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Timber industry hopes it's on the way up
Tim Bradner's piece, "Timber industry hopes it's on the way up," (Empire, Jan. 3) is a shameful example of one-sided reporting. A balanced article would have mentioned that the peak period, when Mr. Woodbury claims there were 3,000 jobs in the timber industry, was not sustainable. Those jobs were provided at the expense of future generations of loggers. During the heyday of logging by Alaska's Native corporations, virtually all the timber on Southeast Alaska village corporation lands was cut in less than 20 years with very little left for fish and wildlife values. The cost: No more jobs and greatly reduced opportunities for traditional uses of those lands.
There cannot be timber jobs on these lands for another 60 or more years because the trees need to grow.
The article states that in 2003 Sealaska Corp. plans to cut 100 million board feet of timber for the export market. Is the corporation exporting round logs as most private corporations have done in the past, or are they milling the timber locally? The export of round logs also exports most of the timber jobs about which Mr. Woodbury is so concerned.
Regarding the closure of the Alaska Pulp Corp. Mill in Sitka, some mention should have been made that the mill was losing money even though the Forest Service was providing the timber at a loss to the American taxpayer.
It is sad to see reporting making such broad statements without checking into the facts.