Moose meat donated to flood-ravaged community

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — A nonprofit organization has donated more than a ton of salvaged moose meat to a flood-ravaged Alaska community whose food spoiled in a power outage.

The Alaska Moose Federation donated 2,300 pounds of meat to residents in the remote village of Galena, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Friday.

“Burger, steaks, ribs, soup bones,” federation executive director Gary Olson said. “A little bit of everything.”

The Anchorage-based nonprofit has a program in which volunteers pick up moose killed in vehicle crashes and deliver them to charities. Olson contacted the state Department of Public Safety, which coordinates the state’s moose salvage program, and received permission to use 11 road-killed moose for the donation to Galena.

In the village 270 miles west of Fairbanks, as many as 300 of its roughly 400 residents were evacuated last spring because of flooding caused by a Yukon River ice jam that sent water into the community.

No one was injured, but an estimated 180 homes were damaged and some were destroyed. Some houses were flooded to the roofs.

The flooding washed out the road to the community’s landfill. It also knocked out power, bringing a number of secondary problems, including how to keep bears away from game meat that spoiled in refrigerators and freezers.

Residents lost an estimated 17 tons of food such as moose, salmon, bear, geese, ducks and berries. After the flooding, many residents were too busy rebuilding their homes to replenish their freezers.

The donated meat will be distributed and also used at the Galena Interior Learning Academy, a boarding school that serves many students from Alaska Native communities.

“This will be used thankfully by all the people in the village,” said Rand Rosecrans, the school’s culinary arts instructor and food service manager who was put in charge of dividing up the meat and distributing it.

The idea for the moose-meat donation began several months ago as the state Department of Fish and Game considered how to meet the needs of Galena residents who had lost food because of the flood, according to Doug Vincent-Lang, acting director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation. The department kicked in $5,000 for the effort.

“It’s a great project,” Vincent-Lang said. “It’s an opportunity to serve rural Alaskans’ needs.”

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