Senate Supports Petersburg Land Grant
JUNEAU – In an effort to promote economic development, the Alaska State Senate unanimously approved a measure today granting Petersburg additional acres of land.
Senate Bill 28, sponsored by Sen. Bert Stedman (R-Sitka), grants the Petersburg Borough approximately 14,666 acres of land. This is an increase of 12,770 acres from its current level and brings the borough’s land entitlement to a similar level as received by other boroughs.
“I appreciate the support from the Alaska Senate for Petersburg,” said Sen. Stedman. “SB 28 gives Petersburg the land it needs for future economic development. I also appreciate the support from Governor Walker and his administration. The bill is the result of months of discussions by myself, my staff, Mayor Jensen and the Department of Natural Resources, which started back in the fall.”
Alaska law encourages the formation of boroughs in a number of ways, including providing a fair amount of state lands for a new borough to develop and become more self-sustainable. Petersburg became a borough in 2013. But due mainly to the large amount of United States Forest Service (USFS) land in the surrounding area, it received only 1,896 acres out of 2 million acres in the borough.
Under SB 28, the Petersburg Borough would select the additional 12,770 acres from seven different areas around the borough. All selections would be made from vacant, unappropriated, and unreserved state lands. Selections of land would not interfere with existing state, University, or Alaska Mental Health Trust lands, including the Southeast State Forest.
SB 28 is now on its way to the Alaska House of Representatives for consideration.