Public comment period open on Tongass plan

PETERSBURG — The U.S. Forest Service is taking public comment on its plan to close nine recreational cabins in the Tongass National Forest.

The agency also is proposing to convert three additional cabins to three-sided shelters in southeast Alaska.

The plan was first outlined last month. The agency estimates it would cost nearly $2 million to replace and convert the cabins.

“These particular cabins that are being looked at in this document are ones that may not have been used for the last 10 years,” Victoria Houser, recreation planner on Prince of Wales Island, told KFSK.

The cabin rental program brings in just over $300,000 a year, and the entire budget for the forest-wide cabin program was $1.3 million this year. Officials said that budget item has been getting smaller, and will likely continue to shrink.

The proposed nine closed cabins are Beaver Camp, Checats Lake and Red Alders cabin near Ketchikan, Binkley Slough near Wrangell and DeBoer Lake north of Petersburg.

Others on the list are Maksoutof Lake and Rezanof Lake cabins on southern Baranof Island south of Sitka, Square Lake near Yakutat and McGilvery cabin on Prince of Wales Island.

Among the three cabins that are proposed to be rebuilt as three-sided structures are the Harvey Lake cabin on Woewodski Island, south of Petersburg, and the Big Goat Lake cabin east of Ketchikan. The Distin Lake cabin on Admiralty Island would be converted back to a three-sided structure.

Comments can be emailed to: comments-alaska-tongass@fs.fed.us by Dec. 20.

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