Large scale clear cuts and round log export negatively impact fisheries, wildlife, recreation and tourism with little to no gain for our local economy. The DNR’s plan for the Haines State Forest does not prioritize the current socioeconomic needs of residents in the Upper Lynn Canal. LCC continues to work toward moving logging practices away from clearcutting and toward small-scale selective cutting and value added processing in the Haines State Forest.
Baby Brown Timber Sale on hold
In February, LCC appealed the Baby Brown Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP) to the Department of Natural Resources. The FLUP only covers the first two of a total ten harvest units in the Baby Brown timber sale. The appeal challenges two aspects of the FLUP. First, the timber sale was put up for bid before the FLUP was completed. Second, the FLUP only covers the first 137 acres of the 855 acre Baby Brown timber sale and therefore the FLUP process is inappropriately occurring in phases instead of completing a FLUP for the entire sale.
The Department of Natural Resources agrees with LCC’s appeal that the Baby Brown Timber sale was incorrectly put up for bid before a Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP) was completed for the entire timber sale. Prior to the timber sale offering, the Division of Forestry had completed a FLUP for only 137 acres of the 855 acre Baby Brown Timber Sale. DNR has cancelled the contract with Astoria Forest Products, an Oregon-based supplier to the export log market, and has directed the Southeast Area Forester to complete a FLUP for the entire 855 acres.
In addition, Commissioner Andrew Mack’s decision states: “This action doesn’t affect the adopted Final Best Interest Finding (FBIF) nor does it apply to future Baby Brown Timber sales pursuant to the FBIF.”
There will be a public comment period when the draft FLUP for the entire sale is available.
LCC continues to work toward moving logging practices away from clearcutting and toward small-scale selective cutting and value added processing in the Haines State Forest. We successfully advocated for banning the use of pesticides, but were unable to stop overlogging of the Kelsall drainage, resulting in major loss of king salmon habitat in a once productive area.
The Division of Forestry is currently developing the 855 acre Baby Brown Timber Sale, comprised of old-growth spruce and hemlock forest located in the Haines State Forest along the Klehini River, Porcupine to Jarvis Creek area. The volume is estimated at approximately 20 mmbf.
In April 2015, Lynn Canal Conservation, along with Greenpeace, and Cascadia Wildlands appealed the Final Best Interest Finding and Decision for the Baby Brown Timber Sale, issued in March 2015 by the Alaska Division of Forestry on the grounds that a large export sale from Haines State Forest is not in the economic or environmental best interests of the State of Alaska, or the local community. We also held that the the decision inadequately provides for scenic quality.
The appeal was denied.
Haines State Forest
The Haines State Forest was established in landmark legislation on July 1, 1982.
The law's central tenet was to utilize, perpetuate, conserve, and protect the renewable and nonrenewable resources through multiple-use management. The Haines State Forest comprises some 260,000 acres of State managed lands and water including portions of the major river watersheds of the Lower Klehini, Chilkat, Chilkoot, and Ferebee Rivers as well as their tributary water systems with approximately 93,500 of those acres covered by forest.
The HSF Management Plan was up for its 5 year forest management review - here is the Preliminary Best Interest Finding and Decision for Baby Brown, released in 2015.
What could the logged area look like? This 3D map shows the proposed areas for logging
LCC commented on the impact of a timber sale this size, inlcuding the impact on wildlife by cutting an old-growth forest, and the visual impacts to the area that could impact recreation and tourism.