The University of Alaska lands office has responded to the borough of Petersburg and the city of Kupreanof and says it will proceed with two timber sales on Mitkof Island.

The two municipalities this month sent a letter to the University asking to suspend finalization of contracts for logging areas on the western and southern side of Mitkof Island. The letter cited concerns with landslide potential, loss of deer habitat, and lack of information about the potential impacts of logging the parcels.

A May 21st letter from UA facilities and land management associate vice president Kit Duke says that she sees “no compelling justification for sale cancellation and we intend to proceed.”

Duke writes that a representative with the university met with mayor Mark Jensen and borough manager Steve Giesbrecht in February and says those two voiced support for the sales at that time. Duke writes that the university has been “very transparent and upfront with its public process.”

The letter says the Division of Forestry will enforce best management practices for slope stability and that helicopter logging on the Wrangell Narrows parcel will have minimal impact on the scenic byway.

Meanwhile, UA land’s Regional Resource Manager Patrick Kelly says the two timber sale contracts have been awarded and executed. In an email he writes the contractors, Alcan and Sealaska timber corporations, can start logging the two sales once a detailed plan of operations is approved.