More than just timber and trails
Just 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:
Decisions are being made regarding future timber operations, upkeep of cabins, shelters & trails, changes to stream & river management.
These are decisions that will affect the ecosystems of Kruzof Island, all the myriad animals that depend on those ecosystems, and us: the Sitkans who depend on Kruzof for its excellent hunting. fishing. hiking, bear viewing, camping and more.
The Forest Service will go ahead and decide the fate of Kruzof how they see fit, unless each of us speaks up and lets them know how much we value Kruzof and its future.
Tell the Forest Service how you want to see the future of Kruzof shaped. Contact the Sitka District Ranger Carol Goularte and let her know that Sitkans want to be included in planning the future of Kruzof!
Contact Carol Goularte: by email [email protected] or by phone 747-6671
Starrigavan Creek Cabin
The Starrigavan Creek Cabin is not only the most popular cabin in the Tongass National Forest, it’s also a tangible example of how sustainable second growth timber harvest can be utilized. Who needs old growth harvests when such beautiful things can be built with sustainable second growth?
Even building the cabin was a learning experience! This beautiful cabin was constructed as a part of University of Alaska Southeast’s two-week log home building course. Check out a video about the building process here.
More important than being an example of the use of second growth timber, the Starrigavan Creek Cabin is a great place for family and friends to get out and explore the Starrigavan Recreation Area. There’s a reason this cabin is the more frequently used in all of the Tongass National Forests – great times and great memories to be made!
What are your favorite memories from time spent at the Starrigavan Creek Cabin?
Do you kayak in Silver Bay? Hike along Indian River? Hunt on Kruzof? These are the places you know and love: how do you want to see them managed? How do you think restoration and management should be prioritized?
Your input matters! The information we gather from this survey will help guide our work. Please fill out our short 5 minute survey online or using the insert in Friday’s issue of the Sitka Sentinel. Paper surveys can be dropped off at the SCS office, 4J’s, the Highliner, or Kruz-off Espresso. Thanks!