Tonka Timber decision affirmed
JUNEAU — Regional Forester Beth Pendleton affirmed the Tongass National Forest supervisor's Tonka Timber Sale Record of Decision Monday, July 23. The 2,085-acre sale area encompasses most of the National Forest System lands on the southern half of Lindenberg Peninsula on Kupreanof Island, located across Wrangell Narrows from the Petersburg road system.
Four appeals were received on the Tonka project, raising various issues related to economics, water quality, wildlife, and NEPA. One issue, raised in two of the appeals, related to the use of Alexander Bay for log storage and rafting. In response to this issue, Pendleton directed the Forest to obtain State permitting records and conduct a review to make sure the State's analysis, mitigation and monitoring requirements, and public comments are consistent with what was considered and disclosed in the Tonka Environmental Impact Statement. This review must be completed prior to any work beginning on the ground at the sale area.
The selected alternative authorizes the harvest of approximately 38.5 million board feet of timber from the 2,085-acre project area. The ROD also allows construction of about 1.7 miles of new National Forest System roads and 7.6 miles of temporary roads, along with the construction of a 3 to 5-acre sort yard northwest of the existing Tonka Marine Access Facility.
The timber harvest was planned in this area to take advantage of an adjacent road system instead of developing new road systems in other locations.
The project fits into the USDA's economic diversification strategy in Southeast Alaska. It helps meet the need to provide a sustained level of timber and provide diverse opportunities for natural resource employment. The project's proximity to Petersburg will support direct and indirect employment through the supply of personnel, goods and services. The area is attractive to purchasers because successful timber sales have been harvested from the project area in the past.
The four appeals were received from Dick Artley, David Beebe, David Randrup and Larry Edwards (Edwards on behalf of Greenpeace, Tongass Conservation Society, Greater Southeast Alaska Conservation Community, Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands). Randrup's appeal was dismissed because he did not submit his appeal to a valid e-mail address within the 45-day appeal period.