I have been an Alaskan resident since 1977. Like many of you here in Alaska, I cherish, value, and love the Alaskan lifestyle and the ability to set foot somewhere very few have ever been. To enjoy the spoils of our vast landscape, untouched and serene like an early childhood dream. Now, in light of the new University Lands Bill, I wonder if future generations of Alaskans, including my children, will see Alaska with as much astonishment as I do.
I, like many others in Alaska, also use these lands as a source of income. I am a charter boat captain and transporter based here in Juneau. This land grant would greatly limit my ability to show Alaska as it should be, open and free to the public. The majority of my clientele are people who come to view Alaska and all its encompassed wonders. Those who understand Alaska realize that the worst thing you could do is privatize it. Let Alaska be what it was intended, a frontier landscape of endless possibilities, owned by no one and free for everyone.
The governor's University of Alaska land bill would allow the University to do whatever it pleases with 260,000 acres of public land. Senator Lisa Murkowski's bill would give the University 500,000 more acres from across Alaska. More so than anything, the privatization of these public lands would limit the ability of the public to view, learn about, appreciate, use, and above all, to experience these precious lands in Alaska. If the University uses the land for the purpose of economic gain, which they plan to, the cost will be nothing less than our own freedoms.