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Educational forest designated as fuel source for Su Valley wood boiler

by Lorien Nettleton ~ March 20th, 2013

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly unanimously approved designating a special forestry management area to supply wood for the Su Valley Junior / Senior high school’s wood-fired boiler system at the Assembly’s regular meeting on Tuesday night.

The ordinance designates a  special management zone within the forest land in the Parks Highway and Rabideux Creek natural resource management units for the purpose of a forest education and improvement study area, and to supply wood for the Su-Valley’s cord-wood fired heat system. The ordinance will also ensure healthy forest management practices are followed as prescribed in the natural resources management units plan.

During public testimony on the resolution, Arthur Mannix asked the assembly to embrace both the savings of a locally-sourced fuel, and the educational opportunities associated with designating the land for research.

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Talkeetna Community Council President Cary Birdsall told the assembly that he taught in Talkeetna for fifteen years, and had seen young people drawn away from the valley for jobs elsewhere.

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Arthur Mannix said that some necessary steps still remain to successfully make use of two grants from the Alaska Energy Authority and US Forest Service, but the borough and school district appear to be moving in the same direction on the project. At the close of the hearing and after the unanimous vote from the Assembly, Mayor DeVilbiss said they would proceed with all possible speed to complete the requirements for the grant.

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