How will Sealaska’s takeover of Tongass land affect the national forest’s transition to logging younger trees?
Petersburg District Ranger Jason Anderson says members want to know more about the regional Native corporation’s land selections.
“Generally speaking, the legislation is perceived to be pulling some of the older young-growth land base into Sealaska’s management, which might impact the ability of the Forest Service land base to accelerate the move into young growth,” he says.
About 70,000 acres of the Tongass is being transferred to Sealaska under a bill passed by Congress late last year.
The advisory committee was appointed last May to assist Tongass managers with the transition. Its 15 members represent timber, environmental, tribal, business and government interests in Southeast Alaska.
It has two years to do its work. But Anderson says the panel is trying to meet an April deadline so its recommendations can be part of a larger Tongass management plan.
“I think it’s really going to come down to a … discussion with the committee and its diverse interests around the effects of accelerating young growth, to try to ramp down on old growth and what the trade-offs on those non-timber landscapes might be,” he says.
The advisory group will also take public testimony at the Juneau meeting. Anderson says comments submitted so far follow familiar themes.
“A lot of it (is) really longstanding concerns, questions and issues from various constituencies, that people are bringing forward to the committee for consideration,” he says.
The meeting is at the Aspen Suites Hotel, near Juneau’s airport. It will be the fifth since the committee was formed.