Clearing of land by Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska about three-and-a-half miles up Fish Creek Road on the way to the Eaglecrest Ski Area on Friday, June 29, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Clearing of land by Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska about three-and-a-half miles up Fish Creek Road on the way to the Eaglecrest Ski Area on Friday, June 29, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Parcel of land being logged along Eaglecrest road, purpose unclear

Purpose of land clearing is unknown

  • By James Brooks Juneau Empire
  • Friday, June 29, 2018 10:38pm
  • NewsLocal News

A significant land-clearing operation is under way on a parcel near the road leading to Eaglecrest Ski Area, and the purpose of the clearing could not be confirmed Friday.

When the Empire visited the site, no workers were around, and piles of large logs lay alongside a new gravel road.

The parcel, according to City and Borough of Juneau records, is a Alaska Native allotment controlled by the estate of Jimmie George, an Angoon man whose family obtained 220 acres in the center of Douglas Island as part of a land swap with the Forest Service.

In 2015, the executive council of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska signed a business lease for the parcel with the heirs of Jimmie George, but a Tlingit and Haida spokeswoman was unable to provide additional details Friday.

Central Council President Richard Peterson, who was in Anchorage as part of a U.S. Senate field hearing, did not immediately return a phone call or text message.

No trespassing signs bearing the Tlingit and Haida logo were attached to trees at the edge of the property.

The parcel is unusual in that it is a rare piece of federal Indian Country in Southeast Alaska. The 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act abrogated aboriginal claims in exchange for a cash payout and title to up to 44 million acres. As part of the settlement, most forms of federally controlled Indian Country were prohibited.

Some of the few exceptions to that arrangement were individual parcels doled out to Alaska Natives under the Alaska Native Allotment Act of 1906, which allowed individual Natives to acquire up to 160 acres each. Selections were allowed until ANCSA was signed into law.

The George family received a parcel on Admiralty Island, but that remained undeveloped through the 20th century. In the late 1990s, the U.S. Forest Service became interested in consolidating privately held parcels on Admiralty Island, and Gabriel George, representing the family, began working with the Forest Service on a land swap.

In 2002, the deal was finalized, with the family receiving 220 acres and $73,000 in exchange for their 100 acres on Admiralty Island. (The Admiralty Island property was much more valuable on a per-acre basis.)

At the time, Gabriel George told the Empire that the family planned to create a private retreat with 30 cabins spread throughout the woods. He said the family had no plans to clear-cut the area.

“Most of the … concerns were over the trees and logging,” he said at the time. “That’s something we have a concern about, too.”

In 2004, Gabriel George told the Empire that the family was in talks with a nonprofit called Bear Education and Animal Rehabilitation Sanctuary Inc., which wanted to build a facility to rehabilitate injured animals before their return to the wild.

The project was the idea of Chris Grant, who co-owned Thunder Mountain Smokehouse, but it never came to pass.

By 2007, a Skagway company was using the parcel for sled dog carting tours with the permission of the George family.

As Indian Country under federal ownership, the parcel is immune to state and local taxation and regulation.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at jbrooks@juneauempire.com or 523-2258.


Clearing of land by Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska about three-and-a-half miles up Fish Creek Road on the way to the Eaglecrest Ski Area on Friday, June 29, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Clearing of land by Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska about three-and-a-half miles up Fish Creek Road on the way to the Eaglecrest Ski Area on Friday, June 29, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

More in News

The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Aurora forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Jan. 22

This photo shows pills police say were seized after a suspicious package was searched. (Juneau Police Department)
Police: 1,000 fentanyl pills, 86 grams of meth seized

Juneau man arrested on felony charges.

Library Director Dave Berry and Advisory Board Chair Kate Finn participate in Library Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday Jan. 17, 2023, at Homer City Hall, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Emilie Springer/Homer News)
Homer Library Advisory Board upholds decision to retain LGBTQ+ books

A citizen’s group last year submitted a petition asking that the books be removed from the children’s section

Courtesy Photo / Juneau Police Department 
This photo shows Woodrow Farrell Eagleman who police say after going missing on Jan. 11 was seen leaving town on Jan. 12 via airport surveillance.
Police: Man reported missing took plane out of town

A Juneau man recently reported as missing was found leaving town on… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Thursday, Jan. 26

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Juneau-based actor Xáalnook Erin Tripp was recently named one of the 2023 Artists in Business Leadership Fellows for First Peoples Fund program. Tripp said she intends to use to program’s grant funding to set up a professional recording studio in Juneau for her voice acting career and to share with other artists in the community. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
First Peoples Fund to help Juneau actor create recording studio for voice acting

Xáalnook Erin Tripp among artists with Southeast ties to earn the award.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire 
Katie Botz, a Juneau school bus driver honored by Gov. Mike Dunelavy for her advocacy on behalf of abuse victims, stands to applause during his recognition of her during the State of the State speech Monday night at the Alaska State Capitol.
‘A victory for all of us’: Juneau woman recognized among Resilient Alaskans for her advocacy

Katie Botz’s presence — and brief absence — as a victims advocate led to a big win and governor’s honor.

Arnold Vosloo as Colonel Bach addresses US soldiers in latest film, “Condor’s Nest” in theaters and digital release on Friday. (Courtesy Photo / PMKBNC)
‘Popcorn thriller’ set in South America features actor from Alaska

“Condor’s Nest” will be available on demand Friday.

Jim Cockrell, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Public Safety, speaks in Wasilla at a May 3, 2022, news conference. Cockrell has ordered an investigation after troopers mistakenly took a school principal into custody for a mental health exam. (Photo by Yereth Rosen / Alaska Beacon)
Troopers, misled by false court order, detained principal for mental health check

State troopers mistakenly took Alaska’s 2022 Principal of the Year into custody…

Most Read