Hoonah Community Forest
The Hoonah Community Forest Project evolved out of a series of community meetings about the future of the forest. These discussions included a diverse spectrum of local citizens from customary and traditional users to employees of the local timber mill. People recognized that the biggest and best trees around Hoonah had been logged, and wanted future logging to have a much smaller “foot print” than that of the past to protect and restore deer and salmon habitat. People also wanted the mill to continue to operate.
In 2008, SEACC released a report on the information gathered through these meetings and various field trips with stakeholders. The plan weaves together traditional knowledge, observations made by expert naturalists, and the community’s desire for a balanced approach to forest management.
Icy Straights Lumber and Milling
Find out more about Icy Straights Lumber and Milling in this overview owners Wes and Sue Tyler wrote for our Buy Local: Alaskan Wood, Alaskan Jobs project. The Tylers support the local economy in Hoonah while advocating for policies that advance a smaller, more locally-focused and sustainable timber industry on the Tongass. In 2011, SEACC completed a market research study for the company, to assist in their drive to market local wood products in Juneau. In 2012 and 2013, SEACC partnered with Icy Straights Lumber and Milling at our local wood themed booths at the Juneau Home Show and the Juneau Public Market.
Kennel Creek Restoration Project Initiated
Today, the implementation of the Hoonah Community Forest vision continues. In 2013, SEACC, the Hoonah Indian Association, the USFS, and other partners will be working to restore parts of the Kennel Creek area southeast of Hoonah in the heavily logged area surrounding Freshwater Bay. The project will provide local jobs and lead to the restoration of salmon streams, forest thinning that improves wildlife habitat, and other efforts. The project is funded by a successful RAC (Resource Advisory Committee, a part of the federal Secure Rural Schools program) grant submitted by SEACC in 2011.
Success: Iyoutug Timber Sale Resolution
Shortly after our report was released, in June 2008, SEACC and the Sitka Conservation Society (SCS) successfully resolved their appeals of the Iyouktug timber sale with the Forest Service. The original timber sale proposed by the Hoonah Ranger District of the Tongass National Forest included several controversial "roadless" and high value wildlife corridors and was larger than what the Hoonah-based mill (Icy Straights Lumber and Milling) needed to continue operating or could afford to bid on.
SEACC and SCS worked with the mill owner and Forest Service officials to negotiate the sale to better meet the mill's needs while staying out of the more controversial areas in the immediate future. For the first time, SEACC and the Forest Service issued a joint press release announcing the resolution of an appeal.