By Bob Claus
April 05, 2010
I thank Arne Fuglvog of Senator Murkowski's office for traveling to Edna Bay and meeting with the residents there. I was glad to have been able to attend as well, and was impressed by the measured tone and thoughtful responses opposing the Sealaska land selections on Kosciusko Island from everyone who spoke. 100% of the community attended the meeting and opposed S.881. I also heard a great amount of hope and optimism for the future of Edna Bay and our other small communities surrounded by the Tongass National Forest so long as they continue to have community input through the forest planning processes.
For me, as a student of rather than a participant in the "Timber Wars" over Tongass policy of the past, it is heartening to see a consensus building throughout the region that USFS management is changing for the better, that the current Forest management practices are addressing community and conservation concerns, and that there is hope for a resource based economy based on stewardship and long-term thinking about the ecosystems that make up the Forest rather than the short-sighted profit taking of the past.
The Sealaska Bill, S.881, as written ignores this consensus and represents a divisive return to the practices of the past to the detriment of the forward-thinking entrepreneurs who populate places like Edna Bay, Thorne Bay, Port Protection, and Naukati.
I hope the Senator remains involved in this effort to insert a little Southeast Alaska realism into the picture-we can all work together as friends and neighbors to ensure a better future for not only us, but for our children and generations to come.
Received April 01, 2010 - Published April 05, 2010
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