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Forest Service Schedules Couverden Meetings, Subsistence Hearings

 

March 16, 2004
Tuesday - 1:00 am


The Forest Service has scheduled public informational meetings and public subsistence hearings regarding the Couverden Timber Sales Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

The public informational meetings are slated for 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 16 at Centennial Hall in Juneau; 3 to 6 p.m. March 17 at the Hoonah Ranger District Office in Hoonah; and 5 to 7 p.m. March 18 at the Gustavus Community Center in Gustavus. Tongass National Forest employees will be on hand to answer questions and provide information on the Couverden Timber Sales DEIS.

Public hearings to accept subsistence testimony regarding the Couverden Area are set for
6 to 7:30 p.m. March 17 at the Hoonah Ranger District Office and 7 to 8 p.m. March 18 at the Gustavus Community Center.

The Forest Service began accepting public comments on the Couverden DEIS when the Notice of Availability was published in the Federal Register Feb. 13.

Although the Forest Service has been receiving official written and oral comments since that time the optional informational meetings will allow people another avenue to learn more about the project and have any of their questions answered. After the meetings the public will still have until March 29 to send comments to the Juneau Ranger District.

The public subsistence hearings are designed to receive testimony from individuals, agencies and organizations on the activities proposed in the DEIS and how the activities may potentially affect users of subsistence resources within the project area. The hearings are intended to meet subsistence evaluation requirements outlined in Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, or ANILCA.

Tongass National Forest officials said one of their primary goals is caring for natural resources hand in hand with the American public and that there are many tools to make certain the collaborative process is effectively accomplished.

"We use many different tools to ensure meaningful public involvement from informal open houses for general public awareness and education to official public hearings where comments are recorded and considered during the decision-making process," explained acting Juneau District Ranger Susan Marthaller.

The Couverden project area is on the Chilkat Peninsula, between Juneau and Gustavus. About 3.4 miles of new classified roads would be built during the lifetime of the sales, but almost half of that would be on existing roadbeds of unclassified roads. Less than 2 miles of temporary roads would be built. All roads would be closed to motor vehicles, except all-terrain vehicles, after the sales are completed. An existing log transfer facility would be used. No inventoried roadless areas are within the proposed sale area.

"The timber sales which could be allowed under the Couverden proposed action would affect less than 800 acres, and could supply about 20 million board feet of timber that our local, family-owned lumber mills need to keep operating," said Tongass National Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole. "At the same time, the proposed action would add almost 800 acres to a small old growth reserve in the area."

Comments concerning the Couverden DEIS can be mailed to the Juneau Ranger District at 8465 Old Dairy Road, Juneau, AK 99801-8041; faxed to (907) 586-8808, or e-mailed to comments-alaska-tongass-juneau@fs.fed.us. Oral comments also may be scheduled by contacting Dave Carr at the Juneau Ranger District. Comments must be substantive, and must include a name and address, title of the proposed action, specific comments and a signature. Scanned signatures are acceptable for electronic comments.

For more information about comments, meetings or hearings concerning the Couverden project, people can see Carr at the Juneau Ranger District, call him at (907) 790-7402, or e-mail him at decarr@fs.fed.us.

 

Source of News Release:

U.S. Forest Service - Tongass National Forest
Web Site

 

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