Story last updated at 12/19/2012 - 3:01 pm
Located along the western shore of Prince of Wales Island, approximately three miles north of the community of Naukati, the Dargon Point project proposes to commercially thin and harvest mature (60-70 years old) young-growth spruce and hemlock. In response to earlier feedback from the public during the scoping process, the agency is also evaluating the feasibility of regeneration (clearcut) harvesting part of the project area as a commercial timber sale rather than a commercial thin. The stand under consideration was originally harvested in the 1940s and is old enough to meet legal criteria for clearcut harvest.
In order to better understand public thoughts and concerns about the project, the Forest Service has released the "Dargon Point Commercial Thinning Environmental Assessment" (EA) for a 30-day review and comment period. The comment period began Dec. 10, 2012 and will close on Jan. 9, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.
"The project will be pretty wide-ranging in its impacts, from improving forest health and wildlife habitat to providing sawlogs to mills and job opportunities for local contractors," said Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole. "If approved, the young-growth volume will diversify the current Southeast Alaska timber industry."
The EA evaluates three alternatives: a no-action and two action alternatives that would provide between 1.4 and 2.5 million board feet of young-growth timber.
The Proposed Action, Alternative 2, proposes to thin and harvest about 1.4 MMBF on about 70 acres to improve wildlife habitat. Approximately one mile of road construction is planned. Alternative 3 would permit thinning on the 16 acres of beach fringe in the project area, aimed at improving wildlife habitat. The other 54 acres would be harvested under a commercial timber harvest contract as a clearcut, generating about 2.5MMBF. All alternatives and all associated activities occur outside of any inventoried roadless area.
"If approved, the project may be accomplished through stewardship contracting authority," said Perry Edwards, Acting Thorne Bay District Ranger. "Stewardship contracting helps achieve land management goals while meeting local and rural community needs by providing a continuing source of local income and employment."
Stewardship contracting authority allows the Tongass National Forest to reinvest payments made for the harvested timber into other local projects such as stream restoration, wildlife habitat improvement, pre-commercial thinning of young-growth stands, and other similar projects. The reinvestment of those funds spurs job creation beyond those of the timber project itself.
The comment period for the EA provides the public an opportunity to make their concerns known to the official decision maker for the project, the Thorne Bay District Ranger. Those who provide comments by the close of the comment period will be eligible to appeal the decision. The EA is available online at:
In all correspondence, please include your name, address, and organization name, if a person is commenting as a representative of an organization. Written, faxed, hand-delivered and electronic comments will be accepted as follows:
Written comments can be faxed to (907) 828-3309 or mailed to:
Tongass National Forest
Thorne Bay Ranger District
Attn. Dargon Point Project EA
P.O. Box 19001
Thorne Bay, AK 99919-0001
Hand-delivered comments should be brought to the Thorne Bay Ranger District, 1312 Federal Way, Thorne Bay, AK 99919-0001. The hours for submitting hand-delivered comments are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
Electronic comments must be submitted with the following subject line, "Dargon Point Project," and as part of the actual e-mail message, or as a .doc, .txt, .pdf, or .rtf attachment to:
For more information about the project, please contact Young-Growth Coordinator Ben Case at 907-772-5883 or firstname.lastname@example.org.