If Sen. Albert Kookesh, D-Angoon, is concerned about the small Alaska communities he represents, he should look to his own backyard. Sealaska Corp. is trying to privatize North Prince of Wales Island, which could destroy the economies of Point Baker, Point Protection, Edna Bay, Naukati, Whale Pass and others. Once private, we lose public access to the land we rely on for subsistence, commercial sport and tourism resources. ANILCA Title VIII protections are lost. Fish stream protections are lost. A world class cave system is lost to science and the public. An extensive road system is lost.
What Sealaska gets is an existing, publicly funded road system and thousands of acres of publicly owned old growth forest (which our communities have spent more than 25 years protecting). And Sealaska gets the caves and underground mineral rights.
And what does the U.S. public receive, in return for these very valuable assets? A few short-term logging jobs for Native Alaskans and some trickle-down money for anyone left with a cup.