The U.S. Forest Service opened a month-long comment period on Wednesday over a list of projects it’s proposed on Prince of Wales Island in Tongass National Forest.
“We are moving forward with the Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis public engagement process to continue the agency’s commitment to ensuring the public is side-by-side with forest management in where, when and how work is done on their public lands,” Tongass National Forest spokesman Paul Robbins Jr. said in a written statement.
The project is not without controversy; it included old growth logging earlier this fall. But a state judge put that on hold following a lawsuit by conservationists.
Litigation over the controversial Twin Mountain Timber Sale doesn’t affect other proposals including projects designed to restore fish habitat and improve recreation.
Those were recommended by the Prince of Wales Landscape Assessment Team — a broad-based citizens advisory group that had submitted a wish list of projects — to the Forest Service.
Craig City Administrator Jon Bolling chaired the advisory group that endorsed old growth logging but also requested for restoration projects and investment in recreation.
He says he’s looked at the maps and where the project sites are for watershed and stream restoration sites.
“It looks like they are working on some of the projects that we identified,” Bolling told CoastAlaska.
Several “red pipe” projects are funded to replace old road culverts that block fish passage to improve salmon habitat for commercial, recreational and subsistence fishing.
The vast majority of non-timber harvest projects are currently unfunded, though the scope of the projects are designed to be rolled out over 15 years. The comment period runs through Dec. 20. Written comments can be mailed or submitted online.