Feds buy $4M of logged lands

JUNEAU — A $4 million deal between the U.S. Forest Service and a Southeast Alaska Native corporation will return 4,500 acres of heavily logged forest on Admiralty Island to wilderness.

The Forest Service purchased the land on the west side of the island near Cube Cove with money from its Land and Water Conservation Fund. The deal announced earlier this month covers two of 13 parcels owned by the Sitka-based corporation Shee Atika, CoastAlaska News reported.

The two parcels about 30 miles south of Juneau were once forested and acquired by the corporation under terms of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

The land was logged for nearly two decades until 2002.

James King, director of the Forest Service’s Recreation, Lands and Minerals program, said additional funds may be spent to speed the area’s restoration.

“It’s possible that as we do further analysis on it, that if we determine to better help the habitat that thinning may occur. But those decisions have not been made yet,” King said.

The agency is also looking to purchase the remaining parcels from Shee Atika, which covers 17,500 acres of land and totals about $14 million. Additional land purchases will depend on future federal budgets, King said.

Critics of the recent deal have questioned the Forest Service’s timing in buying back the lands.

“And now, in this situation, the government would buy back the lands that were logged? And Shee Atika made a profit on them? And now the government’s buying it back from them? It’s a strange situation,” said Sitka Conservation Society Executive Director Andrew Thoms.

Shee Atika shareholder Mike Kinville said he was concerned about the corporation giving up its property.

“Shee Atika is not making, what is in my opinion, sound decisions. To sell our last pieces of land concerns me,” he said.

The Forest Service said buying up wilderness inholdings is a top priority for the Tongass National Forest and is part of its land management plan.

Read more news:

Nageak says he’s not leaving lawsuit

Alaska health experts advise shooting down flu early

Assembly candidate Quayle talks lactation with big-bust models on Twitter

More in Neighbors

Living & Growing: Share light this season

Reach out beyond your typical day and look for ways to serve others.

Kirby Day shakes hands with City and Borough of Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon at the Monday night Assembly meeting. Day was awarded a special recognition for his work administrating the city’s Tourism Best Management Practices program. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Assembly honors Kirby Day, Gastineau landslide geologists

Day steps down from his positions with Tourism Best Management Practices after 25 years

(Courtesy Photo)
Honoring the work and legacy of Sol Neely

Our university community is forever impoverished by his walking into the interior…

(Courtesy Photo)
Coming Out: Making philosophy

Philosophy is biography, nothing more.

Living & Growing: What is gratitude?

Let us reflect during these days on this virtue of gratitude

Thank you letter for the week of Nov. 13

Thank you, merci, danke, gracias, gunalchéesh.

"My whole life it’s been all binge, no purge. And so I don’t have 'dad' bod so much as 'double' dad bod." writes Geoff Kirsch. (Diana Polekhina / Unsplash)
Slack Tide: Double dad bod

Sometimes I need a good ribbing — even if I can no longer see my ribs.

This photo shows Fireweed Award winners Gina Heffern, Gretchen Glaspy and Laura McDermott. (Courtesy Photo)
Hospital announces first recipients of Fireweed Award

Award recognizes exceptional care and service to the community.

(JuniperPhoton / Unsplash)
Living & Growing: Inner vision

“Our inner vision is what will protect us.”

Guy Crockroft
Living & Growing: Don’t you know who I am?

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is… Continue reading

Thank you letter for the week of Oct.30

Thank you, merci, danke, gracias, gunalchéesh.