SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


SB 881: No Lands Bill Meeting for Ketchikan
By Johnnie Laird


March 01, 2010

I was surprised to read the schedule of meetings about SB 881 being arranged by Senator Murkowski's staff do not include Ketchikan.

If SB 881 passes into law, up to 50 acres at the following 'Futures Sites' will be transferred from the Tongass to Sealaska; those sites are # 15 Dog Cove; # 16 Coho Cove; # 25 Behm Narrows; #26 Shrimp Bay and # 32 (on east the coast of Prince of Wales Island) Clover Creek ... is that not important enough to discuss with Ketchikan residents?

According to SB 881 ."Alaska Native Future Sites to facilitate appropriate tourism and outdoor recreation enterprises"

If SB 881 passes into law, undetermined acreages at ELEVEN sites scattered through out the Misty Fjords Wilderness Area and National Monument will be transferred from the public domain to Sealaska ownership as Sacred, Cultural, and Historic Sites is that not important enough to discuss with Ketchikan residents?

According to SB 881 . "May be used for:
(1) preservation of cultural knowledge and traditions associated with such a site;
(2) historical, cultural, and scientific research and education;
(3) public interpretation and education regarding the cultural significance of those sites to Alaska Natives;
(4) protection and management of the site to preserve the natural and cultural features of the site, including cultural traditions, values, songs, stories, names, crests, and clan usage, for the benefit of future generations; and
(5) site improvement activities for any purpose described in paragraphs (1) through (4), subject to the condition that the activities are consistent with the sacred, cultural, traditional, or historic nature of the site.

If SB 881 passes into law, the 79,000 acres of USFS lands on Prince of Wales Island located outside the withdrawal areas identified in ANCSA picked by Sealaska as "Economic Development" lands for its Old Growth timber and taking those lands out of the public domain and turning ownership over to a for profit 'real corporation' is that not important to enough to discuss with Ketchikan residents?

On these Economic Development 'out side the box' lands slated for clearcut logging 'Sealaska style' there are at least 300 miles of USFS constructed roads and 4 log transfer facilities. That infrastructure cost an estimate of $45,000,000, that you and I the taxpayers have paid for. Once these lands and roads are in Sealaska ownership trespass will be an issue; Senator Murkowski's staff is negotiating a trespass amendment at this time.

Some of these areas, like the Polk Inlet 'out side the box' pick are very important to Ketchikan and Prince of Wales Island hunters and fishermen. Also included in the Polk Inlet pick is the Old Tom Creek Research Natural Area. 4,544 acres of very special habitat established in 1951 by the USFS and identified in TLMP.

I urge you to contact Senator Murkowski's office today to request that Ketchikan is included on the list of communities where these town meetings will be held after all Sitka and Petersburg are on the list as will as most Prince of Wales Island communities.

Online webmail: or

I also urge you to contact Senator Begich's (who is a co-sponser) office to oppose this bill.

Online webmail:

I also urge you to contact Congressman Young's office to oppose HB 2055 the House version of the Sealaska Lands Bill which is scheduled for a resources committee hearing in Washington DC the week of March 8th.

Online webmail:

Thank you .......

Johnnie Laird
Ketchikan Resident
Big Game Guide / Misty Fjords / Prince of Wales Island
Ketchikan, AK

Received March 01, 2009 - Published March 01, 2010


Sen. Murkowski Announces Sealaska Lands Bill Meetings - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) announced Friday a series of town meetings on the Sealaska lands bill to be held on Prince of Wales Island and in Southeast Alaska the week of March 8.- More...
Saturday AM - February 27, 2010


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