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Tongass ready to move on rural community effort

Posted: Monday, February 28, 2011

The Tongass National Forest is ready to move forward with a stewardship project on Kupreanof Island. The project calls for fish passage improvement, wildlife habitat restoration, recreational enhancement, road and trail maintenance and timber harvesting. The project is a critical piece of the agency’s Transition Framework effort announced by Regional Forester Beth Pendleton last May.

“The Central Kupreanof Stewardship Project is the first phase of a longer term project with many facets,” said Petersburg District Ranger Chris Savage. “Ultimately, we’re looking to maintain and improve current jobs and infrastructure within the community of Kake, while building capacity for future industries in Southeast. We’re excited to have completed the analysis and to move ahead with implementation.”

A press release states Tongass is now in a position to take such steps as a result of the Central Kupreanof Timber Harvest decision, which includes a total of 26.3 million board feet of timber identified as available for harvest. It states the project will likely include a timber component, possible fish passage improvements, wildlife habitat restoration plus road and trail maintenance. Savage has been working with the community and regional stakeholders to explore how benefits for the forest management, local residents and contractors.

“We’re working with our communities and our local employers to find projects, which make sense and keeps Southeast Alaskans employed,” he said. “In today’s economic climate, it’s more important than ever.”

The Central Kupreanof Timber Harvest decision and associated environmental analysis, called the Central Kupreanof Timber Harvest Environmental Impact Statement, is available on the website, www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/projects/projects.shtml.

A 30-day public appeal period will begin March 14 as part of the Forest Service’s process in such decisions. For further information, contact Savage at (907) 772-5900.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.



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