My Turn: Kake collaborative creating local jobs

Posted: Sunday, February 20, 2011

Recently I attended a meeting in Kake with local contractors, USFS staff, and representatives from city government, tribal government and Kake Tribal Corporation.

We came to the table with a common goal — to create jobs this summer for Kake contractors through forest restoration and stewardship work.

The USFS Central Kupreanof project (located just south of Kake) is a key first step in the agency’s Transition Framework, which outlines a commitment to moving away from large scale old-growth logging toward community-scale projects in young-growth, forest restoration, recreation and renewable energy development.

Last week’s meeting was a great success — local contractors brought an eagerness to take on this work, and USFS staff provided specific contracting tools to help get the work done.

These small steps are important — by working now to create small forest stewardship contracts this summer, we are creating several new, sustainable jobs in a village with 80 percent unemployment, and helping families stay in Kake.

After this summer we plan to develop larger contracts for local workers, and provide economic opportunities through forest stewardship and sustainable forest products for many years to come.

I look forward to working with our great partners in Kake and at the USFS Petersburg Ranger District as we work to build a healthy economy and healthy forest landscape in Kake.

• Campen is a community organizer for the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council and is from Sitka.

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