State agency tries to cover its tracks

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, April 02, 2007

No one should be surprised when a state agency works to cover its tracks after being challenged publicly about its policies, and that is what we have when Martha Freeman purports to address 'misleading' statements made by an author regarding the Bostwick Road on Gravina Island.

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The Department of Natural Resources has only recently claimed that the road will be closed after years of documentation from agencies stating otherwise. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff who visited the site and researched documents have verified this statement. I suggest Ms. Freeman contact Robin Leighty at the Corps for this and other pertinent information.

Most of the road travels over wetlands, so avoidance is impossible. Photo-documentation by the Corps and by others verifies the damage caused, the lack of erosion controls, debris on the downslopes, and the overburden related to un-permitted rock pits. Only mitigation and repair - and not words - can backtrack on this reality.

Lastly, Freeman's reasons for not needing permits are incorrect. If there was no intention of the agencies involved - U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, borough or state - to keep the road open; and the road does not enter a new area for logging; and there are no pits that require permitting; and best practices are implemented, then no permits would be required. There are documented statements from DNR, Forest Service, and the borough to keep the road open. The road enters a new area for logging. There are at least six new and un-permitted rock pits. In addition, the Corps and others have verified and photo-documented the poor conditions of the road and pits.

I suggest Freeman get the laws correct - and get a permit application - by contacting Robin Leighty at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Gregory Vickrey

Ketchikan



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