Deer habitat, tree thinning, culvert repairs, local hire. Those are a handful of the issues on the table at a new round of local workshops initiated by the US Forest Service in Petersburg. The agency calls it collaborative stewardship and a small group of area residents has been taking part in the discussion. Some participants want to see Petersburg realize more economic benefits from the upcoming Tonka timber sale, which will likely be purchased by an out-of-town operation. Some are emphasizing conservation, and want more done to address damage to fish and wildlife habitat from past logging. The agency says it’s an opportunity for local residents to influence timber sale contracting and the use of timber sale revenue for habitat restoration and other improvements on the Tongass.
Matt Lichtenstein attended the first stewardship meeting early this month and has this report: