A committee of Wrangell, Petersburg and Kake residents has recommended 21 area projects and festivals for federal funding. Nearby communities could soon see a range of projects, from trail and cabin improvements, to festivals and amphibian monitoring.
The Resource Advisory Committee is comprised of 15 volunteers from Petersburg, Wrangell and Kake and together they determine which proposals should be funded.
They’re responsible for recommending how to spend Title Two funding allocated through the Secure Rural Schools Act, a federal program for communities near national forests. Their recommendations are then sent to the Forest Supervisor for approval.
Linda Slaght is the RAC coordinator. She says funding goes to projects that benefit resources on national forest land.
“It can be something that directly relates to wildlife habitat, such as the amphibian monitoring,” says Slaght. “Quite a few of the proposals have to do with recreation – developments and improvements to existing developments. Some festivals are included. These are educational, community-based festivals that provide information on natural resources of the Tongass.”
At a meeting this month the committee considered giving out just under a half million dollars. Just over $261,000 of that was allocated to Wrangell, about $134,000 to Petersburg, and $78,000 to Kake. Those numbers could be adjusted in coming meetings. Slaght says Petersburg’s portion of the funding was reduced in recent years, when it became a borough.
“This year was the first year that we saw the effects of the borough formation,” says Slaght. “Apparently Petersburg’s per-capita personal income is about 30 percent higher than Wrangell’s. That factors into the formula as a negative for the allocation.”
In the past, Petersburg and Wrangell were part of the same census area and received similar amounts of funding.
For Petersburg, the committee recommended funding for survey and design of a new cabin at Breiland Slough, along with the Kah Sheets Lake Cabin deck and walkway on Kupreanof Island. Other projects include maps for Petersburg Ranger District kiosks and firewood supply at the Kadake Bay Cabin on Kuiu Island.
There are a variety of reasons projects might receive funding, but Slaght says the committee likes to see those that will also receive funding from other sources.
“So it’s not just the Title Two funds funding the project,” says Slaght. “They tend to favor what looks like a good investment, a good use of limited funds, and bringing partners into the project.”
Three projects are shared between Petersburg and Wrangell, including Stikine area amphibian monitoring, Blaquiere Point boat ramp sign installation on Southern Mitkof Island, and improvements to the Chief Shakes hot springs on the Stikine River.
Wrangell received recommendations for nine projects and festivals, and Kake four.
Historically, Slaght says the majority of items recommended by the RAC have been adopted.
The committee will meet again on September 10. They are currently looking for new members.