More than just timber and trailsJust about everyone who has visited Kruzof Island on the Tongass National Forest leaves knowing that they experienced a magical place. Most everyone realizes that even though they just visited an island within the borders of our Nation's largest national forest, that forest is much more than just a source of timber.
The visitors and the Sitkans who spend time there know that the place is more than just its trails and cabins, forests and muskegs, rugged coastline and tide pools, brilliant scenery and world class hunting. Altogether, the ecosystems and landscape on Kruzof is the essence of Southeast Alaska's coastal temperate rainforest ecosystem: a globally rare and unique ecosystem that is indescribably beautiful.
The Forests of Central Kruzof were logged in the past. To many, the scale and scope of logging were too much. To others, the logical was the logical use of the landscape. Today, we are charged with figuring out how we manage and take care of the Kruzof landscape and plan for the use of the land and protection of the cultural, wildlife, and aesthetic resources for future generations. Doing this right will require a holistic approach to take all of the island's vital attributes and resource values into account. That is, we may be able to harvest timber from Kruzof but how much? At what scale? How fast? And how to best benefit our community. We will need to leave areas free from roads and timber harvest to protect vital habitat for spawning salmon, rutting deer, and fish-hungry bears. We will also have to invest and maintain recreational infrastructure for residents and visitors so that they can access and experience Kruzof Island and understand how special the place is.
To make sure the public lands of Kruzof are managed in the best way possible, citizens should be engaged in the planning processes that decide what will happen on public lands. They can do that by going directly to those who will decide, the US Forest Service. SCS is working with the local Sitka Collaborative Stewardship Group and the US Forest Service to give Sitkans an opportunity to brainstorm and give their ideas and input. Watch for meeting notices in early December 2012. For those who cannot attend a meeting in Sitka, they can contact:
- Sitka District Ranger Carol Goularte by phone (747-6671) or by email (email@example.com)
- Erin Fulton, Tongass Forest Resident at SCS by email (firstname.lastname@example.org)