Sitka Conservation Society
Jul 05 2012

SCS Recommends: The Rise and Fall of Alaska’s Canned Salmon Industry

An “uncanned” history talk about a critical piece of Alaskan history. Nic Mink, Asst. Professor of Environmental Studies at Knox College, will explore the growth of the canned salmon industry in Alaska by examining the development of Alaska’s economy, culture and the environment.  The talk is free and open to the public and will take place at 5:00 pm on Sunday, June 15th at Kettleson Memorial Library.

Jul 04 2012

Dustin Hack: Local Craftsman, Local Materials

Dustin Hack (right) and Shawn Smith (left) mill a round of yellow cedar at their worksite on Japonski Island.

Dustin Hack is not your typical entrepreneur.  Instead of making his living by sipping lattes, yapping on cell phones, and playing the stock exchange, Hack makes his living the old-fashioned way, with his own two hands.

Hack, 31, originally from Plainfield, IL, recently started a new business in Sitka entitled the Alaska Beam Company.  The business utilizes dead and downed yellow cedar from the Sitka Ranger District in the construction of local buildings, fencing, boat interiors, and other hand-crafted products.  It’s a business model that, as Hack explains, “just makes so much sense!”

On his most recent project, the Alaska Beam Company was contracted to construct a yellow cedar fence to enclose a newly developed property on Japonski Island.  The materials used in the construction of this project were all recovered, transported, and milled locally.
Hack’s process exemplifies the ideals of sustainable forestry, and illustrates how small scale timber harvest can support small business, the local Sitka community, and the forest we call home.
Jul 02 2012

Sealaska Legislation would create “Corporate Earmarks” that would Privatize some of the most important parcels on the Tongass

Sitkans have been following the threat of the privatization of the very popular Redoubt Lake Falls Sockeye Fishing site over the past years with growing alarm.  There is a pending transfer of the site to the Sealaska Corporation through a vague 14(h)(1)  ANSCA provision that allows selection of “cultural sites.”  The obvious intent of that legislation was to protect sites with petroglyphs, pictographs, totem poles, etc.  However, Sealaska has worked to expand selection criteria very liberally and select sites that were summer fish camps or other transient seasonal sites.  Of course, the places that were fished in the past are still fished today.  The result of this liberal interpretation is that sites are being privatized that are extremely important fishing and access areas that are used and depend by hundreds of Southeast Alaskans and visitors today.

Beyond the fact that the potential transfer of cultural and historic sites is not  to tribal governments or clans, but to a for-profit Corporate Entity, one of the most alarming developments is the fact that Sealaska is selecting virtually all of the known subsistence Sockeye Salmon runs across the Sitka Community Use Area.  Here is a link to a map that we made a few years ago that shows those sites:  here .  It is inconceivable to us that legislation that would give a corporation strategic parcels of public lands that control access to Sockeye Salmon streams is even a thought in Congress.

We have heard that there negotiations going on in Washington, DC right now that are choosing the sites that Sealaska would obtain through the Sealaska Legislation.  It is extremely important that people who use sites that are in danger of being privatized let Forest Service and Congressional staff in Washington, DC know how important these sites are.  Here is a link to a letter that SCS just sent that includes a listing of the sites:  here .   Feel free to use that letter as a guide.

If you want help writing a letter, please get in touch with us and we will help.

If you have a letter outlining how you use the sites, send them to Mike Odle’s email at Michael.Odle@osec.usda.gov

These inholdings could seriously change the face of the Tongass and the way the public can access and use public lands.  Make your voice heard now to ensure that we can continue to use and enjoy these sites.

 

 

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Keep up to date on all of the issues. Check out "The Southeaster" Blog.

  • Hungry for Huckleberry Pie, Venison Stew, or Fresh Greens? Come to the Wild Foods Potluck Nov. 2!
  • Stand Up to Corporate Influence!
  • Kayaking Kootznoowoo: Report on SCS’s Final Wilderness Trip
  • Encouraging Local Natural Resource Stewardship on the Tongass: Kennel Creek
  • Teaching the Alaska way of Life: 4-H in Sitka
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