University of Alaska is Racing to Log its Haines Trust Parcels

The University of Alaska is racing ahead with plans to clearcut their lands in Haines instead of looking at practicable alternatives – like options that keep the forest standing and earn revenue by banking the carbon.   

The sale, proposed on some 13,000 acres of university lands, is a losing deal for the University and residents of Haines and Klukwan. These lands include those bordering both sides of the Klehini River within the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve; the lower Takhin and Kicking Horse Rivers; steep slopes above Pyramid and Taiyasanka Harbors; and Glacier Point. All of these lands are important to locals and visitors who wish to experience the authentic version of a wild Alaska that keeps us here and safeguards our salmon, water, wildlife, and communities.

Screen_Shot_2018-04-18_at_2.12.04_PM.pngA product of collaboration between the University, the Alaska Division of Forestry, and Alaska Mental Health Trust, this proposed 10-year timber sale follows the old model of timber development – a model which ignores today’s economic realities and the reality that unrelenting global market forces make Southeast Alaska timber uncompetitive. Isolated from large markets by mountains, ice, and sea, cutting timber in Southeast Alaska has never been, and will never be, profitable.    

Call on the University to explore new, innovative, long-term conservation revenue options for University lands before the wasteful conversion of its old growth forest stands to stumps. 

Want to have a say in what happens in Haines? Attend the Open House, Wednesday, May 9, 2018, from 6:30 – 9:00 PM at the Haines Chilkat Center for the Arts

Email your comments by May 22, 2018, on how the proposed sale will impact you.

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Missing from the University’s media campaign are any specifics about the miles of road to be constructed to access the timber, the manner and intensity of anticipated logging, and the resulting impacts to the fish and wildlife resources and other public values. No effort has been made to place this proposed sale in the context of other connected and cumulative development occurring or proposed in the productive Klehini and Chilkat watersheds, including the proposed Constantine mine in the Chilkat Valley. The cumulative impact of these industrial developments is decreased quality and habitat for communities, for fish, and for wildlife.

The University should instead look at alternatives to logging that maintain or improve the value of the land while protecting the environment and local communities. For example, Sealaska recently announced a multi-million dollar deal that keeps 165,000 acres of old-growth forest standing for the next 110 years—lands that can still be used for other recreational, subsistence, and economic purposes.  Sealaska’s leadership demonstrates the real potential to maximize the value of forested lands for the organization, its beneficiaries, and its neighbors, without cutting it down. Has the University Lands Office considered the potential of this new business model?

It is beyond time for our state university to innovate in their land management practices and look to improved alternatives that protect our lands, communities, and economy without logging. Write the University and tell them to head back to the drawing board on the proposed Haines sale.

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