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Under the Surface: Development of In-Region Gravel and Rock Resources

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Good quality rock, gravel and sand are essential for the proper construction of airports, roads, building pads, landfills, bridges and embankments. BBNC, in conjunction with village corporation surface owners, developed these resources as part of its commitment to use its ANCSA lands for the benefit of shareholders.

Snake Lake Quarry, just 17 miles northwest of Dillingham, is one example of an in-region source for quality rock. It produces armor rock that is tough, durable and surpasses all of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers specifications for infrastructure uses. BBNC’s Land Department worked with Choggiung Limited to reopen the quarry in 2017 after completing permitting and widening a key access road. The short distance from the quarry to the Bristol Alliance Fuels port in Dillingham helps developers save on hauling costs for rock needed on projects throughout western Alaska.

“The Snake Lake rock meets U.S. Corps of Engineers standards for break water, harbor revetment and erosion control,” said Russell Phelps, BBNC Natural Resource Manager. “With approximately 2.4 million cubic yards of material, the quarry will be instrumental for projects in the region for generations.”

“Before developing sources like the Snake Lake Quarry, a lot of hard questions are asked and answered,” said Land Department Manager Francisca Demoski. “BBNC operates with a Fish First value, and the Land Department has specific responsible resource development guidelines. We carefully select and support only those projects that will enrich our Native ways and sustain our land.”

Gravel pit in Pedro Bay

Gravel and rock sales provide revenue to BBNC shareholders through distributions and split estate sharing with village corporations. Material sales also create job opportunities for equipment operators, truck drivers and administrative support. BBNC also contracts with village corporations to identify key projects, and to develop, market, and sell the materials.

The next time you land at an airport in Bristol Bay or drive along a road, remember there’s a story just under the surface. The foundation of many infrastructure projects and of many economic benefits, lies in the gravel and rock beneath your feet.