Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Team welcomed Kayla Roys to work on our Tongass National Forest and transboundary campaigns. Since you may be hearing from her, we asked Kayla to introduce herself. Join us in welcoming Kayla!
Hey all! My name is Kayla Roys, and I joined the Trout Unlimited team in March of this year. I grew up in a rather fishy family and was lucky enough to spend most of my childhood outdoors experiencing all that the Tongass National Forest has to offer. From flying out to remote lakes, to summiting mountains in my backyard, I am a southeast girl through and through.
Southeast Alaska is made up of beautiful landscapes that draw in new comers. From mountain streams to saltwater flats, the fishing that Southeast provides is dynamic, within 15 minutes from our front doors, and always better than a day spent at home. We will deal with the heavy rain of fall and the abuse of winter for the long days of summer spent enjoying the outdoors.
Growing up in the Tongass, I found that people connect with one another in a different way than that of a big city; we connect outdoors. In the spring, we emerge from our winter hibernation, and flock together, connections forged by going on hiking, biking, camping and fishing trips. The shared passion of what we do for ourselves and connects us to one another and our environment more than our day jobs ever will.
That being said, I learned at a young age how important the lush forests, wild salmon runs, and clean water are to the Southeast Alaska region and its communities. For me, the importance of a healthy forest is through recreation. I spend my summers connecting with my friends and family on the water. From chasing the illusive southeast Alaska unicorn steelhead in small creeks, to bombing casts in the estuaries to king and silver salmon with my dad. The best memories I have are of dodging between log jams, tromping through muskegs, listening to fly line peel off my reel, and the smell of a campfire on my clothing. For others, the importance of a healthy forest is for harvesting seafood for their families, commercial fishing, guiding tourists, or the many other jobs that depend on the Tongass remaining healthy and wild.
This love for salmon and the outdoors is what drives my work for America’s Salmon Forest. Some of the oldest trees and the largest salmon runs in North America come from the Tongass. It is unthinkable to me that massive open-pit mines are under development in the headwaters of Southeast Alaska’s most important salmon rivers. Or that the Tongass could be open to commercial logging, which could impact recreation, hunting, and fishing, and our entire economy. Now is the time to do everything we can to defend our salmon rivers and forests for sustainable jobs for our region, and future generations to enjoy, just the way I have.
I am looking forward to working with you on behalf of the place we all love and many of us call home. Give me a call or send me an email any time with ideas for this work - or just to say hi.