Turning over the Tongass is outlandish

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Until about six months ago, Sealaska Corp. told its shareholders that it believed it owned 3 billion board feet of timber. But a recent appraisal shows that it only owns half that much. Only 500,000 million board feet is actually marketable. (Empire 11/15/05: Sealaska to reduce logging by 25 percent 11/15/05)

With the enormous shoreline to ridge-top clearcuts that run endlessly across Sealaska managed areas it doesn't surprise me that they have found themselves in a position where they have over cut their shareholders land. However, if I read the figures right Sealaska has less then 17 percent remaining marketable timber from what corporate officials were claiming they had? How could they employ foresters of any competence or skill and end up with such a grand canyon of disparity?

In a recent column, Chris E. McNeil Jr., the CEO of Sealaska Corp., tossed out various ideas that amount to taking more public resource and transferring it to his management domain. A cynic might see this as an attempt to divert shareholders eyes from management shortcomings. At the least it makes you wonder if you are getting the whole story.

None of McNeil's ideas are anything I could support; turning over management on the Tongass seems completely outlandish and hardly grounded in reality). In fact, if anything, I think he has done shareholders a disservice, in that any proposals Sealaska comes forward with are now certain to draw severe public scrutiny.

Greg Petrich

Juneau



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