State forest plan on right track
The Alaska Division of Forestry is on the right track in its future plans for the Southeast Alaska State Forest (SESF), RDC acknowledged in its review of the draft land management plan for the new forest.
RDC was a strong supporter of the legislation creating the SESF in 2010 and subsequent legislation, which added additional units to the forest in 2011. Although the 48,472-acre SESF is too small to provide for the timber supply needs for the region’s struggling forest industry, the state timber sale program from the forest has helped sustain what remains of the industry and its well-paying jobs – given the lack of adequate timber from the adjacent Tongass National Forest.
RDC agrees with the state’s assessment in the draft plan that there are additional state-owned parcels located in southern Southeast Alaska that should be considered for inclusion into the state forest. These additions would add existing managed young growth timber stands to the forest land base, and reduce future use conflicts.
In 2012, the Governor’s Alaska Timber Jobs Task Force made multiple recommendations concerning additions to the SESF, including adding two million acres of national forest lands from the Tongass. Successful implementation of the recommendations would help ensure a vibrant forest industry, RDC noted.
While the SESF does not have the timber base to fully support the industry, it can provide a stable supply of timber to local mills and supplement declining timber harvests on the national forest. It can also provide relief to the industry while it waits for increasing secondgrowth harvests from the Tongass in coming decades.
In its comments, RDC supported a productive working forest concept for the SESF. Read RDC’s full comments at akrdc.org.
Return to newsletter headlines