I moved to Juneau some 24 years ago, and recall that proposed Forest Service timber sales in the Berners Bay area were an issue even then. Juneau residents who hunt, fish, boat and otherwise recreate in Berners Bay defended the area vociferously. Eventually, the Forest Service's visual resource experts, fisheries and wildlife biologists, recreation experts and forest planners agreed that logging that area was probably not a good idea.
What really annoys me about the Murkowski bill (Berners Bay Giveaway Act of 2003, S. 1354) is that the proposed transfer closes debate, disenfranchises Juneau and Lynn Canal residents, and sidesteps all those Forest Service biologists, resources specialists and LUD classifications. Without further thought, the bill removes the northwest peninsular boundary from the public domain and gives it to Ketchikan's Cape Fox Native Corp. for development. Hey, no one else in Congress thought much of this idea either. Frank spent years trying to push it through without success. Unfortunately, this is one of those bills that may go through as a "favor" or possibly a rider passed by a bunch of back scratchers.
So what's next - Windham Bay for Shee Atika Corp., Kelp Bay for Kake Tribal Corp., maybe Couverden for Haida Corp.? We probably won't know until the senator convenes another public hearing - in Anchorage. Concerned Juneauites should contact Sen. Murkowski, but don't expect a favorable response (unless you're a multi-national corporation). At very least, I hope Sen. Murkowski has time to go see what she intends to give away.
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