JUNEAU, Alaska (KINY) - The new Tongass Forest Campaign Manager for the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council identifies a bill sponsored by Alaska Congressman Don Young as a top threat to the national forest.
Darrin Kelly says H. R. 232 proposes transferring 2 million acres of the Tongass to state forests.
"From Cowee Creek here in Juneau all the way down to Pederson Creek, turn that into a state forest in order to cut trees, specifically old growth," Kelly explained. "Just the impacts in Juneau alone show that a lot of the priorities coming out of Congress are just not in sync with some of the real needs of us here in Southeast Alaska."
Kelly claims it's nothing the state could handle anyway.
"We do not want the state to get another 2 million acres when they continue to lose money on their timbre programs. The state has a $3 billion deficit right now; they simply can't afford to take on new responsibilities, particularly when they're actually going to lose money and, frankly, have a really negative impact on our way of life here getting outside, fishing, and hunting."