Cube Cove land will become part of Kootznoowoo Wilderness
KETCHIKAN, Alaska—September 21, 2016. The recent Forest Service acquisition of land in Cube Cove will return 4,463.45 acres to the Kooznoowoo Wilderness on Admiralty Island National Monument. It is the first purchase in a phased acquisition that will eventually return over 22,000 acres of land back to Wilderness within the Monument.
An agreement between the Forest Service and Shee Atika’ Corporation established a procedure making it possible for the Forest Service to buy the property in segments, using funds from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This first purchase represents approximately 20 percent of the total acreage.
“I am proud of all the staff who worked deliberatively with Shee' Atika to return this amazing landscape back to the public trust,” said Earl Stewart, Supervisor Tongass National Forest.
Admiralty Island National Monument is located within the Tongass National Forest, the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world. Cube Cove is an inholding within the boundaries of Admiralty National Monument owned by Shee Atika’ Corporation, which received the property in the early 1980s as part of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. The federal government has long been interested in acquiring the inholding.
“We look forward to engaging with the public and our partners to bring this land back into the national monument wilderness,” said Chad Van Ormer, Admiralty Island District Ranger. “Our next step will be to start a formal assessment of the resources that will eventually lead to the minimum actions necessary to reestablish wilderness character for future generations.”
The land is about 25 miles north of the Alaska Native village of Angoon and about 30 miles south of Juneau, Alaska. With the exception of shoreline, the inholding was completely surrounded by the National Monument.
Extensive logging took place on the property from 1984 to 2002. Now, with its logging infrastructure removed, the land will be allowed to return to a more natural state over time. Purchase of Wilderness inholdings is a high priority for the Tongass National Forest, as indicated in its Land and Resource Management Plan.
The Forest Service purchased the surface estate from Shee Atika’ Corporation. The subsurface estate is owned by the Sealaska Corporation.