by Phillip Manning ~ March 20th, 2014
This week, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly approved a resolution supporting an amended plan for the proposed Susitna State Forest. The Assembly voted 6-to-1 in favor, with only Assembly Member Darcie Salmon opposing.
Chris Maisch went over some of the changes in the forest plan, which the Assembly voted down on two previous occasions. The biggest alteration comes in the removal of more than 75,000 acres of land east of the Parks Highway from the plan. The new total size of the forest comes in just under 700,000 acres.
If approved by the state legislature, Susitna State Forest would be used to accommodate logging and timber industry, as well as facilitate the building of access roads. It would restrict what development is allowed on the land outside of use for timber. Chris Maisch says the current bill, House Bill 79, is the result of three years of meetings with communities.
House Bill 79 is still in the Resources Committee, and could receive a hearing soon.