April 18, 2018

Mr. Patrick Kelly, Facilities and Land Management
University of Alaska, System Office
1815 Bragaw Street, Suite 101Anchorage, AK 99508-3438

Dear Mr. Kelly:

The Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc. (RDC) is writing in support of the proposed 10-year timber plan near Haines. 

RDC is a statewide non-profit business association comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s oil and gas, mining, forest products, fisheries and tourism industries.  RDC’s membership also includes Alaska Native corporations, local communities, organized labor and industry-support firms.  RDC’s purpose is to encourage a strong, diversified private sector in Alaska and expand the state’s economic base through the responsible development of our natural resources.

RDC is pleased the plan is designed to harvest timber in a sustainable manner and in accordance with all applicable laws, order, and regulations of federal, state and local authorities. Moreover, it has been advanced by a private-public partnership of the State of Alaska, the Mental Health Trust Land Office, the U.S. Forest Service, the University of Alaska, and private lands. 

The sale of 150 million board feet of timber over 10 years would come from multiple sites within the Haines Borough, including University of Alaska land. Congress provided Land Grant Trust lands to the University for the intended purpose of monetizing income to help support higher education and scholarship programs. With the State of Alaska facing budget deficits and the University incurring more than $60 million in budget cuts in the past four years, the proposed timber sale is critically important to higher education in Alaska and the local community. It is estimated that the Haines timber harvest program will inject over $90 million in private capital investment into the local area. The project will expand local infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and docks for the long-term benefit of the community and other industries. It will also create new jobs.

The proposed timber plan would help diversify the economy at a time when Alaska is still mired in a multi-year recession. It makes good on legislative intent for the University to utilize and monetize its Trust resources. It’s clearly in the best interests of the State and the local community. Please move forward with this most reasonable and sensible plan advanced by a diverse public-private partnership.

Sincerely,
Resource Development Council