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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 7, 2011

Front Page Photo by MIKE SMITH

2011 Deer Mountain Winter Fireworks
Ken Arriola is the founder and has been the director of the annual Deer Mountain Winter Fireworks display since 2001.
SitNews would also like to thank the following photographers for submitting their excellent fireworks photos: Chris Arrant, Jeremy Barry, Rosy Rigley, Jim Lewis, Kate Ross, & Holly Paulson
Front Page Photo by MIKE SMITH

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Southeast Alaska:
Roadless Rule Reinstated; Murkowski Concerned With Economic Impacts on Southeast Economy; Plaintiffs say great news for emerging economy based on wildland restoration, fishing, and tourism By MARY KAUFFMAN, SitNews - An Anchorage federal judge on Friday sided with the Organized Village of Kake and reinstated the roadless rule in the Tongass National Forest.

In reinstating the roadless rule in the Tongass, U.S. District Judge John W. Sedwick found the exemption was arbitrary and capricious; however, Sedwick didn't vacate three timber sales authorized under the exemption. He says that decision is left to the Agriculture secretary who at this time is Tom Vilsack.

Sedwick's decision in Organized Village of Kake v. U.S. Department of Agriculture strikes down the 2003, Bush-era decision to "temporarily" exempt the Tongass from the national Roadless Rule, which protects nearly 60 million acres of undeveloped backcountry throughout the national forest system. The court’s decision finds that the Tongass Exemption was illegally adopted and reinstates the Roadless Rule in the Tongass.

The plaintiffs, represented by Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council, include the Organized Village of Kake, Alaska Wilderness Recreation & Tourism Association, The Boat Company, Sierra Club, Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, Tongass Conservation Society, Greenpeace, Wrangell Resource Council, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and Cascadia Wildlands.

"We brought this lawsuit to protect customary and traditional uses from damaging logging proposed by the Bush administration,” said Mike Jackson, Organized Village of Kake. “For Tribal members, these lands are essential sources of food, medicine, clothing, and traditional items for artistic and spiritual use. Our deer hunting and other customary uses of the forest have suffered too much already from past logging,” he added.

The groups had sued the federal government in December 2009 challenging the Bush-era exemption of the Tongass National Forest from the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Tongass roadless areas are needed to maintain healthy populations of wolves, bears, goshawks, deer, marten, and five species of Pacific salmon, among other species, and to support jobs in the tourism and fishing industries.

The Associated Press reported that U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) says Friday's decision means that the Tongass will be managed by a "cookie-cutter rule" imposed on all national forests and not one specific to the Tongass.

In a prepared statement released Saturday, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said, “The decision further damages the economy in Southeas.” She said, "The roadless rule was never intended to apply to the Tongass because ANILCA already set logging limits for the forest, as did the Tongass Timber Reform Act. This will make it all the more difficult for the few remaining timber operations that depend on the Tongass and the Forest Service to survive. I intend to do every thing I can to limit this damage."

However, the plaintiffs do not agree that the economy will be damaged saying the ruling is good news for the thousands of people in Southeast Alaska with jobs in tourism and fishing.

“There are more than 3,200 jobs in Southeast Alaska in recreation and tourism,” said Hunter McIntosh of The Boat Company, which operates a small tour business in the region. “And there are another 3,800 jobs in the seafood industry, which depends critically on salmon spawning streams in the old growth forests of the Tongass.”

Quoting a press release from the Defenders of Wildlife, while strongly supporting jobs in tourism and fishing, the court’s decision will not cause job losses in the timber industry or other economic sectors. The Forest Service is not currently planning to proceed with any roadless area timber sales, but is in the midst of a transition away from old growth logging in the Tongass. Nevertheless, the decision is extremely important to secure this transition and protect against any future backsliding.

The court’s decision specifically found no support for claims that the Roadless Rule hurt local communities and jobs. The rule allows for new highways and for power lines to connect communities in the region states the release from the Defenders of Wildlife.

There were numerous favorable comments from the plaintiffs about the ruling.

Carol Cairnes of the Ketchikan-based Tongass Conservation Society said, "The Tongass is an icon, the last fully functioning national forest ecosystem left, and the only one where wildlife and fish exist in something like the abundance they enjoyed in days gone by. The court’s decision will ensure the protection this ecosystem has always deserved."

"The natural values of these watersheds are essential for the survival of small businesses around Southeast," explained Kent John of the Alaska Wilderness Recreation & Tourism Association. "Very few folks will pay to go see clearcuts and decaying logging roads. This is a great decision for the local economy." - More...
Monday - March 07, 2011



Fish Factor: Projected salmon catches up By LAINE WELCH - Last year’s Alaska salmon harvest ranked #11 in the record books, but state fish managers are predicting an even better haul this year. The statewide forecast calls for  a total  catch of 203.4  million salmon, compared to 171million fish in 2010.  If the catch comes in on target, it will be the fifth largest Alaska salmon harvest on record. 

The boost stems from a projected pink catch topping 133 million fish, about 25% higher than last year. All major pink salmon regions – Prince William Sound, Kodiak and Southeast - are expected to produce abundant humpy harvests. 

Projected catches are up for the other salmon species as well. For sockeye, the big money fish, the harvest is pegged at nearly 45 million reds; the coho catch is set at 4.6 million; and for chums, a harvest of nearly 20 million would be the fifth best since 1960. 

For king salmon, a catch just shy of 122,000 is forecasted in areas outside of Southeast Alaska, where a treaty with Canada dictates the amount of Chinook that can be taken. That number should be revealed by the end of March.

Find all of the 2011 salmon forecasts by region, and a detailed review of the 2010 season at the Fish and Game website.   The dockside (ex-vessel) value of the 2010 Alaska salmon catch was nearly $540 million.

Black cod bump - Alaska longliners also will see increased catches of sablefish, or black cod, this year. The combined take for the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska is just over 14,000 tons, or more than 31 million pounds.  That’s  an increase of 25% over last year.  The biggest sablefish increase is in the Gulf, where total catches are up 26%.  Last year black cod dock prices neared $7/lb for large sizes. That fishery, along with halibut, opens this year on Saturday, March 12. - More...
Monday - March 07, 2011

Alaska: Gas prices in Alaska continue to rise - Average retail gasoline prices in Alaska have risen 14.8 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.82 per gallon yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 12.6 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.47/g, according to gasoline price website

Including the change in gas prices in Alaska during the past week, prices yesterday were 47.6 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 26.5 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 36.0 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 73.6 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago. - More...
Thursday - March 03, 2011



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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696

letter Homeless in Ketchikan By Shannon Nelson - Regarding Homeless in Ketchikan, I have so many questions because I too would like to see this terrible situation talked about. Do you know that we have mothers with children without homes? It appears that the homeless here are not obvious, they aren't walking around with signs advertising their plight. - More...
Monday PM - March 07, 2011

letter CRUISE SHIP POWER ANALYSIS NEEDS By Pete Ellis - The Cruise Ship power opportunity in Thom Fischer article's commentary is certainly enlightening and appreciated so my compliments to him for the calculations and data. - More...
Monday PM - March 07, 2011

letterOver Taxed By Scott Cragun - In response to the letter by Thom Fischer, you recommend that "Two solutions should be looked at". The first is to develop more hydropower energy,The second is to connect Southeast Alaska to the North American grid through BC, with the proposed AK/BC Intertie. - More...
Monday PM

letter Forest Service Proposed Budget By Bob Claus - On 3/3/11 Senator Murkowski, in a response to a proposed USFS budget, stated that “Folks in Southeast Alaska are skeptical and perhaps cynical about the promises made by the Forest Service.” - More...
Monday PM - March 07, 2011

letter Forest Service Proposal By A. M. Johnson - I recently sent this letter to Senator Murkowski regarding her review with the US Forest Service CEO Tom Tidwell, no friend to Alaska. - More...
Monday PM - March 07, 2011

letter Fireworks By Mary Lynne Dahl - Just a quick thank you to Ken Arriola and his team of gusto folks who snowshoed up Deer Mountain last night to put on the best fireworks show I have seen in a long time. I really appreciate the effort at raising the money to do it, and the physical commitment required to haul all the gear and fireworks up the mountain, then put on that great show. - More...
Monday PM - March 07, 2011

letter Food Safety/Food handler's card By Anna Tollfeldt - Recently, I have noticed the lack of food safety in Ketchikan. Most people I know who work or have worked in a food handling environment are NEVER required to get their food handler's card. In fact, I've found it pretty rare to come across someone working in a restaurant with a food handler's card in this town. I myself have previously worked in a restaurant and I was never required (it wasn't even mentioned!) to get my food handler's card nor were any of my coworkers. - More...
Monday PM - March 07, 2011

letter Abortion debate By Rob Holston - The abortion debate is back on the front burner after released it’s horrifying ad campaign against the G.O.P. and “back alley abortions”.  As is typical with all “women’s rights” type organizations they fail to recognize that 51% of all babies aborted by Planned Parenthood and other “legal” organizations are women.  Who is protecting THEIR rights? - More...
Monday PM - March 07, 2011

letter What a pain By Charles Edwardson - Regarding the stop light at the bottom of Jefferson, I don't know if this bothers anyone else and it might seem like petty stuff, but what a pain in the --- it is. - More...
Monday PM - March 07, 2011

letter Hero of the day By Judith Green - We have a good neighbor in town - other than "state farm". I think we need to start a bulletin board for HERO OF THE DAY! - More...
Monday PM - March 07, 2011

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Ketchikan, Alaska

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