This is the continuation of an interview with Jeff and Dorothy Brady on October 10, 2018 by Karen Brewster at their home in Skagway, Alaska. In this second part of a two part interview, the Bradys continue to talk about observations of environmental change in the Skagway and Dyea area. They discuss pollution and water contamination, changes in fish and bird populations, and the occurance of rock slides into the harbor. They also talk about changing species in the garden and express concerns about increased potential for forest fires, as well as the need for increased awareness and action on environmental change around the world.
Digital Asset Information
Project: Observing Change in Alaska's National Parks
Date of Interview: Oct 10, 2018
Narrator(s): Jeff Brady, Dorothy Brady
Interviewer(s): Karen Brewster
Transcriber: Ruth Sensenig
After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.
Pollution in Skagway from ore transportation
Water contamination, and importance of trusting scientists
Observations of change in fish populations
Observations of change in bird populations
Rockslides in the harbor
Concerns about forest fires, and positive effects of environmental change on gardening
Observations of change in garden plants and growing seasons, and invasive species
Advantages of cutting dead trees and concerns about forest fires in Dyea
Local concern about environmental change, and need for increased awareness on a global scale
Observations of change in storms, and winter icing events
Human adaptation to environmental change
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After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.
JEFF BRADY: The Taiya River gauge, like about August 10th, I think, you’ll see where it really spiked. It was set a -- there’s only been two other times when it's gotten that high. One was during the West Creek flood and the other was a few years later after a lot of rain.
But it was up around -- flood stage is, like sixteen feet, and this was in the -- it was eighteen-something. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. JEFF BRADY: Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: Um, this is a little off topic, but it does have to do with environmental things and the lead pollution issues and the lead-zinc transport through town. Talk a little bit about what went on during that period.
JEFF BRADY: Well, I covered it thoroughly in the newspaper, and, you know, it -- during the heyday with the railroad, it just was business as usual.
It would come down on the train cars, and, apparently, you know, it wasn’t a very tightly run operation, environmentally-wise.
KAREN BREWSTER: So those cars were not covered? JEFF BRADY: No, they were covered. But, I mean, there was probably lead and zinc on the cars after they’d been loaded, and, you know, there was evidence of it all the way down the line.
And, you know, when it got to the terminal, the terminal was an open -- it was -- it had a roof on it, but there were open doorways all up and down it where, you know, they’d dump it. And anyway, this dust would get around.
And when they loaded the ship, there was not a chute like they have now that would contain the dust.
So a combination of all that led to the discovery in the mid-eighties that we had a problem. This was after the railroad had closed, and it was being trucked.
And the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) came in and did tests, and, yeah, it was everywhere.
And they tested the children in school. They tested the workers. The children in school were fine. Their blood levels were found to be lower than kids in LA who were -- had it from other sources, obviously, mostly cars.
But it was a bit of a scare. The workers did have -- you know, they did have high levels.
Anyway, a lot of things were addressed at the time. They brought in these big supersuckers. They cleaned it up.
The railroad and the mine, what was left of the mining ownership, paid for that.
And then in the basin, though, they decided to leave it alone, hoping that it would eventually be covered with time. And it’s kinda sat that way.
And then improvements right to the terminal. They actually tore the old terminal down and rebuilt it and improved the loader and all that.
So there have been a couple of hiccups along the way. But they’re, you know, they’ve pretty much got it together now, but you still have this historic contamination in the basin.
And the DEC and White Pass just, uh, released a report with Golder Associates that said that there’s still a problem down there. It has been covered.
But it’s probably -- probably would be a good idea to go ahead and clean it up, dredge it and get it out of there, even though over time, it is being covered by the silt from the river. The -- it still gets churned up when you have big cruise ships in there. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
JEFF BRADY: And if this -- you know, if you’re talking about -- the ore dock needs a lot of work. The lease for the property with the railroad is about to expire.
The community is -- basically told the borough that they’d like to have it back, and then they’ll work out some arrangement for managing the place, possibly through White Pass’s new ownership or somebody else. You know, that’s still in the political cycle.
KAREN BREWSTER: Right. But on the -- on the lead issue, was it a controversial issue in the community? Were there some people who didn’t feel like it was pollution and didn’t -- ? JEFF BRADY: Oh no. I think once you started testing kids in school, it became a very serious issue.
And the community is pretty well behind getting it cleaned up. I don’t --
all of the discussions in the current port planning down there start with getting this cleaned up. And then you can do more with the port down there.
It’s being driven by these bigger ships coming in and the need for improved dock facilities.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I was thinking that in that time in the ’80’s, if, you know, were there people -- families whose kids were tested and had lead levels, and the families left? Or were there some who questioned it? JEFF BRADY: Not really.
I mean, families were leaving then because of no economic opportunity for ’em. The railroad had shut.
These were the families that were still here, and most of them remained here.
But, you know, the fears were allayed, at least for the children, because the tests came back -- you know, they weren’t really affected.
And they cleaned up what was in town and along the railroad and along the highway. The entire beach area down there was cleaned up.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I would think for the families living right along State Street or closer to the ore terminal that those lead levels would have shown up in their kids. JEFF BRADY: But they didn’t, I mean not --
DOROTHY BRADY: It’s a north wind. It's blowing it all out into the bay. JEFF BRADY: Yeah, I don't -- Yeah, it was never -- you’d think that it might, but it wasn’t at an action level. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.
JEFF BRADY: It wasn’t even that high. It wasn’t -- I mean, they were comparing it to the kids in downtown LA, that we were lower than them. And it was, so --
DOROTHY BRADY: It was mostly the people that were working in the building. JEFF BRADY: Yeah, because they didn’t have masks. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. JEFF BRADY: They were in open loaders. DOROTHY BRADY: They were all black. JEFF BRADY: Now, everything’s enclosed. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. JEFF BRADY: They have to wear masks.
KAREN BREWSTER: For those guys who worked there, was there a higher rate of cancer or lung problems? I don’t know what lead -- JEFF BRADY: I -- I didn’t see it.
There was a water contamination issue that I think was more urgent that happened right after that, where we were -- had, um, I’m trying -- I can’t remember what it was called, tetro -- anyway. KAREN BREWSTER: Some chemical.
JEFF BRADY: Yeah. And it was basically from old fuels and things like that that might have been left over or buried during World War II, or from up by the railroad shops as well, where they weren’t -- you know.
I don’t think they were dumping things up there, but they were letting things sit there for a very long time, and they could leak and things like that.
So these petrochemicals, which were showing up in our water, were a really big concern, and I think that -- it’s hard to say, you know.
You know, we seem to have a high rate of cancer, but I don’t think it’s any higher than anywhere else. There were a lot of people who smoked in this town when I first arrived, and you don’t see that as much anymore. So, you know, it’s hard to say.
I think -- I think -- and that petrochemical problem went away, finally, um, in the wells. So, I -- I -- but you still see it in town, because some people who, um -- there was a place just south of the school that -- where a home could not be built because they found significant contamination.
The old clinic site, where they wanted to build a new senior home has the same problem, and it’s right next to Pullen Creek. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm.
JEFF BRADY: So I think that was a bigger concern in the long run, health-wise, than the lead problem. I think the lead problem has been taken care of.
And the final step of that is to clean up the bay so that it’s not in our shrimp and crabs out there. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. JEFF BRADY: Or mussels and things like that.
I don’t -- I don’t think you can -- you can make a straight line to health problems from the lead as much as you can from petrochemicals.
But I’m not a doctor. You’re a doctor, right? DOROTHY BRADY: Um-hm.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I know you -- it was more that you repor -- I know you reported on it, and writing the newspaper for so long, all these issues, you would be in the pulse of the community. JEFF BRADY: Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: Um-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: What the controversies were.
JEFF BRADY: Yeah. When it gets down to science, though, it’s just, you know, you just gotta trust the scientists.
You know, there’s climate change affecting our world, and even if our president doesn’t know what that means. But you can definitely see those effects.
You -- you -- you just have to -- you know, have to trust the scientists and do enough analysis of the data and all that to figure out if things are really happening or not. Plus, all our observations get lumped into that.
KAREN BREWSTER: We didn’t talk about the fish in the ocean. You mentioned the mussels and the shrimp and the crabs. JEFF BRADY: Um-hm. (Sound of chair scraping the floor) KAREN BREWSTER: Anything -- DOROTHY BRADY: Sorry. KAREN BREWSTER: It’s ok. Anything different out there?
JEFF BRADY: Well, I think the biggest thing, of course, is the returns of king salmon are historically low. Whether that’s -- I don’t think that has anything to do with what’s going on here except that we don’t have a hatchery producing them or contributing to our stocks anymore.
But, overall, just in the region and all over Alaska, it’s at historic lows. I think that’s more of an ocean problem, from what I understand.
KAREN BREWSTER: But that you are seeing here, that there are fewer king salmon. Fewer other kinds of salmon, too, or other fish? JEFF BRADY: Uh, we mainly see kings up this way, but our pink runs have been -- every other year, still remain really strong.
So I don’t -- it’s not affecting them. It’s affecting more the kings who go out and stay longer. And they’re just not coming back for various reasons.
KAREN BREWSTER: What about hooligan? JEFF BRADY: Uh, hooligan were really -- have been -- we had a really strong run, uh, two years ago. Last year, not so much. They come in cycles.
The theory that it was so strong here that one year is that they were doing dredging in the Haines boat harbor and making so much noise that the fish decided, well, we’re not going to turn that way. We’re going to turn up this way. DOROTHY BRADY: They were pile driving. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
JEFF BRADY: But we had a really, really, really strong run. So, you know, the hooligan seem to be still coming. The pink salmon are still coming.
It’s just those big, nice kings aren’t coming back the way they used to. You’ll -- you know, that’s borne out in the statistics of the number of sport fish caught.
It seems like we -- we had a high of about, maybe, ten charter boats at one time. And now that’s half of that, if that, now.
KAREN BREWSTER: And there’s never been commercial market out here? JEFF BRADY: No. Like, my stepson’s a commercial gillnetter, but he -- all the fishing is in the Haines area and below, Juneau. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
JEFF BRADY: He has to follow the fish every year. He was in Sitka a good part of the summer where it was stronger.
Chums were really, really strong this year for a time. And then he, you know, he came up, chased sockeye.
Sockeye was an average year in Lynn Canal. Chums were a little below average, but the price was good, and silvers were ok.
So it was not a -- he had a better year last year, but this year he did ok because the price was good, so it’s -- But through all that, the kings aren’t there. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
JEFF BRADY: And the trollers, I know, down toward Juneau, Hoonah, Sitka, are not -- you know, that rely on the kings are having a tough time.
KAREN BREWSTER: Um, Dorothy, you had mentioned the birds. Were there other birds that used to be here that aren’t here anymore? You mentioned these new ones, but -- DOROTHY BRADY: Bluebirds. We don’t see those very much anymore.
The Arctic terns have had a really tough time. They widened the runway and pushed the river over and did some things down at the bay where the Arctic terns were confused and were starting to nest on the -- in the area where they park trucks, and the ore trucks go through.
And so the last couple of years, they’ve created a place for them to be protected.
But we’ve had a lot of crows move in that we never had before, and they’re harassing them. I think they’re eating a lot of the eggs.
And I think that that’s something we’re going to have to address, because we’ve had sharp-shinned hawks try to nest in some of the spruce trees here, and the crows just won’t let it happen.
A lot of people have cut down their spruce trees. They were quite large. Just because of the crows, cause they will nest in them. And they sit there all day long, creating havoc and making noise and everything.
One of the things, too, that’s -- that's moving in that we’ve never had before are Eurasian collared doves. We have a lot of those now.
JEFF BRADY: Yeah, that’s the one you really notice. They stay year-round. KAREN BREWSTER: They stay?
And the crows stay year-round, too? DOROTHY BRADY: No. They go south. JEFF BRADY: No. They eventually leave and the valley becomes peaceful again. DOROTHY BRADY: But they’ll be back. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
DOROTHY BRADY: But they’re more and more every year, and it’s -- I couldn’t -- I couldn’t handle it in town because they’re right up above you. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: And they’re constantly making noise.
JEFF BRADY: They’ve got a nest in our mountain ash tree over here. DOROTHY BRADY: Yeah. But, they, uh -- I see them --
This year, the Arctic terns were starting to go back out on the riverbed the way they were in years past. And hopefully -- and they were north of the Skagway River Bridge, too, which I thought was unusual. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.
DOROTHY BRADY: They’re usually not that far up. They like staying down by the water. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
DOROTHY BRADY: But I would like to see the crow issue taken care of just so I can see the Arctic terns return. (phone rings)
KAREN BREWSTER: See, there we go. We said that nobody would call. DOROTHY BRADY: I’m going to have to -- JEFF BRADY: Probably her daughter.
KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. Again, somewhat unrelated, but, I read about an underwater landslide or something you guys had here out in the harbor. Do you remember -- did you report on that? JEFF BRADY: Yeah, that was in --
I think that was two -- no, when was that, 199 -- ? I’m getting too old. I can’t remember these things. It’s in my book.
KAREN BREWSTER: Somewhere in the ’90’s. But somewhere in the ’90’s.
JEFF BRADY: 1994? Sound right? (background noise from furnace running) Well, that was a result of -- it was inconclusive in the long run, but most people figured it was manmade.
And that the old White Pass dock was getting ready to be refurbished, and they had stockpiled tons of rock on top of that dock for the project they were doing -- getting ready to do down there.
And then a combination of a really high and really low tide, and then it just, whoop! Into the bay.
The engineer for the railroad at the time tried to argue that it was an underwater landslide caused by the Skagway River. The state did not buy that at all, and there was -- you know, it was all settled out of court, I think. Uh, with the railroad paying.
So, just, you know -- but that underwater landslide killed a man from Homer who was working down there at the time. And his family sued and got some compensation.
KAREN BREWSTER: So did it create a tidal wave? JEFF BRADY: Yes. And it was like a mini tidal wave. It really -- it did a lot of damage to the ferry float.
It actually went way down and then way up really fast, and it caused those big chains down there to snap. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.
JEFF BRADY: And the big concrete dock sort of swung into the Broadway dock at the time. Did a lot of damage.
That was Skagway’s big disaster at the time. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, well that’s why -- I’d read about it. JEFF BRADY: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: And I didn’t know, I was going to say, if it was -- what the cause was.
JEFF BRADY: Yeah. It -- it -- generally it’s -- I mean most people in town figured it wa -- I mean, if you see pictures of all the rock being piled on top of the dock the week before that happened, kinda led to that conclusion.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yes. So it wasn’t a rockslide off of that chute that -- JEFF BRADY: No, it was not. KAREN BREWSTER: -- that's -- that’s kind of a regular slide area?
JEFF BRADY: The slides coming off that area now are -- there’s always been slides there, but it’s been -- like last summer, when it did rain a lot, it caused a lot more to come down there.
And they had some pretty big ones come down, and they’ve since had to mitigate that with a new screen above it, higher and lower.
It was still a bit of an issue this past spring. They had one get through.
But -- and it was causing the -- one of the cruise ships especially, just, the captain would refuse to dock there until about middle of the summer when it all dried out. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.
JEFF BRADY: But, uh, yeah. I don’t know if that’s a climate change issue or not. I mean, it’s -- that slide’s always had rock issues. Or that side of the valley.
KAREN BREWSTER: Is this your refrigerator that’s making that noise? JEFF BRADY: That’s my furnace. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, your furnace. Ok. JEFF BRADY: I can turn it down. KAREN BREWSTER: Well, that’s ok. I didn’t mean. It’s going to go off, isn’t it? JEFF BRADY: I hope so. KAREN BREWSTER: All of a sudden, I’m like, man, what’s that hum?
Well, all this talk about climate change, is there anything good about climate change in Skagway? I mean, is it a potentially good thing?
JEFF BRADY: We had a really nice summer, but I think I was a little nervous at times, just ’cause of the lack of rain. I mean, it’s better if it rains, you know, every other week or so. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
JEFF BRADY: Just, you know, you worry about forest fires more than anything, and where we are out in Dyea, that’s a big concern ’cause we’re the -- we're the -- we're the -- you know, we’re at the edge of the wilderness out there.
So if there were ever a fire up Mount Yakeman or roaring down the Chilkoot, we would be in serious trouble. All my little hoses can’t handle a forest fire.
KAREN BREWSTER: No. Is there a history of fires in the area? JEFF BRADY: Uh, not there, but there was a lightning fire up, uh -- there was a lightning fire up on the Chilkoot a few years ago, just -- that they got to in time. Just off the Chilkoot.
There was a manmade-caused fire up on the Hackett Hill area before that. This last major fire of that kind in Skagway. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. JEFF BRADY: And it roared up the hillside.
They brought in bombers and everything, and they got it contained pretty fast. But you worry about that.
We had a fire up -- a lightning fire up on Windy Arm on the Klondike Highway, away from the highway on the other side of the lake, but it burned all summer. I think the --
DOROTHY BRADY: It’s still burning. JEFF BRADY: Yeah, it’s still burning.
It was -- they -- it struck in July, I think. And it -- It was away from people, but it -- you know, those things can just burn forever. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
Well, Dorothy, I was asking whether, you know, with climate change, is there something maybe good about climate change? Is it -- if the weather -- DOROTHY BRADY: From a gardener’s point of view, yeah. You know, more things will grow up here. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: That you don’t have to coddle.
Like roses, I suppose. But um, yeah, I’m certain that there’s lots of good things. Not lots, but a few.
KAREN BREWSTER: Are there good invasives? If there’s different plants coming up, is there maybe something good about that? I don’t know.
DOROTHY BRADY: I’d like to see more things reseed, but then I have to be very careful about what I’m planting.
I like to do things individually because if you get mixes, sometimes you’re going to get a thistle in there or something, and that’s what you don’t want to see.
We’ve had two, um, two occurrences with thistles in Skagway, and I know Haines is inundated with thistles, the Canadian thistle.
And Gustavus was at one time. On the property that I lived on there was highly invasive of thistles. And so I don’t want to see that happen in Skagway.
But, no, I think you just have to be very careful educating the public and gardeners on what to grow and what not to grow. I mean, just because something looks pretty doesn’t mean it’s going to be good for us.
You know, lisianthus is one that’s -- liatrus, I think, is the one that’s really bad. So, um, it’ll take over.
And I know that there are some grasses that can just take over and wipe out your native grasses that I don’t want to see. I don’t want to see that happen.
KAREN BREWSTER: Do you have different weeds growing in your garden than you used to? DOROTHY BRADY: No.
The clover is taking over. The white clover is definitely taking over.
The red clover that I had on the Frolander property on the hill, unfortunately, we had a guy come and mow the tall grass one summer, and he just kept it mowed, and it wiped out all my red clover.
So I’m going to have to reseed, which means rototilling again, and it’s going to be -- it’s going to be tough, but I want to get that back. That’s a good weed.
But, no, I don’t -- from a gardener’s point of view, you’ve gotta be really careful about what kind of weeds you want.
I haven’t seen anything new and different, but the -- you should talk to my friend Emily Willis. She’s a gardener here. Have you heard of her? KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. DOROTHY BRADY: Ok.
Plantain, I noticed, usually it doesn’t go to seed the way I’ve seen it. It’s done really well this year. The seed pods are this tall. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.
DOROTHY BRADY: And the plantain leaves are huge. I’ve never seen ’em that big before. And they’re so prolific, but --
Last week, I saw a dandelion blooming. Things are staying -- things are blooming longer into the season.
The Alaska orchid was blooming up until just a few days ago. Nasturtiums, you know, I don’t normally see them this late. I mean, this is the middle of October. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
DOROTHY BRADY: So that’s kinda nice. You know, I like that.
But, on the other hand, you know in the back of your mind that some of the things that you’re relying on to come back aren’t going to do that again.
You know, you’re going to have to spend more time mulching. And then you have to remember to take that mulch off at a certain time in the spring. If you take it off too early, it’ll freeze, if there’s a late frost. If you take it off too late, it’ll rot. So, you just gotta be careful about that.
What were we talking -- what were you talking about just a minute ago that reminded me of something? Forest fires.
Oh yeah, this year, the red flag was definitely up for qui -- for at least two months. Any time I smelled wood smoke, I would be very concerned because a lot of people that are building campfires and such don’t understand that it can travel underground.
I would also love for the Park Service to allow people to cut, because they control most of the Dyea valley now, and they don’t allow any cutting.
And those -- there are so many dead and down spruce trees that are so dry. If -- if the city campground, which is on the south end of the valley, had a campfire get out of control, we don’t have a fire department in Dyea. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. DOROTHY BRADY: You wouldn’t be able to get into that forest.
And when I ride through there, I cannot believe the deadfall that is in the old townsite down there. And they’re not doing anything about it.
They could haul those trees out of there and provide ’em to the community to cut, you know, and they won’t do it.
But, boy, I tell ya, there’s not going to be anything left if a fire goes through there, ’cause it’ll take it all. And it’s just going to take the whole valley.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, and it sounds like with the warming conditions, the drier conditions, fire is a greater concern than it would have been in the past? DOROTHY BRADY: Yeah. JEFF BRADY: Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: Absolutely. JEFF BRADY: Yes. Definitely.
DOROTHY BRADY: And I’d like to meet the new park superintendent and at least put that bug in his ear, you know. This is an alarm.
And I think nationally, the Park Service doesn’t allow any cutting, but I think they need to address it because --
JEFF BRADY: Well, those are wilderness parks where it’s a natural phenomenon, but this is not a wilderness park. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. JEFF BRADY: It’s different. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: Yeah. So.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, and it does lead me to sort of a question about adaptation and, you know, the things the community is doing or will need to do in the future as things keep changing?
DOROTHY BRADY: Well, I think it’s become a greater issue for those of us that love the Dyea valley.
We’ve had a campground host now for the city campground out there, which is fairly new. It’s not that old.
And that’s basically so they can walk around and tell people, you know, you need to keep your fires low. It’s a no-burn ban.
Because if you don’t have somebody living within the campground out there, you may have a problem.
Especially on Victoria Day. We have a lot of people come down from the Yukon, and the designated camping spots that are there now really don’t accommodate the many people that come down here on those Canadian weekends.
And those, you know, I’m not saying that it’s Canadians in general. I’m just saying that it’s people that are from out of town that don’t understand there might be a burn ban on.
But you need somebody there that understands the conditions that are going on at that time.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, and I was thinking, you know, Danny, your son, was involved with this climate change class, and some other students. Did they come up with ideas of things that the community can do to help combat climate change or adapt? I don’t know.
JEFF BRADY: I think their whole thing was more awareness and just bringing the attention of everyone to the global situation. They -- I don’t think they address that many specific issues here locally.
It was mainly about just awareness, and on an international stage, there needs to be some sort of action to slow the change.
Change is happening, uh, and you can see it in other parts of Alaska more critically with villages being lost to rivers.
But I think it’s definitely affecting our fish and wildlife. And at some point, it’s going to affect us.
And, you know, the -- there were some pretty dire statements that came out this week about how we have until 2040 before we see some major things happening in terms of the number -- the degree of warmth going two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half degrees.
That’s all it’s going to take to have some major, major impacts.
Places like Alaska are seeing it already ’cause we’re further north. I think it’s all going to happen more further north.
But you’re also seeing it in -- with the number of big storms happening. There’s one happening right now in October. KAREN BREWSTER: Down in Florida? JEFF BRADY: In Florida, yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: But around here, has there been a change in the storm pattern? JEFF BRADY: No, not really. We’ve seen fewer storms, it seems.
So we -- it’s drying out more up here, which is a big concern for us.
I mean, we need our little storms once in awhile. We need to have a balance in the force, I guess. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
JEFF BRADY: We don’t have that seasonal balance of warm and hot, rain and enough snow the way we used to have it.
For people who like nicer weather in the north, it’s ok, and, you know, you can’t complain about that too much. But if there’s too much of it, it’s not a good thing.
KAREN BREWSTER: Are you having more icing events, then, in the winter? Or it’s just raining instead of snowing? JEFF BRADY: Uh, it seems like there’s been just less moisture overall.
DOROTHY BRADY: We had a huge ice storm four years ago. JEFF BRADY: Yeah. DOROTHY BRADY: It rained -- it snowed, and then it rained, and then it froze.
And I could hear the trees just breaking left and right.
JEFF BRADY: But we always have had that, I think. I don’t think we’re just -- we're getting as much of it as we’ve had before. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.
JEFF BRADY: Skagway, because of the wind, it always blows the snow away anyway, so -- KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh.
JEFF BRADY: This past winter, we had a lot of wind and a lot of cold, but we didn’t have a lot of snow, so it just kind of stayed cold.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, yeah, because, (background noise of Dorothy hitting spoon against pot of crabapple jam she's making on the kitchen stove) you know, the idea of how climate change affects people and how they adapt is if it’s not a big thing yet here, maybe it’s not a hot topic of importance for people? JEFF BRADY: People are aware of it. I mean, the naysayers are just going to say otherwise. But -- DOROTHY BRADY: It’s gonna have to take -- JEFF BRADY: -- it’s here.
DOROTHY BRADY: It’s probably going to have to take something like a mandatory law (phone rings) that makes everybody recycle and rethink and reuse.
It’s not something that each community can really do. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.