I was the Lead Park Ranger in Haines from 1977-1983 and I was in the room when language for the legislation that created the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve and the Haines State Forest was developed. It was an endeavor that brought all interests together to resolve the deadlock over logging in the Chilkat Valley. The key to the agreement was the inclusion of the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Advisory Council. Without the establishment of the council, the federal government, miners, loggers, fishermen, hunters, local, state and regional environmental groups, and Chilkat and Chilkoot people would not have reached agreement on establishing the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve and the Haines State Forest, enabling logging to recommence and loggers and mill workers to go back to work in the Chilkat Valley. It was an awesome accomplishment. After I moved to Juneau as Southeast regional manager for Alaska State Parks I continued to fly to Haines for monthly advisory board meetings. Each member took their role seriously and played a part in ensuring fair, effective, environmentally, socially and culturally responsible management of the preserve.
I never imagined that a governor would try to dismantle something that was a promise, a contract with the people, for how the land would be managed.
My hope is that the Legislature will protect the intent of the original legislation that was built on broad community engagement and trust