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How important is Juneau's natural beauty to you?

Posted: December 6, 2012 - 1:08am

This busy season something could slip through the Planning Commission that all of Juneau and future generations will regret.

The Community Development Department recently issued a notice that Bicknell Incorporated has applied for a rezone of 82.66 acres of wetlands to industrial and light commercial use. The parcel is next to the game refuge on the right side of the Glacier Highway, just past Fred Meyers as you head east to town. A hearing by the Planning Commission is scheduled in the Assembly Chambers, Dec. 11th at 7 p.m.

Juneau is known for its natural beauty. The city has been wise in keeping the view of the channel mostly free from spoilers. It is good for tourism, and this particular acreage is a favorite with locals. A lone tree there has been decorated with yellow ribbons, Christmas baubles and children’s art. In the fall we are treated to a stunning array of fireweed. This place of beauty abounds with opportunities for exploring, bird watching and more. Let’s keep it that way.

Why else should we care? Wetlands are highly productive ecosystems, able to capture energy and provide food and shelter for many animals. They support a wide variety of plants and form different habitats and ecosystems. The ecological value remains high in water quality protection by filtering pollutants and sediments, even if part of this wetland is no longer protected under federal law.

It is important that Planning Commissioners hear from you. You may attend the Dec. 11th meeting or send your comments to beth_mckibben@ci.juneau.ak.us no later than noon, Dec. 11th.

Patricia O’Brien

Juneau

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