June 13, 2007
Ketchikan, Alaska - The Tongass National Forest announced today the release of the Soda Nick Small Timber Sales Environmental Assessment (EA) and decision notice, making available small timber sale units, about 15 miles southeast of Craig, Alaska on Prince of Wales Island. Activity related to the selected alternative will not significantly impact area resources, including cultural, subsistence, wildlife, and fish habitat.
The decision is designed to provide timber sales for purchasers needing small amounts of timber volume over time. Prince of Wales Island has roughly 20 family owned mills that fit this category. Up to 3.9 Million Board Feet (MMBF) of saw timber will be made available on about 257 acres.
No new permanent roads will be constructed under the selected alternative. One-half mile of temporary road will be constructed within the roaded land base in support of this project. All temporary roads will be decommissioned after the firewood gathering period, about 1-3 years after harvest.
The Forest Service conducted extensive public scoping as part of the process, requesting comments on the project via letters, public meetings and meetings with Tribal Councils. As parameters for determining the decision, Craig District Ranger Greg Killinger used two key issues that emerged during the scoping process: 1) construct no new permanent roads, and 2) consider economics and harvest feasibility for small sales. "The selected alternative provides the highest economic return for harvested timber while requiring only temporary road construction," said Killinger on Wednesday. "We are pleased to provide wood for small mill owners and help maintain local jobs, while ensuring protection of fish and wildlife habitats, scenic values and other forest resources."
The Soda Nick decision is subject to appeal. Appeals must be filed within 45 days of the date that legal notice of this decision is published, planned for June 16. Notice of Appeals must be filed with the Forest Supervisor, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Tongass National Forest, 648 Mission St., Ketchikan, AK 99901.
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