FIT FOR DUTY – Thirty-seven recruits graduating from the Alaska Department of Public Safety Training Academy's Law Enforcement Training Session 1802 take the oath of office this afternoon at the Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi. The audience was told that during the rigorous 16-week session recruits lost a combined 200 pounds of body fat. The graduates will be taking law enforcement positions around the state from the North Slope Borough Police Department to statewide Alaska Wildlife Troopers to the Ketchikan Police Department. Speaker at the ceremony was DPS Deputy Commissioner William Comer, who graduated from the academy in 1985. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

F.S. Proposes Logging Old-Growth in Tongass

JUNEAU (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service has proposed cutting down a huge swath of old growth timber in southeast Alaska.
    The agency published its draft decision Friday on logging as much as 225 million board feet (53,000 cubic meters) in Tongass National Forest on Prince of Wales Island, opening up a 45-day period for people to raise objections, KTOO Public Media in Juneau reported Thursday.
    While the project seems large, the harvests will be gradual, said Delilah Brigham, a Forest Service project manager.
    “We’re looking at metering out timber harvest over 15 years,” Brigham said. “So yes, the project does offer a larger amount of old growth, but it’s not going to be harvested all right now within one year.”
    The Forest Service said the project aims to improve forest ecosystem health as well as boost the local economy.
    “We had a variety of comments from different sized mills across the project area saying that their businesses rely on a steady supply of timber,” Brigham said.
    Critics say the plan is a reversal of the agency’s 2016 decision to phase out old growth logging and that commercial logging can damage fish and wildlife habitat.
    “There’s no evidence that anything would be milled locally,” said Pat Lavin of the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife. “At least that hasn’t been the trend and isn’t what one would expect out of this sale either. Most of the product is exported, unfortunately, and that would probably continue.”

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