Kuiu was heavily logged in the 80s and 90s, and now those clear-cuts are covered in dense second-growth forest that provides little utility to fish and wildlife. The importance of the remaining old-growth stands cannot be overstated.
- 2007-2008: The Forest Service completes its environmental analysis and puts Kuiu timber on the market. Nobody buys.
- 2014: The Sealaska Lands Bill gives Sealaska a large chunk of land on Kuiu Island adjacent to the Forest Service’s sale site.
- 2016: The Forest Service re-offers the sale and ups the ante by bending its own rules to allow full export of the timber - meaning whoever buys the timber won’t have to process the timber in-state. Nobody buys.
- 2017: The Forest Service spends more than $3 million of taxpayer money building logging roads on Kuiu Island in attempt to make the timber sale more appealing.
- May 5, 2018: The Forest Service offers the Kuiu sale, again, over objections from local users with no new environmental analysis and no consideration for increased use by outfitters, guides, hunters and anglers.
Currently this timber sale is the focus of a lawsuit over how timber sales are administered and the lack of adequate environmental review.
Because past logging on Kuiu Island targeted the largest, most profitable trees, cutting them down at an unsustainable pace, the Island simply doesn’t have any more old-growth forest to give and timber operators can’t make new timber sales there pencil out. If we’re just talking dollars, the annual $1 billion visitor industry and $1 billion commercial and sport salmon fishing industry, both of which directly rely on high quality wildlife and salmon habitat, are a much better bet. It’s time we give Kuiu a break!