State land managers collaborating on Haines timber projects

The Division of Forestry, the University of Alaska Land Office, and the Mental Health Trust Land Office are working together to provide a 10-year timber supply in the Haines area.

The three parties will coordinate their individual efforts to provide a combined target volume of 150 million board feet over a 10-year period. Most of the timber sales would occur on the University of Alaska’s Trust lands but additional timber could be proposed on adjacent state forest and Mental Health Trust lands, according to an agreement signed by the parties earlier this year.

The parties intend to schedule an open house in Haines together within the next couple months to discuss the preliminary scope of work and will seek creation of a local working group to provide input.

“We expect our collaboration to provide significant benefits to the University Land Trust, as well as training opportunities for residents, new local jobs and capital projects with economic benefits to the Haines community,” said Christine Klein, director of Land Management for the University of Alaska.

“Together we are seeking to support the local economy with responsible development of renewable resources on state lands. We are committed to working with the Haines community to gather local input and identify the best mix of benefits for the region,” said Chris Maisch, state forester and Division of Forestry director.

University of Alaska timber sales have been proposed on about 13,000 acres in the area west of the Chilkat River and within the southwestern portion of the Haines State Forest. The proposed project is not in the Mud Bay Rural Residential area. Accessing the timber would require new road and bridge construction.

The organizations have agreed to share staff and facilities and to work together to help facilitate any financing and construction of infrastructure. All timber sales will be conducted in accordance with the Alaska Forest Resources Protection Act, which is jointly administered by the departments of Natural Resources, Fish and Game and Environmental Conservation. The primary objective of the act is to protect fish habitat and water quality. Any sales on Division of Forestry-managed lands will be conducted under the division’s existing requirements and public participation process for timber sales, and in accordance with the Haines State Forest Management Plan.

Revenue generated from University Land Grant Trust lands and resources fund scholarships for students across the state to attend the University of Alaska. Since 1987, more than 9,000 students have benefitted from the UA scholars program. Revenue generated from Mental Health Trust lands is used to fund grants to providers assisting Alaskans with mental illness, addiction, Alzheimer’s and related dementia, developmental disabilities, and traumatic brain injuries.

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