Last year Congress appropriated $400,000 for the National Park Service to design, with input from the Glacier Bay Lodge concessionaire (Goldbelt Corp.) and the Hoonah Indian Association, a new visitor center at Bartlett Cove. This is a great opportunity to use and showcase some of the beautiful wood from the Tongass. Done right, the Bartlett Cove visitors' center could be a classy place where visitors would experience some of the uniqueness of Southeast Alaska as expressed in the utilization of local wood. As well, the use of Tongass wood would support our regional economy and may serve as a tasteful example of what can be done with this beautiful material.
Over the years there has been a lot of talk but precious little action regarding maximizing the potential value of wood in southeast Alaska.
The National Park Service, the Forest Service, Alaska's congressional delegation, Gov. Knowles' office and the wood products industry should work together to ensure that we make the most of this fine opportunity.