FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2018
UA Board of Regents approves Haines timber sale development and disposal plan
FAIRBANKS—The University of Alaska Board of Regents approved the development and disposal plan for the proposed Haines timber sale along with a set of principles that will guide the project at a special meeting on June 19. By a 9-1 vote, regents authorized the university administration to move forward with contract negotiations for the sale of up to 13,426 acres of university parcels within the Haines Borough.
UA President Jim Johnsen explained that community input reflects both strong support and significant concern. He recognized that there has been extensive community engagement including a series of meetings with Haines officials and community members as well as an extended public comment period and the opportunity for the public to talk directly with the regents during a public call-in session.
“In light of the community’s interest in this proposed project, the regents decided in May that they wanted to give this matter more time for consideration and input, which reflects our desire to be a good neighbor,” Johnsen said.
In response to public input, the university developed a set of guiding principles focused on value, best practice, community engagement and partnerships and accountability and compliance. These principles will guide the project through the negotiation, planning and implementation.
“The record reflects that when we harvest our timber, we do it very well,” Johnsen said. “We have a high standard and we follow that standard when we develop our timber lands.”
The university currently holds about 17,000 acres of land with potential timber harvest value, 12 percent of the university’s total investment property. The university estimates that timber revenues from this project will total $10-15 million over the next ten years, the largest portion being from the proposed Haines sale. The primary purpose for revenue from university land development is the funding of student scholarships, including the UA Scholars Program. Other beneficiaries include the Cooperative Extension, the UA Press and other mission critical programs.
Immediate next steps for the project include providing the guiding principles and development plan to the Haines community, responding to all public comments received to date, commencing negotiations with the potential buyer, and completing a detailed field inventory and cost estimates. The Board of Regents will be asked to approve the contract terms once negotiations are completed.
All Board of Regents meeting agendas and documents are available online at www.alaska.edu/bor/agendas.
For more information, contact Roberta Graham, associate vice president of public affairs at 907-360-2416 (cell).