ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Plans to log public land near the Southeast Alaska village of Tenakee Springs have been halted, at least temporarily.
The Forest Service has sided with two conservation organizations that appealed the Indian River timber sale.
The Chichagof Conservation Council and the Sitka Conservation Council said the Forest Service failed to adequately protect brown bears or consider how logging might hurt Tenakee's burgeoning tourism and recreation businesses.
The groups also said new logging roads might wreck scientifically-valuable limestone formations in the area.
The organizations also said the Forest Service should have considered offering a smaller timber sale designed for methods other than clearcutting.
Deputy Regional Forester Jim Caplan decided this week that the federal agency failed to take into account those factors and must re-examine the project.
''We're quite pleased that the Forest Service is finally listening to us,'' said Tenakee resident John Wisenbaugh, head of the Chichagof Conservation Council.
The Alaska Forest Association's Jack Phelps said logging has been cut back so drastically by the Forest Service that any reduction is a ''real problem'' for the industry.
''We really need the full amount each year if we're going to keep our mills running,'' Phelps said.
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