SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Trout Unlimited Distances Itself from New Sealaska Lands Bill

Trout Unlimited Sets the Record Straight


February 18, 2013
Monday PM

(SitNews) Juneau, Alaska - A conservation group this weekend said it does not support a plan by Alaska's delegation to allow an Alaska Native-owned corporation to acquire roughly 70,000 acres of the Tongass National Forest for logging, energy and tourism development.

Saturday, Trout Unlimited, the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization, announced that contrary to a misleading media release issued by Sealaska Corporation, it does not support newly introduced legislation that would carve some 70,000 acres from the Tongass National Forest and transfer it to the Juneau-based corporation. Trout Unlimited also never requested inclusion of 94,000 acres of conservation lands in the bill, as stated by Sealaska.

The legislation, known as the Sealaska bill, is sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and aims to settle land claims by Sealaska , a regional Native corporation representing shareholders with ties to Southeast Alaska. Trout Unlimited does not dispute that Sealaska is owed land under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971, “But the inference by Sealaska that they have bought our support of this legislation with a tiny amount of conservation lands is false,” said Tim Bristol, Manager of Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Program. “It appears as though their executives are trying to pull the wool over the public’s eyes by implying they have buy-in from Trout Unlimited” said Bristol.

In contrast, Trout Unlimited is working to build support for its “Tongass 77” proposal which seeks permanent legislative protection for 77 high-value salmon and trout watersheds from  across the Tongass. The 77 watersheds included in the proposal span 1.9 million acres of the Tongass. They represent a subset of the most biologically productive places for salmon and trout that currently lack watershed-scale protection. If enacted, the Tongass 77 legislation would help lock in a self-sustaining fisheries resource that employs about one in 10 people in Southeast Alaska.

“We have conducted a long and careful process, utilizing both peer-reviewed  science and input from fishing stakeholders and government agencies to identify the Tongass watersheds that form the backbone of the more than $1 billion a year commercial and sport salmon industry here,” said Mark Kaelke,  Southeast Alaska Project Director for Trout Unlimited.

“What we are seeking is strong and meaningful conservation leadership, said Bristol. “The Sealaska bill, as it exists today, certainly does not meet this standard.”

The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council is currently reviewing the bill and will provide an updated position and summary at a later time.


Related News:

Sealaska Lands Bill Revised – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) unveiled a new version of legislation Thursday to allow Southeast Alaska’s Sealaska Native Regional Corp. to complete the aboriginal land claims selections promised its shareholders 42 years ago under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). - More...
Friday - February 15, 2013


On the Web:

Tongass 77

Take action

Source of News: 

Trout Unlimited

Southeast Alaska Conservation Council

E-mail your news & photos to

Publish A Letter in SitNews

Contact the Editor

SitNews ©2013
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

 Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews may be protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.