The Forest Service has put up a new website for its series of public workshops to gather input on the use of federal lands in the Petersburg area. District Ranger Jason Anderson says the site is a follow-up to the on-going effort, which the agency calls “collaborative stewardship”

Anderson says, “We’ve been posting the discussions, agendas, and notes from these collaborative workshops that have occurred in May. You’ll find things like maps that have been presented to the group, the notes of those workshops that have occurred, the agendas, some other attachments relevant to other collaborative efforts that have gone on, our stewardship contracting policy. Just information that brings people up to speed on why we’re gathering and what we’re talking about.”

Stewardship contracting allows the agency to use timber sale revenue for habitat restoration and other improvements on the Tongass. The website describes the workshops as a public forum to discuss what people want from nearby Tongass lands.

A small group of area residents took part in the first few meetings last month. Some wanted to see Petersburg realize more economic benefits from the upcoming Tonka timber sale, which will likely be purchased by an out-of-town operation. Others emphasized conservation, and want more done to address damage to fish and wildlife habitat from past logging.

Anderson says the agency is working to schedule another meeting for later this month and again in mid-July, “The June presentation will focus on young growth conditions on the Tongass, kind of where things are with past management acres and where those stand trajectories are moving and I think it will be very relevant to habitat conditions across the Tongass and we can even center-in on Petersburg. And then in July, we’ll have two folks coming from the forest to talk about red pipes across the Tongass, which are a pretty important aquatic habitat condition, basically representing impasse to fisheries and the efforts that we’ve done to correct those over the years and what they look like on the ground as well as some in-stream restoration projects. We’ll do a little presentation on what we’ve been doing to restore in-stream conditions across the Tongass.”

You can find a link to the Forest Service collaborative stewardship page here.