A milestone in Alaska forest management occurred today with the award of the first timber sale under a Good Neighbor Authority agreement between the State of Alaska and the U.S. Forest Service. The agreement enables agencies to work collaboratively across land ownership boundaries to manage forest lands.
Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack signed the $2.6 million young-growth timber sale contract with Alcan Forest Products of Ketchikan on Kosciusko Island near Edna Bay.
“This is the largest timber sale sold in Southeast Alaska this year. We are excited that this new partnership with the Forest Service is providing more wood to Alaska’s forest products industry while maintaining a healthy forest. We will continue to press for more timber to be made available from Alaska’s forests,” Mack said.
The state Division of Forestry and the Forest Service have been working together for over a year to implement the agreement signed last November. A supplemental agreement signed in May outlines the specific timber sale work to be completed by the State of Alaska on the Tongass National Forest during the first year of the agreement. The Division of Forestry and its partners and contractors were authorized to prepare, award, harvest and administer the Kosciusko young-growth timber sale.
The Kosciusko sale is the first application of the Good Neighbor Authority agreement in Alaska and it is viewed as the future of broader, landscape-scale management of the renewable timber resource. It provides immediate support to the timber industry and lays the foundation for long-term benefits from cooperative management and shared stewardship of the Tongass National Forest.
“Cooperative management like this is an important aspect in achieving our cooperative goals in sustainable stewardship of a renewable young growth timber resource,” said Regional Forester Beth Pendleton.
“Through our partnership and the hard work of state and federal employees, progress has been made on achieving common, sustainable forestry goals. The Good Neighbor Authority has the potential to be a major tool in delivering management activities on the national forest,” said State Forester and Division of Forestry Director Chris Maisch.
Tongass National Forest staff conducted the environmental analysis and public involvement process required under the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Division of Forestry will oversee the site-specific sale and road design. A bid opening for the timber sale was held Sept. 13 at the Division of Forestry office in Ketchikan.
“The hard work of the forest staff and cooperation of great partners like the Alaska Division of Forestry will help us continue the transition to young growth, while preserving jobs and opportunities for residents of Southeast Alaska,” said Tongass National Forest Supervisor, M. Earl Stewart.
The 29 million board foot Kosciusko sale includes approximately 1,500 acres of young-growth timber stands composed of approximately 75 percent Sitka spruce and 25 percent western hemlock. The stands will be harvested by a variety of methods. A portion of the receipts from the timber sales will reimburse the state for its costs to do the work.
CONTACT: Elizabeth Bluemink, 907-269-8434, firstname.lastname@example.org