Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

No bidders for timber sale

University says strong interest remains for logging

 

November 30, 2017



The University of Alaska initiated an “over-the-counter” negotiated sale process for timber on the Chilkat Peninsula after receiving no bids for the controversial logging plan.

Last week the Haines Borough Assembly voted 5-1 to evaluate the borough’s legal options if the University of Alaska awards a timber sale contract.

In a letter to the University the assembly said the proposed 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.”

University Regional Resource Manager Patrick Kelly said the University received “well-founded and sound interest from one company” about the timber and that several other contractors are interested as well.

“The sale is open to whomever. Then it becomes a negotiation,” Kelly said. “This is a standard process the University has been doing since its inception.”

In a letter to Mayor Jan Hill, University Chief Facilities and Lands Officer Christine Klein said “Moving timber to market from Haines is challenging, and contractors are hesitant to lock themselves into a fixed timber price without better understanding those challenges.”

When asked if the borough’s zoning code in the Mud Bay Land Use Service Area dissuaded contractors, Kelly told the CVN “There were a lot of questions.”

In her letter to Hill Klein said “There will be a substantial amount of information shared with you throughout our negotiation process and prior to the finalization of a contract.

When asked what information would be shared, Kelly said “Maybe it’s the questions that come up (in the negotiations). I’m not sure until we get into the formal negotiations. It’s a little bit ambiguous.”

The University’s Board of Regents triggered the timber sale on about 400 acres of land in the Mud Bay Land Use Service Area in September after the Haines Borough Planning Commission discussed limiting resource extraction in the rural residential zone.

Klein told the board at its Sept. 14 meeting that the sale was prompted by borough efforts to place restrictions on the land in the Mud Bay area.

“If we don’t move forward with this we may lose the ability to harvest the timber and in doing so we would also lose our ability to check and verify if there is any mineral potential,” Klein said during the meeting. “That is basically what this is about, to try and preserve the university’s interest in these parcels.”

The University generates revenue for its trust land grant to, in part, fund student scholarships and other educational programs.

 
 

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