FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Fort Yukon village corporation will receive a parcel of unused military property because Rep. Don Young didn't want a federal agency to take possession of it.
Young, whose Alaska home is in Fort Yukon, said Wednesday that he put language in a federal spending bill last year to direct the land in the center of town to Gwitchyaa Zhee Corp.
If he hadn't, the land could have reverted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge surrounding the village.
The Fish and Wildlife Service already has enough land, Young said. And the village needs the land for a new power plant, he said.
Young said he was afraid that the agency would seek to strike a land exchange deal with the Native corporation. He envisioned the agency offering Gwitchyaa Zhee the land in exchange for other lands the corporation owns within the refuge.
The Air Force has used the bulk of the land for a radar station for decades. However, officials do not believe the military needs the entire 188-acre parcel.
Young's language says any land ''no longer needed by the Air Force'' must go to the Gwitchyaa Zhee corporation ''following site restoration and survey.''
The military has not yet concluded how much of the property should go to Gwitchyaa Zhee, according to 1st Lt. Johnny Rea, spokesman for the 11th Air Force at Elmendorf Air Force Base near Anchorage.
Young said Dave Allen, the agency's regional director, agreed with his plan after reviewing it.
Karen Boylan, Fish and Wildlife spokesman for Alaska, confirmed that Young's solution had Allen's support. She said she was not aware of any plans for a land trade that might have developed before Allen saw Young's plan.
The Air Force also has two other, smaller chunks left from a defunct and dismantled White Alice communications site in Fort Yukon. Those parcels, amounting to about nine acres, will go to Gwitchyaa Zhee, Rea said.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.