On behalf of the original "Friends of Admiralty" (the people of Angoon), we would like to point out an error in what appeared to be an otherwise accurate article concerning the Pt. Retreat Lighthouse (Empire, Tuesday, Nov. 28). The article stated that the 1,500-acre tract deeded to the Alaska Lighthouse Association was the "largest tract of the island that the U.S. Forest Service doesn't already own." Kootznoowoo Incorporated, the Village Corporation for Angoon, owns more than 8,000 acres in the immediate vicinity of Angoon, the only community on Admiralty Island.
It doesn't surprise us that, as reported in the article, the U.S. Forest Service has not consulted with the Alaska Lighthouse Association about the agency's efforts to reclaim all but 10 acres of the transferred land. The Forest Service failed to inform our corporation about any of this, although we recently signed a memorandum of understanding by which the Forest Service expressly agreed to consult with our corporation about such important matters concerning Admiralty Island. We can certainly understand Sen. Steven's frustrations in dealing with the U.S. Forest Service.
We strongly object to the conveyance of any land on Admiralty Island to third parties without proper consultation. While the agency has many good and well-intentioned people working for it, it has a history of doing things first and informing later those parties most affected by such actions. We will be calling on the Forest Service to conduct a public hearing on this issue as soon as possible. If there is surplus lands on Admiralty, the land should be made available to S.E. Alaska Native Veterans under the Alaska Native Veterans Allotment Act.
Matthew Kookesh, Chairman Kootznoowoo Inc.
Floyd Kookesh, Mayor City of Angoon
Walter Jack, Angoon Community Association