THORNE BAY — Starting in May and continuing through the summer, the Tongass National Forest will be hosting a series of public workshops to explore project opportunities for the Big Thorne Stewardship Area. The workshops will guide the agency as it defines priority projects that best meet the needs of communities and businesses, and will help create local jobs on Prince of Wales Island.
“The Tongass is the largest National Forest in the country and has a big impact on the small, rural communities located within its boundaries,” Thorne Bay District Ranger Jason Anderson said. “Working alongside communities, partners and other agencies is a great way for the Forest Service to gather and hear valuable information, and helps us target projects providing the best economic or recreational opportunities for residents.”
The worskshops are part of a broader Forest Service effort to look at a variety of projects in a specific area, and to work collaboratively with the public to determine the best way to create local jobs given community and resource needs. The Big Thorne Stewardship Area ranges from Control Lake Junction east to Thorne Bay and north to Coffman Cove on Prince of Wales Island.
A range of projects in the area will be discussed, including road closures, young growth management, restoration and recreation. In addition to prioritizing among existing planned projects, the workshops will focus on identifying and prioritizing new opportunities. Time will also be set aside to update participants on ongoing project planning for the area, including the Big Thorne Timber Sale and the Prince of Wales Outfitter and Guide analysis. Based on the information and discussions at these workshops, participants may elect to develop and submit comments on these projects during the associated public comment periods.
The first workshop is being planned for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 5, at the Thorne Bay Ranger District Office. Snacks and refreshments will be provided. Additional workshops will be scheduled every three to four weeks, through June and July. The final product of the process, determined in part by the particpants, will be completed this summer.
Members of the public, affected community officials and other stakeholders are all invited to attend. For more information, contact Jason Anderson, Thorne Bay District Ranger, at 907-828-3210.