I am very sorry to hear that Sen. Lisa Murkowski has reopened the scheme to trade virgin forest north of Berners Bay for clearcut land down by Ketchikan (Senate Bill 1354). A great deal for the Native corporations but a sorry mistake for Alaska citizens, the wildlife and the environment.
Why have there been no hearings about this in Southeast Alaska? Murkowski knows that she would be overwhelmed by criticism of this thinly disguised plot to make Slate Lake available to Coeur d'Alene for tailings disposal, among other things. The wealth of fish and other wildlife in Berners Bay deserve better. If this forest is destroyed, it will surely not recover in our lifetime or our children's.
We have a little bit of virgin forest above Skagway, and it is a wonderful place for hikers and a few hunters and fishermen. It is beautiful, and the only reason we still have it is because it is too inaccessible to be raped.
It does not appear that logging these lands would even provide any Alaskan use of the timber. Round logs to Japan? There has been too much of this already. We do not have enough ancient woodlands left now to protect wildlife and afford quality recreation for our people.
We can eat fish, but we can't eat timber or gold.
Barbara D. Kalen
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