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Business picks wrong place when it comes to berries

Posted: Friday, June 17, 2005

It is with great alarm and dismay that I read about the company planning on harvesting vast amounts of wild blueberries on state, federal and Native land in Alaska ("Company seeks wild blueberries," June 1).

Everyone who enjoys picking wild berries in Southcentral Alaska should know that Denali Biotechnologies (funded by a $1.65 million federal grant) intends to harvest at least 150,000 pounds, and eventually at least 1 million pounds of wild blueberries in the Homer, Whittier, Anchor Point and Seward areas this summer, and possibly many other areas, as well.

Having picked wild berries for years, I can assure you that this company's plans will have a tremendously negative impact on this resource, and effectively leave little or no berries for the general public to pick in these areas.

Furthermore, they intend for their pickers to use hand rakes, which if not carefully used often cause these plants to die after two or three years of having most of their leaves stripped in the picking process.

Once again, an Outside business is being allowed to come in and rape our resources at the expense of the Alaska public.

I encourage anyone concerned by this matter to contact the Alaska DNR and tell them our wild berries should remain freely available — and not sold off to private big business.

Alan Kurczynski

Chugiak



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