Federal grant helps with Juneau land purchase

Posted: Tuesday, December 03, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- A federal grant will help put 148 acres of private land in Juneau into public hands.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is providing a $553,000 grant that will allow the city to buy land at the head of the Boy Scout Camp Trail near the Herbert River and Eagle Beach.

The nonprofit Southeast Alaska Land Trust, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and other groups helped obtain the funding, which will be used to acquire property from Juneau businessman William ''Shorty'' Tonsgard, said Pat Harris, president of the Southeast Alaska Land Trust's board of directors.

''In the next couple of months we'll be drafting a conservation easement to protect the values people want to see out there,'' she said.

Plans call for the city to match 25 to 30 percent of the federal funding, using a combination of money and gravel to complete the purchase.

Public access to the area was put into limbo when Tonsgard placed a locked gate across Boy Scout Camp Road for a couple of months in fall 2000 as a legal dispute about easements and road repairs in the area stewed. The state and Tonsgard's company, Channel Construction, resolved the dispute in February. Under the terms of the agreement, public access was maintained and the state agreed to make road improvements.

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