Timber Regulations Board considers new guidelines for timber harvests near waterways

Posted: Friday, November 17, 2000

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The state Board of Forestry is considering strengthening guidelines and regulations for commercial timber harvests on public and private lands near waterways.

The purpose is to make sure there is enough vegetation growing near the streams and rivers to provide shade for fish and leaves for organisms that feed fish.

The revisions would apply to Region III, the area north of the Alaska Range, which includes the Tanana Valley.

The board wants to bring the changes to the Legislature by the next session so lawmakers may amend the Forest Resources and Practices Act and Regulations.

''That's the goal,'' said board chair Jeff Jahnke, state forester.

Committees that came up with the revisions have been meeting since 1998. The groups included people from the private forestry industry, Native organizations, Department of Fish and Game, Department of Natural Resources, environmentalists, public groups and the fishing industry.

The board agreed to accept the latest group recommendations and try to adopt a final version to take to the Legislature by January 2001.

The board already made changes in regulations for Region I, which includes the coastal areas from southeast Alaska to Prince William Sound. The board will next look at revision regulations for Region II, the area south of the Alaska Range.

The board is looking at changing the definition of commercial harvest from 10,000 board feet to 30,000 board feet in rural areas. This is because villagers depend on wood for heat and cabin building and generally choose timber near rivers.

''We don't want to be tree cops to someone building a cabin out there,'' said Marty Freemen, with DNR.

For a copy of the revisions, contact the state Division of Forestry at 451-2660.

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