Kodiak-area logging joint venture plans to dissolve

Posted: Tuesday, January 04, 2000

KODIAK - A logging venture formed in 1985 by several Kodiak-area Native corporations is reportedly being dissolved.

Afognak Joint Venture, which has logged portions of its 150,000 acres on Afognak Island over the past decade, officially closed its offices in July, according to the message on the company's telephone answering machine.

AJV has not logged for the past two years because of poor market conditions in the timber industry, according to Uwe Gross, chief executive of Koniag Inc., one of the main partners in the venture.

Despite the lack of activity, shareholders have reaped solid profits from their timber holdings. The venture sold 41,750 acres of old-growth spruce forest on the north end of Afognak Island to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council for $70.5 million.

Along with Koniag, the partnership includes Afognak Native Corp., Uyak Native Corp., Ayakulik Inc., Anton Larsen Inc., Bell's Flats Natives Inc. and Litnik Inc.

Dissolving the partnership is a ``pretty intensive process'' that will take months to work out, Gross said.

``Everybody who is a member has an undivided interest,'' he said. ``They will want their proportionate percentage of physical assets - land, timber, mountain tops, waterfront.''

Afognak Native Corp. president Ole Olsen wouldn't comment on the prospects of AJV dissolving, saying the discussion is premature.

``The owners are looking at it,'' Olsen said. ``It's not a done deal.''

Valuing the land and the remaining timber stands are part of the dissolution, but AJV is familiar with that process. Before the April 1998 land sale, AJV and the oil-spill trustee council spent months negotiating over timber-appraisal figures.

The spill trustees deeded the parcel of prime wildlife habitat to the Alaska State Parks and the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge.

Koniag would consider selling more land to the state or federal governments if they were interested in further expanding the refuge or park system, Gross said.

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