Pending federal legislation could result in the privatization of some of the most ecologically important places on the Tongass National Forest. The Sealaska Corporation, the regional Native corporation for Southeast Alaska, was awarded as much as 375,000 acres on the Tongass under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. Much of that land already has been transferred. The pending legislation (S.340) would make new areas on the Tongass eligible for selection by Sealaska as the corporation picks its roughly 80,000 remaining acres. While the Sitka Conservation Society supports the fulfillment of promises made under ANCSA, we are concerned about some areas poised for selection under the Sealaska legislation. To that end, we have been advocating that certain ecologically critical selections be removed from the legislation and that safeguards are attached to other selections to guarantee continued public access and use of the land.
Background: The Alaska Congressional Delegation has introduced bills in the House and Senate that would take tens of thousands of acres of prime Tongass lands and privatize them by passing them over to the Sealaska Corporation. The Sitka Conservation Society opposes this legislation and sees it as a threat to the Tongass and to the [...]
Sealaska is moving forward with plans to take ownership of Redoubt Falls. Stakes have been placed, and opportunities for public comment on this divisive plan are limited. Although Sealaska has claimed in the past that the public will continue to have access to the most important subsistence sockeye stream close to Sitka, there doesn’t seem [...]