SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Opportunity to Object Announced; EIS for POW Landscape Level Analysis Project Released


November 02, 2018
Friday AM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - Wednesday the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) released a draft Record of Decision proposing the largest old-growth logging project in the nation in decades. The proposal would log up to 235 million board feet of mostly old-growth forest over 15 years. This sale dwarfs any project on the Tongass since the Ketchikan pulp mill was still in operation under a 50-year timber contract. The Tongass National Forest encompasses almost 17 million acres of wild forest in southeast Alaska; roughly 9.5 million acres is classified as roadless under the Rule.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Draft Record of Decision (ROD) for the Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis (POW LLA) Project is being made available for public review on November 2, 2018.

An official, 45-day Objection period will begin for the project upon publication of the Notice of Availability of the Final EIS in the Federal Register. It is expected that it will be published in the Federal Register on Friday, November 2, 2018.

Prince of Wales Island alpine meadow
Photo Credit Molly Simonson, courtesy USFS

The Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis (POW LLA) Project draft ROD proposes to authorize in the Thorne Bay and Craig Ranger Districts of the Tongass National Forest a wide array of site-specific activities and management strategies including old- and young-growth timber harvest; precommercial thinning and wildlife habitat improvement; watershed improvement and restoration; recreation facilities maintenance, improvement, and development; other infrastructure and non-infrastructure activities; and invasive plant management (including manual, mechanical, and herbicide treatments).

There would be no commercial harvest of old-growth stands in the area “North of 20 Road” and within VCU 5280. The Selected Alternative also includes measures to minimize impacts to or improve wildlife habitat on National Forest System lands adjacent to communities to benefit subsistence users, according to the USFS.

In 2016, the USFS committed to a transition out of old-growth logging and away from uneconomical and destructive timber sales like this proposal.

Defenders of Wildlife Senior Alaska Representative Pat Lavin stated in a prepared statement, "“The U.S. Forest Service committed to transition away from logging old-growth on the Tongass realizing that there is no economic future in clearcutting this magnificent forest. More taxpayer-subsidized logging won’t create many jobs but will threaten wildlife such as the Alexander Archipelago wolf, Sitka black-tailed deer, northern flying squirrel and many other old-growth dependent species." 

“The Forest Service is proposing a return to the destructive industrial-scale clear-cut logging history on the Tongass – a history from which the region has moved on. The Forest Service should be leading rather than impeding the economic transition in southeast Alaska – restoring wildlife habitat and watersheds and supporting the sustainable economy of fishing and tourism, not unsustainable old-growth logging,” said Lavin.

According to the U.S. Forest Service ojections will be accepted only from those who previously submitted timely, specific, written comments regarding the proposed project either during scoping or other designated opportunities for public comment in accordance with 36 CFR 218.5(a). Issues raised in objections must be based on previously submitted, timely, specific, written comments regarding the proposed project, unless based on new information arising after designated public comment opportunities. 

Individual members of organizations must have submitted their own comments to be eligible to object; objections received on behalf of an organization are considered those of the organization only. If an objection is submitted on behalf of a number of individuals or organizations, each individual or organization listed must meet the eligibility requirements (36 CFR 218.5(d)). Names and addresses of objectors will become part of the public record.

The Reviewing Officer is the Regional Forester. Send objections to: Regional Forester, 
Alaska Regional Office, PO Box 21628, 709 W. 9th Street, Juneau, AK 99802-1628, Fax:907-586-7840, Phone: 907-586-8806 or email it to: objections-alaska-regional-office

Written objections, including any attachments, must be filed (regular mail, fax, email, hand-delivery, or express delivery) with the Reviewing Officer within 45 days following the publication date of this legal notice in the newspaper of record. The office business hours for those submitting hand-delivered objections are 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.  Electronic objections must be submitted in a format compatible with the current version of MS Word.  It is the responsibility of objectors to ensure their objection is received in a timely manner (36 CFR 218.9).

The Responsible Official for this project is M. Earl Stewart, Forest Supervisor.



On the Web:

Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Draft Record of Decision (ROD) for the Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis (PDF)

Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis Project Draft Record of Decision (pdf)

Information, Maps and Documents on Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis Project (POW LLA)


Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews



Source of News:

US Forest Service


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