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Public comments sought on proposed Susitna State Forest

Alaska Dispatch

Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is hoping for public comment on the proposed Susitna State Forest in the Matanuska and Susitna Valleys.

DNR manages over 9.5 million acres of state land in the Matanuska and Susitna Valleys. Of this land, around 2.1 acres are designated for timber management. The Susitna State Forest would be part of the timber management land, comprised of 33 different parcels totaling 763,200 acres. The parcels would be used for “a long-term timber supply” that would be actively managed by the state, according to the DNR’s Public Brief.

The Public Brief cites increased demand for state timber sales and for personal-use fuelwood as reasons to secure the land for future timber harvests.

Kenneth Bullman, Mat-Su area forester with the DNR, says that a lot of the parcels probably won’t be utilized right now, but in the future, will provide timber for local processers. He said that by creating the Susitna State Forest, it ensures that the land parcels will be available for future timber harvest, and not be re-designated for another purpose, such as a residential area, in future years.

In addition to being used for timber, the lands will also be available for recreation, including fishing, hunting, and dog mushing.

A meeting to discuss the proposal will be held Thursday, Dec.13, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Trapper Creek School Gym at 6742 Petersville Road, Trapper Creek. The agenda will include a short presentation, maps and handouts. The DNR encourages the public to ask questions or provide comments during the meeting.

The meeting will also discuss the proposed Tundra Isles Subdivision in Willow and Trapper Creek.

Public comment on the proposal is open until Jan. 31, 2013.

Check out the complete map of the proposed state forest