all of that stuff was buried. And it was actively buried, on purpose sometimes. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

LYNNE CAMERON: Because we followed that, too. And one guy in town here who doesn’t live here anymore, but he went to jail because of it.

KAREN BREWSTER: Because he buried the asbestos to hide it? LYNNE CAMERON: He helped. He helped, yeah. He was partly responsible for it. And the other guy didn’t. So the consensus was --

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Was it only asbestos? LYNNE CAMERON: No. There were other things, too. SUSAN FREDRICKS: No. Yeah.

LYNNE CAMERON: There were other pollutants that -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: That’s right. LYNNE CAMERON: -- they'd buried on the --

They buried on either the US side -- But the one that they went to jail for, they buried on the US side. And they knew it was contaminated material.

KAREN BREWSTER: And they just buried it up off the tracks someplace? LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. Yep. KAREN BREWSTER: Instead of going (unintelligible). LYNNE CAMERON: It was buried during the -- it was buried during, maybe rail replacement.

It was dug up, and they knew it was contaminated, and so they just reburied it. And they weren’t supposed to do that. KAREN BREWSTER: No. LYNNE CAMERON: They were supposed to get rid of that contaminated -- and it was already contaminated. It was --

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. And so when you worked at the clinic, did you see health effects from the earlier time with the asbestos? LYNNE CAMERON: I don’t think we ever -- I never saw anybody with lung disease that we could say for sure was due to asbestos. Because so many people smoked, um, that came from that group.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: We had a man that had asbestos exposure and -- but then he worked with refrigeration, as well. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. SUSAN FREDRICKS: So those early years, it was --

LYNNE CAMERON: Nobody -- nobody knew about how toxic these things were, so he was Freon-exposed, as well as other things. It’s because he was plumbing and heating after that.

KAREN BREWSTER: But it’s interesting, though, that the lead, and I don’t know about what zinc exposure does, but that you did notice something from working at the clinic, that there was health effects. LYNNE CAMERON: And it was only an opinion. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

LYNNE CAMERON: You know, like, there weren’t any official studies. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Mm-mm. LYNNE CAMERON: And we’ve had a lot of cancers here, and so people have been very, you know, troubled about that and wondered if we had environmental things that were causing cancer.

Well, it would be really hard to know that because they’ve been all -- and I’ve said that to a lot of people. You know, I said, "In some ways, it’s very reassuring because we have a lot" -- we have an aging population, number one. Number two, uh, we have a whole variety of cancers that are caused not by environmental factors, by the genetics now. We know.

And so I don’t think you could put it down to any one environmental factor here. And so that’s -- that was another things, is that people were worried that we had, you know, environmentally caused cancers. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: And I have not been able to establish even by pattern that there would be a reason to study that, or that we would even get the attention of a health department. You know, it’s hard enough getting lead.

KAREN BREWSTER: So when they did some attempt at the lead clean-up in town, not at the terminal. LYNNE CAMERON: They did. KAREN BREWSTER: Dig they dig up people’s -- LYNNE CAMERON: They did both. KAREN BREWSTER: Did they dig up people’s yards, or wha -- how did they quote/unquote “clean it up”? LYNNE CAMERON: We -- we were able to get some sampling of -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Homes. LYNNE CAMERON: Homes. Yards. Very limited sampling of homes. SUSAN FREDRICKS: They --

LYNNE CAMERON: They wouldn’t do it. They wouldn’t do it. SUSAN FREDRICKS: They didn’t want to get -- LYNNE CAMERON: That was where they stopped. SUSAN FREDRICKS: That was where they stopped. That's where the investigation ended. LYNNE CAMERON: Because they said tracking.

KAREN BREWSTER: And who was doing it? DEC was doing the investigating? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes. Yes. LYNNE CAMERON: Um-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: So there was no digging up people’s yards with contaminated soil? LYNNE CAMERON: No. They did core sampling of some yards.

They did the lead sampling of the kids, the blood-lead. They did blood-lead on the workers.

They did some -- they did limited sampling in workers’ homes, and they did sample a restaurant that truck drivers used all the time. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Leaving Skagway. LYNNE CAMERON: And they had -- KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: The drivers. LYNNE CAMERON: They had high levels.

KAREN BREWSTER: The people who worked there? LYNNE CAMERON: In their flooring. SUSAN FREDRICKS: In the flooring. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah.

I worked at the Golden North Hotel early on. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: Bef -- bef -- no after all this was known. I worked as a housekeeper. And the owner said, "You’ll see it, Lynne. It’ll be sifting out of the rafters. You will see it on the windowsills." KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. LYNNE CAMERON: "Just watch."

And I would. We would see this black, glinty stuff that we dusted up all the time. (loud hammering noise in background) And it’s an old hotel. It’s been there for a hundred years. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Hundred years. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

LYNNE CAMERON: And that north -- that south wind, that prevailing south wind, just very faithfully picked up that stuff that was -- into the air, freely, off of an uncapped ore chute.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: And no capped trucks, or the railroad trains brought it in. (loud hammering noise in background)

LYNNE CAMERON: So it -- for years and years and years, it was going through town to the ore terminal, on the trains, then it was going on the trucks, through town.

And then it was into the ore terminal, freely. The storage changed there, too. And then it was off of the ore chute, which was not roofed. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Into the bay. LYNNE CAMERON: And into the bay and into the ships.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, did they have big piles of it stored at the terminal? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes. LYNNE CAMERON: Between -- between ore ships. SUSAN FREDRICKS: That’s how they gather their amount.

KAREN BREWSTER: Right. Well, that’s what I was thinking, you don’t just have a truck sitting there. SUSAN FREDRICKS: No. No. KAREN BREWSTER: The truck offloads it and goes and gets more.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: The day -- the day the cruise ships ended, we had an ore ship come in. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And that was stored then in that terminal all the time. They couldn’t use it because of the cruise ships.

LYNNE CAMERON: They had to fit the -- they have to fit the ore ships between cruise ship dockings. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

But, yeah, I mean, a big pile of raw, exposed material like that, in the wind. SUSAN FREDRICKS: In -- it was in the terminal. LYNNE CAMERON: And then they put it in the terminal. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, ok.

LYNNE CAMERON: But, you know, it was -- it was somewhat protected because they didn’t want to lose product. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: Right?

But there was enough exposure, and there was enough wind, and there was enough time --

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Now, there’s a tugboat captain that watched it being spilled off the conveyors. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. You said Korsmo. Mike Korsmo. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Korsmo, yes. LYNNE CAMERON: That was 2016. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes, and --

LYNNE CAMERON: But that was when AIDEA was in charge. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And he did note it, and he did call. But nothing came of it. LYNNE CAMERON: Was it 5:30 in the morning? SUSAN FREDRICKS: He just saw it. LYNNE CAMERON: And that was after AIDEA took over. And that was the only spill that’s been noted.

But they’ve talked about getting another -- in order to change that dock, which is what they need to do. They need to replace it ’cause it’s rotting. And to do that they would have to change the -- the ore chute.

And they did document at one point that they would be willing to do that. That AIDEA would. But I don’t know. You know, all these things fluctuate and change, and there’s too fluid. Nothing gets pinned down.

KAREN BREWSTER: And now the budget crisis in the state is used as the reason for everything. LYNNE CAMERON: For everything.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. So is the -- is your hope that the ore terminal area -- it's all the ground surrounding it, is that the concern? LYNNE CAMERON: That is not the concern. SUSAN FREDRICKS: No, because it’s all been surfaced -- LYNNE CAMERON: -- because it's all been capped. SUSAN FREDRICKS: -- and -- and also the grass.

LYNNE CAMERON: What is a concern, and it hasn’t been talked about at all, we have arctic terns that come in here and nest every year. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: And they began nesting, and they nest on the ground and on gravel, right? They began nesting in the parking lot, right next to the ore terminal.

And they nest within the ore terminal area, as well. And we look at that, and we go, that is just about the worst environment to raise babies that I can think of. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: And they don’t have nests. They leave -- they put the eggs right on the ground, on the rocks. LYNNE CAMERON: On the gravel.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: And who can talk to you more about that is Kim Burnham. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: She has been instigating -- just putting that -- LYNNE CAMERON: Protecting them. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Protected fence. LYNNE CAMERON: Wherever they want to lay.

But my -- my concern, and one that I haven’t actually talked to her about. SUSAN FREDRICKS: No. LYNNE CAMERON: Is that that is all horrendously contaminated area. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Site. Why would she -- LYNNE CAMERON: It’s not a good place for arctic terns. SUSAN FREDRICKS: No. KAREN BREWSTER: No.

LYNNE CAMERON: So what we saw this year is the arctic terns seem to have changed their nesting area back to an area they were initially. SUSAN FREDRICKS: In the middle of the river. LYNNE CAMERON: They dredged -- they dredged the river. They removed land that was in the middle of the river as an island that was treed, and it was graveled. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: And that’s where the terns went for many years, until they went and they changed the whole bed of the river. And then this year, apparently, it was solid enough and safe enough they started nesting there again.

But the problem is, birds on the airport is not a good thing. And so they began disturbing them by cannon firing.

KAREN BREWSTER: But the -- that’s just upriver of the footbridge there. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: There's sort of that gravelly island. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes. Yes.

KAREN BREWSTER: That’s in the river, and the airport’s next to it. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes. KAREN BREWSTER: Were the birds -- LYNNE CAMERON: Right. KAREN BREWSTER: -- on the runway?

LYNNE CAMERON: And they fly over. They fly over. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, they fly over. Oh. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah, it’s the overflight. They get concerned about it.

So they air cannon it. You know, in the mornings, you hear them before -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: 5:30, 6 o'clock.

KAREN BREWSTER: But it would be a better place to nest as a tern -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Exactly. KAREN BREWSTER: -- than in the ore terminal parking lot. LYNNE CAMERON: You would think. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. But that’s just an observation. It’s nothing we’ve followed up.

KAREN BREWSTER: But have arctic terns -- since you’ve been here, have arctic terns always come through and nested? Or that’s a new thing? LYNNE CAMERON: You know, I don’t remember the first time we saw them. SUSAN FREDRICKS: I don’t either. LYNNE CAMERON: I do not.

I -- it see -- you know, part of it is, it has to do with your own observation. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And the Beierlys would know more. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Because they’re down there. They live there. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: Yep. She’s the one to -- to tell you about the terns.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. I was just wondering if, you know, where did they nest before? Did they always nest in the river? LYNNE CAMERON: It seems like they’ve always -- they were at the river before. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: And Andy (Beirerly) was born here. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, yeah. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Grew up here. So he would be able to even identify that. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: Um-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: Um.

LYNNE CAMERON: So, you know, it's -- those were concerns for awhile, and for awhile, we were really concerned 'til we had the parameters down of the lead contamination. Was it safe to garden? Where was it safe to garden? Where did you want produce growing out of?

And I was most concerned about Beierlys. They were right in the flyway. And those babies that left were right across from them. It was their rental. And they were Park Service employees, you know?

A gal that we knew and became acquainted with lived on -- what is that? Is that Fourth or Fifth? Fourth, I think. Those condos that belonged -- that belonged to Rapuzzi and then, what’s her name? That doesn’t live there anymore. She left. She went to the East Coast.

Anyway, they had the baby. She had the baby. And she’s the one that said -- she never asked you to do this. Remember? In the “Get the Lead Out” group, way back. She had the little boy. And he was Park Service employee.

So anyway, they -- they lived a block away, and his -- that baby’s lead levels were elevated, as well. So.

KAREN BREWSTER: But up here at your place at Ninth, you felt that you were -- LYNNE CAMERON: The boys were fine. SUSAN FREDRICKS: No. We had my sons tested, and they were fine. KAREN BREWSTER: And then it’s been ok to garden up here? LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: You feel ok?

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Well, we were far enough from State Street that the wash -- even in just the -- it never came this way. KAREN BREWSTER: Well, that’s good.

LYNNE CAMERON: It is a heavy metal, so it is limited somewhat. It has to be aerosolized by some kind of major mechanical activity like dumping. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: Before it would blow to that extent. ’Cause it is heavy. But it’s like talcum powder.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so is -- yeah, you think the ore terminal, immediately around the ore terminal, that’s ever going to get cleaned up? LYNNE CAMERON: They did clean it to an extent, and they capped it.

And they have, uh, when they talk about doing any kind of activity that might disturb that, they have to get permission from DEC. And they have to do it in an approved way. So I’m satisfied that that part is ok.

The only -- the only question now, as far as I’m concerned, in my opinion, would be the ore terminal basin. The underwater. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: And then it needs to be done properly.

There isn’t any place here that can take care of tailings. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: No. LYNNE CAMERON: Like that.

When they did it the first time, they took that all back to the mine and reprocessed it and made money off of it. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

LYNNE CAMERON: So, you know, we -- they did a good job, I think, with the amount of contamination we had. They had a plan in place, and they did it. And they did it in an approved way.

But the -- the ore basin is not -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Was never touched.

KAREN BREWSTER: And the -- when you say the ore basin, what do you mean? LYNNE CAMERON: What I’m talking about is the underwater surface. The sediments that are underneath, mainly the dock.

There is a certain prescribed area that’s contaminated. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: And it is in the top sediments. It doesn’t go deep. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: Deep-deep.

They’ve done enough, you know -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Core samples. LYNNE CAMERON: Of the core samples that they can tell how far down it goes.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so it’s in the -- the sediment just around where the dock and the boats and the loading -- LYNNE CAMERON: And where the -- KAREN BREWSTER: -- chute was. LYNNE CAMERON: -- chute was.

And where all of that was dumped for so many years. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

Um, I was wondering about a fuel spill. Was there a fuel spill once up somewhere in the Pass area? LYNNE CAMERON: We’ve had so many. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Oh, so many. KAREN BREWSTER: That was covered -- that was another one that was kind of covered up. LYNNE CAMERON: We’ve had so many. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Or they were burning it off and they weren’t supposed to? LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: What’s the story? LYNNE CAMERON: I don’t even know. I didn’t ever get into that one. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, ok.

LYNNE CAMERON: But we have -- we're an old, uh, army barracks site, and an old industrial site from White Pass (Railroad), and so we have areas of contamination. SUSAN FREDRICKS: From World War II. LYNNE CAMERON: All through town. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: From World War II on.

KAREN BREWSTER: Or from the White Pass, back to -- ? LYNNE CAMERON: Or from White -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Where they put their fuel. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: There're whole lots where you cannot build. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Dumped. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, really? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes.

LYNNE CAMERON: There’s a lot that somebody bought just this last year. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Hm-mm. To build a house. You’ll see it. LYNNE CAMERON: Year and a half now. Up near White Pass.

And they think that it’s contamination from the White Pass. But it could have been -- they don’t know yet. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

LYNNE CAMERON: But they had to cease and desist because they dug down to put a foundation in, and they found sludge. And it was contaminant. You know, and it was petroleum-based.

So they had to quit. They can’t build anything there. They have to get some kind of remediation before they ever build there. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And it’s on them. LYNNE CAMERON: They couldn't put it back in. SUSAN FREDRICKS: The expense. KAREN BREWSTER: Now it’s on the owner, yeah.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: But has Carl Mulvihill talked to you? He knew every site. LYNNE CAMERON: He knows of all the bodies. KAREN BREWSTER: No, he didn’t mention it. SUSAN FREDRICKS: That would be very important for you to just go back -- KAREN BREWSTER: We didn’t talk about it yesterday. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. If you wanted to know that. SUSAN FREDRICKS: If you wanted to know the sites because we are concerned.

Do you know where "You Say Tomato," the health food store, is? KAREN BREWSTER: Yes, um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: There is a wooded lot that’s directly south there. And the reason why it’s wooded is because they were going to develop that, and they dug it up, and the same thing happened there. Just like what you see over here on Alaska (Street). LYNNE CAMERON: It’s contaminated. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Contaminated.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, as you say, it makes sense. During World War II, Skagway was taken over as a military base. LYNNE CAMERON: Um-hm. Right. KAREN BREWSTER: For building the Alaska Highway, and then with White Pass Railroad, back in the day where they had no requirements. SUSAN FREDRICKS: They dumped. No. LYNNE CAMERON: Right.

KAREN BREWSTER: So it’s not surprising that there would be -- LYNNE CAMERON: Sure. KAREN BREWSTER: -- lingering remnants. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Lingering.

LYNNE CAMERON: And it’s a small valley. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: You know, it’s narrow and it’s long, and this part of it is very small. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: And so, at the time when industry was allowed to do anything with impunity, which -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Is coming back again. LYNNE CAMERON: God knows, I don’t think that’s -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: It's obviously not over. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Mm-mm.

LYNNE CAMERON: And the standards for awhile helped correct some of that, but -- KAREN BREWSTER: But despite all of this -- LYNNE CAMERON: Despite all of that.

KAREN BREWSTER: Both of you have continued to live here. You’ve both lived here for a long time. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Why have you decided to stay? LYNNE CAMERON: We’re basically insane.

KAREN BREWSTER: It’s a good place to garden?

LYNNE CAMERON: Well, when we were raising the boys, it was about it being a small town with a small school, and they were safe. Relatively. As long as we could make sure they didn’t have lead. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

LYNNE CAMERON: But, you know, it was a small enough environment that you could control some factors and make sure your kid was safe. You knew people in town, and they knew you, and they managed, you know?

I mean, people still take that for granted. It’s still that small town. And they know if their kids are getting in trouble on the other end of town, somebody’s going to call ’em. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: And they depend on that.

So, you know, it was a good place to raise kids. That was number one, because Susan’s son was ten when her husband left, and he was -- he became our world. We had to raise him. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

LYNNE CAMERON: And we had to help remediate, you know, a lot of other factors for him. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: So it was about him.

And then by the time he was grown up, and then we were trying to fix the house, and I had a good job that could help with that. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: (loud hammering noise in background) And we could recycle funds into the house, and we’re still doing that. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

LYNNE CAMERON: So we stayed because it was a good place to raise the boys, and then it was a good environment for us. We could manage here and could make a living.

KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. Yeah. Well, any other environmental/landscape/geography/vegetation changes that we haven’t talked about? You mentioned the glaciers, the trees, things in your garden.

LYNNE CAMERON: It’s a dynamic place, and it feels like it’s the center of the world, a lot of times. And we always talked about it being a microcosm in a sense, but it’s holographic. I mean, what’s going on here goes on everywhere in some ways. You know?

(loud hammering noise in background) Um, but it’s also unique in that it’s Alaska, and people are far from their families of origin. And usually that’s by design. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah. To make their own life.

KAREN BREWSTER: Now is climate change a big topic of conversation in the community? LYNNE CAMERON: It is in certain circles. We have younger friends who are raising families now, and who are concerned with social and ecologic issues and patterns. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.

And when you moved here in ’87, that was not so much the case? LYNNE CAMERON: No, we’ve always been aware of it. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: Because I mean, we grew up in an era when that was an issue. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

LYNNE CAMERON: Huh, I remember the fifty-mile-an-hour speed limits. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: Fifty-five was it. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: You couldn’t go any faster than that.

KAREN BREWSTER: And gas rationing and all that. LYNNE CAMERON: And gas rationing, and cars that, you know, were supposed to be more economic, you know.

But we kind of got over that, didn’t we? So we’ve watched that, too.

And we’ve always practiced, because of our roots, I guess, and then Susan lived in co-op living, and so it was share and being very aware socially that you didn’t waste things, and you -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: That’s true. LYNNE CAMERON: -- try not to use the things that will be impacting on the environment forever and ever. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

LYNNE CAMERON: You try not to go that route. So where practical, we have done that.

The thing that I think is the most difficult for us is the fact that we are -- we’re dependent on oil. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Uh. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: We are so dependent on oil, like the rest of the country. SUSAN FREDRICKS: We are just -- KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: Like the world. KAREN BREWSTER: Like the world is, yeah. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And Alaska? KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: You know, that’s where Alaska makes its money. KAREN BREWSTER: I know.

LYNNE CAMERON: If I had unlimited funds, we’d do solar, wind, and wave. You know? If I was a billionaire, I’d invest in a wave-generation plant here. I’m not. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

LYNNE CAMERON: You know? It’s a very dependable method. (noise in background from clock ringing the hour) KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: It’s expensive. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: I mean, it’s changing an infrastructure, and people just can’t do it. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: We’re too vested.

It’s like, when we decided so many years ago to move out of the matriarchy and go to the patriarchy. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok, now we’re getting into a whole ’nother thing.

Well, thank you guys so much for your time. I really appreciate it. I know you have a busy day. So. LYNNE CAMERON: We make ourselves busy, but -- KAREN BREWSTER: Well, that’s good. LYNNE CAMERON: Yes. KAREN BREWSTER: Keeps you out of trouble, right? LYNNE CAMERON: Or into more, right. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. So.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Be sure to look up the people that we mentioned. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Well, I will. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And especially go across the street and ask Carl about the dump sites. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. SUSAN FREDRICKS: ’Cause he even has a map to show you, and that would be good. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. Yeah.

LYNNE CAMERON: If you’re interested in that. Because it has to do with the immediate environment of the community.

And some of our younger friends who say, we need this map because what if we want to build or make homes, and we don’t have the funding -- KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: -- to put into something and then find out it’s wrecked?

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, and I’ve heard lots of people talk about how housing is such a problem here in Skagway. LYNNE CAMERON: Oh. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Terrible. LYNNE CAMERON: It is. It is. KAREN BREWSTER: It's so limited.

And so then if you have lots that nobody can build on -- LYNNE CAMERON: Exactly. KAREN BREWSTER: -- that makes it even harder. LYNNE CAMERON: Yes.

(sound of cuckoo clock) There are a lot of factors in that whole -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So, is anything else that you wanted to talk about that -- ? SUSAN FREDRICKS: No. LYNNE CAMERON: No. It’s up to you. You’re the --

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, but I mentioned when I said what I wanted to talk about, climate change, have we covered that? LYNNE CAMERON: I think so.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yeah, I was thinking about Venice where we visited. LYNNE CAMERON: Oh, yeah. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And the story that this photographer, and he -- he lived a lifetime there.

And he said, you know? He was going to talk to his neighbor. They just moved in, and in order to live in Venice on the apartments, you have to have the -- lifted in a crane from the water, the little canals, up two stories, anything that’s heavy because the stairways are too narrow.

For any furniture has to come up by the waterway on a crane through a window. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: The main window.

So, he was so happy, and he went to the front door and he said, "Hi, I’m here." He saw a lady next door, and just chatting, you know, like, I’m going to be your new neighbor.

And she said, "I’m here only for the night." Everybody in Venice is a visitor, basically. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Very rare do they live there.

I mean, we went all over, and people just can’t live there. It’s too expensive. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

LYNNE CAMERON: We found that true all the way around the Mediterranean. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yes. KAREN BREWSTER: And that’s what -- SUSAN FREDRICKS: Corfu? Same thing.

KAREN BREWSTER: And that’s how you feel is what's happening in Skagway? SUSAN FREDRICKS: It’s getting to be, yes. LYNNE CAMERON: Tourism is its own poison. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Yep. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

LYNNE CAMERON: And there are limits. And we don’t know where those are yet, apparently. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Mm-mm. KAREN BREWSTER: Apparently not. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Apparently not.

LYNNE CAMERON: And now we’re gonna have great big ships coming into this harbor. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Stirring up the sediment. LYNNE CAMERON: And stirring up.

KAREN BREWSTER: And emitting things in the air. Have you noticed, um, with your garden and how things grow if there’s a -- with the air quality issues? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Not here. LYNNE CAMERON: Not in here.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: No. It’s more as we said where the smokestacks are. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. At that height? SUSAN FREDRICKS: At that height. Just take a look and see.

LYNNE CAMERON: They talked about and planned for a hydro that would provide electricity for the docks. We haven’t gotten there. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

LYNNE CAMERON: We haven’t gotten there, and I don’t think they will. They kind of abandoned that. And --

KAREN BREWSTER: ’Cause then they wouldn’t have to run their engines all the time? LYNNE CAMERON: Generators in port. That was the idea. KAREN BREWSTER: Yep. That would be good.

LYNNE CAMERON: But they abandoned that plan, so I don’t know if it will ever come alive again.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, as you said, everything seems to go around and come around, so if you start talking it up again, maybe it will come back. LYNNE CAMERON: Maybe. Where was --

SUSAN FREDRICKS: What are we going to be talking up? KAREN BREWSTER: Electricity. LYNNE CAMERON: About the -- furnishing power to the dock.

Do you -- what was the -- where was it that we were in port and the streets were so narrow up in that little village where we had to go up the mountain pass? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Montevideo? LYNNE CAMERON: Montenegro. SUSAN FREDRICKS: Montenegro, yes. Yes. Oh.

LYNNE CAMERON: That’s when I absolutely changed to my core. Looking down from the pass. SUSAN FREDRICKS: We will never take another cruise ship again. LYNNE CAMERON: No.

We looked down from the mountain overlook on the harbor in Montenegro, and it’s this tiny little port and this huge honkin’ vessel that we were on and part of, and it looked like an absolute invasion.

And I just said, "I can’t do this anymore. I can’t do it. I cannot do it." I can’t ride on a bus through streets so narrow that people have to flatten themselves on the sides to let the bus go through. (sound of cuckoo clock)

And they smile and they wave because they’re bringing money. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: But at the same time, it is disrupting their whole lives, you know.

And so it’s like, where -- where do you break this down so that people are not just objects to be looked at and taken pictures of? SUSAN FREDRICKS: Um-hm. LYNNE CAMERON: And their homes aren’t just pictures.

Where they’re people, and they share, and it’s a hospitality thing, and yet then they cannot live there anymore. SUSAN FREDRICKS: No.

LYNNE CAMERON: I mean, where does it -- where are the limits?

SUSAN FREDRICKS: That tour gal that gave us a tour through Corfu, she said her mother can’t live there anymore. And all the beautiful, white, domed buildings that are --

LYNNE CAMERON: And all the blue on the dazzling white. All of the courtyards. All of that now is out of sight for the people who live there. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: And Santorini. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And -- LYNNE CAMERON: Santorini especially. SUSAN FREDRICKS: And what’s the other one? LYNNE CAMERON: I don’t know. SUSAN FREDRICKS: In Greece. LYNNE CAMERON: Yeah, I know. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: It’s all Greece.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I will turn this off for now, unless you have any grand concluding thoughts about Skagway and climate change. LYNNE CAMERON: We’re always concerned about where we live. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

LYNNE CAMERON: And part of change, right, is that cruise ship industry which runs this town. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

SUSAN FREDRICKS: It does. And that’s what this book was about, that we don’t -- we’re all visitors in this bubble of tourism. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. SUSAN FREDRICKS: We all are. Even that we live here, we’re visitors anymore. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SUSAN FREDRICKS: It’s not the same.

LYNNE CAMERON: But you don’t live in a small town in Alaska and really be isolated anymore. And we know we’re part of the whole earth. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: And the whole ecology of the earth. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

LYNNE CAMERON: And we only have one planet. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. LYNNE CAMERON: I -- I don’t know what’s going to happen.

KAREN BREWSTER: It’s our responsibility to take care of it, and we haven’t done a very good job. LYNNE CAMERON: And I apologize. I apologize to the kids that are raising their kids now. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

LYNNE CAMERON: And say, we haven't done a very good job. I’m so sorry. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. (sound of Susan preparing dinner in the kitchen in the background) LYNNE CAMERON: I’m so sorry. I hope you can do better. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. LYNNE CAMERON: I hope there’s still time. KAREN BREWSTER: Let’s hope so.