SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Breaking the Logjam on Logjam


August 11, 2009

(SitNews) - On Monday, the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, Audubon Alaska and the Alaska Wilderness League presented a collaborative Alaskan proposal for the Logjam timber sale in the Tongass National Forest to Regional Forester, Denny Bschor. The proposal balances the need for jobs, economic timber supply and healthy fish and wildlife populations on Prince of Wales Island.

"This proposal can get mills a mid-term supply of timber right away, and it protects critical habitat bridges for deer and other wildlife locals depend on," said Lindsey Ketchel, executive director of the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council.

To strike this balance, the proposal for timber, jobs and conservation keeps timber costs down by concentrating logging near existing roads, calls for fewer roads crossing salmon streams, and minimizes cutting in the most critical areas for wildlife.

"We understand the importance of these jobs and the importance of deer to local families," said Ketchel. "This balanced approach protects jobs now and contributes to more timber, more fish and more wildlife over the long term."

The proposal offers significant timber volume (over 30 million board feet) and protects critical links between blocks of high quality old-growth habitat around Sweetwater Lake between Sarkar and Honker Divide. Because of their location, these habitat bridges are essential to sustaining healthy deer and other wildlife populations up and down Prince of Wales Island.

"Science tells us the Sweetwater Lake area is one of the most important wildlife habitats on Prince of Wales Island and is a conservation priority for the entire Tongass," said Stan Senner, executive director of Audubon Alaska.

This sale is critical to both the industry and wildlife, so beginning in May 2008, conservation groups in the region began meeting with various local sawmills, wildlife biologists, the Forest Service and the State of Alaska to understand what they need from this sale, and what they value in the Sweetwater and Logjam watersheds. The groups utilized the most current, peer-reviewed science and spent time on the ground reviewing proposed cutting units in developing the plan.

"This balanced proposal represents a new way of doing business on the Tongass," said Ketchel. "It's not perfect, but it allows everyone to get much of what they need and shows how collaborative approaches can break the costly stalemates of the past."

"The proposed Logjam timber sale could be a great opportunity to try a new approach, and we hope that this proposal will prompt positive discussions so a more balanced sale can move forward," Senner said.

On the Web:

Read the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, Audubon Alaska and the Alaska Wilderness League's proposal

Read the recent LA Times editorial about collaborative opportunities,0,332340.story


Source of News:

Southeast Alaska Conservation Council



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