March 21, 2007
"This timber project is part of our ongoing effort to actively manage the Tongass National Forest, to help small, family-run wood products businesses in southeast Alaska keep operating and maintain some local jobs," said Tongass National Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole. "In addition, I plan to offer the purchaser the opportunity to test-market Alaska's proven superior wood in the Continental United States. Regional Forester Denny Bschor has authorized me to allow some of the smaller diameter and utility logs to enter interstate commerce, probably to Washington State."
This harvest will support more than 100 jobs in the local communities, along with a significant number in the Lower 48 if Alaska logs are processed in other U.S. mills. In his decision, Cole dropped all plans for harvest in the Suemez Inventoried Roadless Area. Approximately six miles of forest system roads and four miles of temporary roads will be constructed on Suemez Island in support of this project. All newly constructed roads and about 11 miles of existing National Forest System (NFS) road will be placed in storage or decommissioned upon completion of timber harvest. Approximately 10 miles of existing NFS road will remain open for public use.
"This decision strikes a healthy balance in considering economic needs, ecosystem functions and the recreation and scenic values of the area," said Craig District Ranger Greg Killinger. "While planning this project the public identified the importance of maintaining scenery, retaining recreational uses and providing economic timber sales to meet the needs of local businesses. I believe we have effectively addressed those key issues, along with ensuring protection of fish and wildlife habitats and other resources important to subsistence."
In accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations, the Scratchings decision is subject to appeal. Appeals must be filed within 45 days of the date that legal notice of this decision is published in the Juneau Empire, planned for March 30th.
Notice of Appeals must be filed with the Regional Forester, Alaska Region, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, P.O. Box 21628, Juneau, Alaska 99802-1628.
The Scratchings Record of Decision has been mailed to interested parties and will be available at the Craig Ranger District, 504 9th Street, Craig, Alaska. It can be viewed on the Internet at http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/projects/decisions/scratchings.
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