JUNEAU, Alaska (KINY) - Conservation groups including the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council are calling on the Forest Service to scrub plans for a planned timber sale in Southeast Alaska.
That was discussed with SEACC officials on Action Line Thursday.
Conservation groups are wondering why the North Kuiu Timber Sale is proceeding now prior to the finalization of the amended timber plan for the Tongass National Forest which is expected out before the end of the year.
SEACC Executive Director Meredith Trainor explained what they want the Forest Service to do.
""We sent a letter to the Forest Service asking them to rescind the offer of sale and to return any bids unopened to say, "this is the wrong deal at the wrong time."
She went on to say that there's "a lot to be lost and very little to be gained" by making the sale at this time.
Bids are due September 13.
The sale proved not cost effective when it was worked up nine years ago.
Trainor says it might be economical now since the agency has borne the cost of new road construction and reconstruction of existing roads and also decided to allow export of the timber...
"Right now, it looks like it's going to be at least $1.3 million that were spent on either improving or establishing new roads to give loggers access to a sale that has a minimum bid level of $234,000. If they come in at that bid, that means the government has put out a little over a million dollars to pay to have this sale made. Not only are we paying to have loggers to come in to do this harvesting, we've lost jobs in this process with what was anticipated with the original sale. We just don't think this is good business; the economics aren't there."
A Forest Service official was quoted about the sale in an article in the Ketchikan Daily News.
"Jason Anderson, a deputy forest supervisor, said that sales that are already approved can move forward. But, the quote he had in the paper was that they would not have necessarily crafted this sale under the new plan. We don't think that that's good enough. We know that a new plan is coming up, and this isn't appropriate given what we know about the region."
SEACC and other conservation groups are also concerned about the impact of logging in the 866 acre area on deer, black bear and martens.