Timber Sales in Alaska    Edward Frank
   Sep 03, 2004 17:36 PDT 

Forest Service OKs logging 1,800 formerly roadless acres on Gravina Island
45 DAYS TO APPEAL: Local Indian group opposes, but feds see creation of 240

Anchorage Daily News

(Published: August 18, 2004)
1. The U.S. Forest Service has approved a timber sale in a roadless area of
the Tongass National Forest. The logging would take place on Gravina
Island, across Tongass Narrows from Ketchikan, and would yield 38 million
board feet of timber from approximately 1,800 acres.
2. It's the second harvest in a roadless area of a national forest since a
Clinton-era rule banning such logging was lifted earlier this year. Last
month the Forest Service approved a 665-acre harvest in a roadless area
called Threemile on Kuiu Island in Southeast.
"Supporting our local communities is an important part of what we do, and
offering this timber sale is a way we can accomplish that goal," Tongass
supervisor Forrest Cole said. "I'm very concerned about the economic health
of Southeast Alaska communities, and my hope is this project will help our
local, family-run mills keep operating and create jobs."
The Gravina sale could generate nearly 240 jobs, according to the federal
agency. It would require the construction of more than 21 miles of road.
The public has 45 days to appeal the timber sale.
Gravina is a popular spot for hunting, and its proximity to Ketchikan makes
it easily accessible to boaters. Locals sometimes refer to the island as a
breadbasket for Ketchikan.
Environmentalists and some tribal members oppose the sale, saying the
logging could harm subsistence resources, such as salmon and deer, as well
as recreational opportunities on the island. They're particularly concerned
about a spot called Bostwick Inlet.
Tongass spokesman Kent Cummins said the Forest Service addressed the
concerns by not allowing logging, road construction or the placement of any
log dumps close to the inlet.
More than 7,000 people commented on the draft plan for the timber sale and
asked the Forest Service not to allow logging on Gravina, said Elmer Makua,
a council member of the Ketchikan Indian Community, the local tribal
"Once again the Forest Service has ignored the public and chosen short-term
timber extraction to the detriment of protecting all the other uses of this
pristine area," Makua said.
For information about the Gravina sale, contact Ketchikan-Misty Fiords
Ranger District Ranger Jerry Ingersoll at 1-907-225-2148 or
. The mailing address is 3031 Tongass Ave., Ketchikan

The Associated Press contributed to this story. Reporter Paula Dobbyn can
be reached at or 257-4317.
Re: Timber Sales in Alaska    Rory Nichols
   Sep 03, 2004 18:42 PDT 

So if (when) the logging is completed there will be about 240 people out of work. Soon as they started it will be over. What was accomplished? It seems the industry up there has been on the ventilator for the longest time. They might as well pull the plug instead of drag things out. Sooner or later there will be no more trees to cut. It will either be locked up, logged or most likely both. Times will get worse. They might as well start the transition into some other type of industry whether it be eco-tourism or what have you because it seems like it's following the same course the U.S. is doing with oil. Going to ride that old horse until it finally keels over and dies at the worse possible time sending them into a plummet to almost certain death. I wish they would make things easy on themselves instead of take a truly hard hit but I guess it's all about today, not tomorrow.

Lastly, eco-groups and natives will have to come up with a better argument to halt the sale. I highly doubt deer will be negatively impacted. Well, maybe the very short term but there will be a bazillion in no time.

Re: Timber Sales in Alaska    Joe Zorzin
   Sep 04, 2004 04:30 PDT 

Rory wrote:  So if (when) the logging is completed there will be about 240 people out of work. Soon as they started it will be over. What was accomplished? It seems the industry up there has been on the ventilator for the longest time.

The fundamental issue isn't that "logging is bad" or that "logging is good"- the issue is that GREAT forestry is good, but GREAT forestry is as rare as ivory billed woodpeckers- not just in Alaska, but everywhere on this planet- and because most of it is so bad, resistance to it is so strong, although this resistance often is misplaced into thinking "logging is bad so let's stop it". What we should be doing is to FIGHT TO GET GREAT FORESTRY, which will include some GREAT SILVICULUTRE. Such GREAT forestry will be GREAT because it actually does great silviculture and PROFITABLY. Such GREAT silviculture will be uneven aged, multi-species oriented. After locking up the most beautiful and ecologically critical areas, the rest of the forest can be and should be harvested with a long term view- such that there really can be a "sustained yield" forever, resulting in STEADY employment opportunities for the locals, and also resulting in feeding that raw material in the wood products stream for the rest of us to use and for further employment opportunities for others- mill workers, truckers, chain saw makers and repairers, construction workers, furniture makers and others.

Again, first lock up what must be locked up, then manage INTELLIGENTLY the rest- and that means PROFITABLY, and that means HIGH PRODUCTIVITY of the forestry staff, not encumbered by EXCESSIVE numbers of OVER DEMANDING "ologists". The work of the "ologists" must be systemetized, so that they stop reinventing the wheel for each and every timber harvest. Much of that work should be done initially when GREAT MGT. PLANS are being designed, prior to ANY harvesting. Then, the future harvests won't be slowed to a crawl by those "ologists". Once and for all, find out, right at the beginning, where things are out there and where the sensitive areas are- then AMORITZE that cost, so that cost can be paid for over a VERY long timber frame.

To manage forests INTELLIGENTLY it's IMPERATIVE to factor in ALL COSTS and PROFITS. Costs for building roads where nobody needs roads for any other purposes, must be 100% accounted for in the forestry accounting system. All the costs for the forestry staff, including their benefits must be counted. If a profit can't be made "doing forestry" then there is no justification for continuing at all.

It's often said that even if public forestry loses money, that's OK because of the benefits to the economy, but that becomes an excuse to justify further POOR FOREST MGT. If the forestry entity can't make a profit doing GREAT forestry, then let the industry move elsewhere to find their raw material- because continuing this money losing enterprise is nothing but a subsidy to the industry- and, allowing for the lack of profit, justifies lazy and unproductive forestry staff- who can always say, "well, we don't have to make a profit- we're the government, and all the work created by the processors of the wood make up for it"- while they lean back in their chairs and have some more coffee and donuts.

If the wood products industry can't get subsidized timber, then they'll have to manage private land better- something they claim to do, but seldom really do- just look at most of the private forest land in America- almost all has been clearcut and high graded. Look in particular at northern New England- the industry has been bragging about their fantastic timber mgt. forever- yet now most of that timber resource has been wiped out- and now the industry is moving on and selling out to developers OR being SUBSIZED by EXTRAORDINARILY EXPENSIVE EASEMENTS, much of which is actually TAX MONEY. If in fact they had been managing that land so well, it would be covered with premium quality trees, worth a fortune, and capable of sustaining a profitable industry forever, but that ain't the case. THEY LIED.

Again, the solution isn't to try to stop logging, it's to fight to get GREAT FORESTRY. When I see these battles between rapacious loggers and people trying to lock everything up, it pisses me off so much I almost want to start RANTING. <G>

Joe Zorzin