Opinion: Alaska Native corporation wants to get best lands
"Being a logger's daughter in the 1980s on POW (as we call Prince of Wales Island) was great. Hollis was a fun community, and those were good times. My stepmom always says, "Southeast Alaska is a very small town."

The tightknit community feeling is a unique aspect of life in the largest national forest in America. Tensions have been growing, however, since the end of the logging boom. And they're getting worse because of SB 881 and HR 2099.

This legislation will give Sealaska Corporation the right to take some of the most valuable forest lands from the Tongass. The bills do that by changing land selection rules that were set long ago, in the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).

This act gave Native-owned corporations, including Sealaska, the right to select acreage from the Tongass National Forest for private ownership. Sealaska has received 80 percent of its lands, and has clear cut them at an unsustainable rate.

Sealaska has identified the remaining 20 percent of land it would take if it has to follow existing rules set by the 1971 land settlement act.

For the remainder of their selections, however, Sealaska does not want to stick to the existing rules. It wants to "cherry-pick" more valuable old-growth forest land and recreation sites from locations all throughout the Tongass. Their attempt to do this, with help from political leaders who are supposed to represent all of us, is causing more unnecessary conflict."

Get the Story:
Sarah Red-Laird: Stop Sealaska's plan to 'cherry pick' old-growth forest (The Anchorage Daily News 6/4)

Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization Act:
H.R. 2099 | S.881

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