What others say: The right direction

Alaska’s history shows it can overcome big challenges.

That’s just what maintaining a timber industry in the Tongass National Forest has become.

But, Southeast still talks timber, and the U.S. Forest Service’s announcement this week that the Big Thorne timber sale might be ready for bids by season’s end is action in the right direction.

The sale would involve 8,500 acres from Thorne Bay to Lake Luck on Prince of Wales Island.

The challenges to the sale up to this point include appeals, and the possibility of listing the Alexander Archipelago wolf as an endangered species hangs on the horizon. Those are big challenges.

They can be addressed if Alaskans and the Forest Service (the Obama Administration) really want to preserve the region’s small and threatened timber industry.

It comes down to “want to” — whether those with the power to push forward want to.

The Forest Service, like other federal agencies and private enterprise, is being asked to do more with less in the current economy. But, as it prioritizes, it should focus on providing the basis for creating jobs that support families. The timber industry will do that if given the chance.

It’s all well and good to have recreation, but families will recreate whether the Forest Service provides places for that or not. What Alaskans need is jobs. It’s work first; then play.

The wolf gets that. It takes after food, and when its belly is full, then it plays.

That’s how it survives, and that’s how Alaskans will make a living that sustains a reasonable lifestyle.

Maintaining what remains of the timber industry is a big challenge, but it’s a challenge that can be overcome and lead to better economic times for Southeast and the rest of Alaska.

— Ketchikan Daily News,

May 2

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