Assembly to discuss South Mitkof timber sales
The Petersburg Borough Assembly will discuss the impacts of the University of Alaska timber sale on South Mitkof Island after two members of the community shared their concerns last week.
Dave Beebe represented the City of Kupreanof and spoke before the assembly. He cited studies by Geologist Dr. Douglas Swanston from the 1970s regarding unstable slopes and potential landslide issues posing threats to public safety.
“Essentially the whole state holding is documented as unstable slopes within a half mile of pubic roadways,” Beebe said. “If you ever travel out there you’ll notice that without the current logging plans there are already rock slides coming down onto the road.”
Beebe said the City of Kupreanof would like the Borough Assembly to seek an independent review of landslide risks in the area and that the reviews be documented in any approved logging plans. He also urged the assembly to track other past and future logging operations.
“Unfortunately they go beyond the South Mitkof Island Timber sale and extend to a whole host of near-term, within the next five years, pretty serious intensive impacts to an already hammered landscape,” Beebe said.
Becky Knight, who worked in the Tongass National Forest for the U.S. Forest Service for ten years and has a degree in Forestry and Wildlife Management, also protested the timber sale.
She cited federal, non-federal and private timber harvests during the next five years as having dramatic negative impact to the region, especially to subsistence deer hunting success, which has decreased over the past several decades.
The University of Alaska Timber sale includes two parcels totaling around 1000 acres of land on South Mitkof Island along the Wrangell Narrows and near Banana Point.
The assembly will discuss the issue at its May 19 meeting.