State finalizes plan for Tanana forest parcel

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) The management plan for a stretch of state forest west of Fairbanks has been completed years after a controversial timber sale proposal brought the area into the spotlight.

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources finalized a plan after meeting with ''stakeholders'' with an interest in the forest.

Based on those meetings, the Division of Forestry recommended a number of changes to the plan. Those changes include recognizing the needs of Old Minto and a recommendation that logging near rivers is followed by measures to encourage reforestation.

Area Natives worried the sale could hurt subsistence fishing and hunting and adversely affect the nearby site of Old Minto.

The parcel, a small portion of the 18-million-acre state forest that stretches from the Canadian border to Manley Hot Springs, was the object of controversy in 1997 when the Division of Forestry planned a timber sale across 225 acres of forest land bordering the Tanana River.

Critics also were concerned that cutting too close to the river would harm habitat, hurt the river's aesthetics and cut into tourism.

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