REFILE-UPDATE 2-Obama heads to remote reaches of Alaska on last day of tour

Wed Sep 2, 2015 6:42pm EDT
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(Corrects spelling of Alaska in first paragraph)

By Roberta Rampton

DILLINGHAM, Alaska, Sept 2 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama headed to remote fly-in native villages of Alaska on Wednesday on a trek the White House hopes will bring attention to how climate change is affecting Americans.

Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit a community north of the Arctic Circle when he flies into Kotzebue, an Arctic town of about 3,000 that is battling coastal erosion caused by rising seas.

Before going to Kotzebue, Obama went to Dillingham, home to one of the world's largest sockeye salmon fisheries, where residents are fighting the Pebble Mine copper and gold project that has been proposed by Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd .

Ignoring a light drizzle, he walked down the banks of the Nushagak River where women who fish for a living had anchored fishing nets to shore to catch a silver salmon.

"I've got to get some gloves so I can handle my fish," Obama said. As he lifted it, the fish relieved itself on his shoes. "Uh-oh. What happened there?" he asked.

Obama spoke with Alannah Hurley of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay, who is part of a coalition fighting the mine.

Hurley told reporters before his arrival, "We have never seen a mine the size of the Pebble project."   Continued...