Should big industry have more say than Alaskans on forestry issues?

A trail with wooden steps leads through evergreen trees and underbrush on Canoe Point Trail.

Written by Katie Rooks

February 27, 2024

You’ve heard the old question: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” But here’s the real question: if a constituent has a voice but our government never hears it, does it make a difference?

The Alaska Board of Forestry is meant to represent diverse interests, but its membership doesn’t include a conservation voice — we have to represent ourselves — and we have that chance on Wednesday, February 28, when the board will accept public comment during its meeting

This is an all-day meeting, with public comment scheduled for 2-2:15 p.m. — it’s a short window right before industry group Alaska Forest Association has its 15-minute slot. 

Board of Forestry Meeting Public Comment

When: Wednesday, February 28, 2 p.m.
Where: Zoom or Teleconference

Join via Teleconference

Phone: 719-359-4580 / Meeting ID: 939 7203 7612 / Passcode: 714234

Join via Zoom

Zoom link / Meeting ID: 939 7203 7612 / Passcode: 714234

Talking Points

You’ll be instructed to introduce yourself — stating your name, where you live and any affiliation — then to provide your comment. We’ve crafted some talking points for your consideration; the opportunity to speak will be short, so you might pick one or two that matter most to you and consider speaking to your personal connection to Alaska’s forests. 

  • Communities and residents on POW are being hurt by the state’s logging plans
  • The Division of Forestry is ignoring the voices of resident Alaskans.
  • I look to this Board to advise the Division of Forestry on topics around logging, including:
    • Public opinion and community needs regarding forest management
    • Specific interest areas like timber retention, forest health issues, or other factors
  • I would like to see more consideration for:
    • Subsistence
    • Recreation
    • Aesthetics/scenic beauty
    • Quality of life
  • I’m concerned about misuse of parcels designated as “Settlement” lands for commercial logging
    • These areas, including El Capitan and Whale Pass, were specifically identified in the POW Island Area Plan as important to POW communities for recreation, subsistence, and aesthetics
  • I encourage the Board of Forestry to consider the comments received by the Division of Forestry and Fire Protection about recent logging projects on Prince of Wales
    • One of those projects, Whale Pass, received 300 comments in opposition, mostly from local residents
    • Another sale, the ‘Stairway Sale,’ would put lives in danger due to the slope above it being identified as landslide prone
We at SEACC hear you, and we want the Alaska Board of Forestry to hear you too. Thank you for considering this opportunity to speak up.

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