The Haines Borough Assembly is scheduling a public meeting to solicit input on how the borough should respond to the University of Alaska’s timber sale notice. The University announced last week it’s entering into a negotiated sale to harvest roughly 100 million board feet of timber over a 10-year period from its 13,426 acres—the bulk of its holdings in the borough.

The announcement comes after a controversial sale the University canceled on the Chilkat Peninsula. The University announced that sale last September after the planning commission discussed changing the definition of resource extraction in the Mud Bay rural residential zone where the University has holdings.

The assembly voted in November to evaluate the borough’s legal options if the University awarded a timber sale contract because “the proposed University timber sale violates all existing provisions for commercial use in the Mud Bay rural residential zone as well as the purpose and intent of that code.”

Assembly member Heather Lende said during Tuesday’s assembly meeting that she’s disappointed the University has taken an “adversarial relationship” with the borough.

“It’s really disappointing and also disillusioning a little bit that the University of Alaska is, it seems, just saying ‘Tit for tat or we’re going to hit you with a stick because we didn’t like your other decision’ instead of coming to us and saying ‘Hey, we need money. You’ve got land here. What can we do to work together?’”

Assembly member Tresham Gregg said the assembly would be “allowing our future to be destroyed if we just allow this to happen without taking some real active steps to influence it.”

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources issued a press release Wednesday afternoon announcing that the Division of Forestry, the University Lands Office and the Mental Health Trust Lands Office will work together to implement the 10-year timber harvest from Haines.

The three state agencies intend to schedule an “open house” in Haines in the next several months “to discuss the preliminary scope of work and will seek creation of a local working group to provide input,” according to the press release.

Assembly member Tom Morphet said he wanted to speak with a representative from the University during the public meeting and was troubled that the University wasn’t providing more information.

University Director of Land Management Christine Klein told the CVN that the buyer interested in the sale is from the same group who expressed interest in the University’s 400-acre parcel located on the Chilkat Peninsula.

“The timber will be for international, Asian and domestic markets,” Klein said.

Klein said the buyer’s identity is confidential since the parties are still in negotiations.

The purchaser will construct roads to some of the parcels. Others are only accessible by boat.

The university must obtain “required approvals from the Haines Borough,” the terms of which will be incorporated into any negotiated sale, according to the University’s disposal and development plan.

The university is accepting public comment on the sale until April 19. Revenue from the timber harvests, in part, fund scholarships for students across the state to attend the University.

The public meeting is scheduled for April 3 from 6 to 8 p.m.