I am writing in response to the interview with Leisnoi’s top officials. I returned to Kodiak last summer to salmon seine after a three-year hiatus. I was devastated to see the clear-cut logging taking place. Chiniak still has a chance to avoid the resource degradation that has permanently marred the Pacific Northwest. Salmon streams here are pitiful compared to what they were, and the once-forested hillsides are like mown lawns. Just because clear-cutting is a “widely accepted” method does not mean it is a good one. There is no going back.
The effects of clear-cutting are more far-reaching on community, economy and ecology than Leisnoi admits. This is a step towards irreversible wildlife habitat loss, including salmon. Obviously Leisnoi has the right to use their land as they like, and I agree that their allowance of the community on private land is generous compared to Lower 48 standards. But perhaps that power can be used in a more sustainable way, like leaving habitat intact for hunting and fishing. That kind of harvest will long outlive logging if allowed to thrive.
I stand with those in Kodiak who are asking for a more long-term view of the land, a view that includes future generations of people and wildlife. I am dismayed to see my birthplace on the same path as the Pacific Northwest. I hope that more Leisnoi shareholders will speak up, as JoAnne Holmes did, and that Leisnoi officials, shareholders and the local community can have a productive conversation leading to land practices that prove Alaska can do better than the Lower 48.