Alaska News

Sealaska land transfer bill passes Congress

JUNEAU -- Officials with Sealaska Corp. are pleased by passage of federal legislation that will transfer about 70,000 acres within the Tongass National Forest to the Alaska Native corporation.

The provision, included within a defense bill, passed Congress late last week. It represents a compromised worked out by Sen. Lisa Murkowski and is intended to make final the land claims owed to Southeast tribes under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

The land transfer includes more than 68,000 acres available for logging, as well as land for renewable energy and tourism projects and cemetery and historic sites. It also includes about 150,000 acres of old-growth timber in new conservation areas.

Sealaska says its current land base, along with the acreage in the legislation, represents less than two percent of the Tongass.