Ala. DNR division to seek bids for 25-year timber-sale contract

By Erin Voegele | April 11, 2013

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry has announced a decision to proceed with a 25-year timber sale on state land near Tok, an region approximately 200 miles south-east of Fairbanks. According to a statement released by the Division of Forestry, the decision is the result of a multi-year planning process that drew out of the Tok Community wildfire Protection Plan. The woody biomass could be used to fuel a combined-heat-and-power (CHP) plant or as feedstock for a forest products facility.

The division also announced it will seek competitive bids for a 25-year timber-sale contract. The contract will cover the annual harvest of approximately 700 to 900 acres of trees from the Tanana Valley State Forest. Forest in the area is comprised mainly of white and black spruce.

The Final Best Interest Finding published by the Division of Forestry specifies that areas closest to the community of Tok will be targeted for biomass removal first, an action in line with the hazardous fuels reduction goal. The harvest will then transition to lands outside the community. It will take an estimated five to ten years to establish a defensible space near the community. 

There are several objectives that the plan aims to achieve. The first is to decrease the risk of wildfire. Secondly, the plan will encourage sustainable development of Alaska’s forest resources by helping to contribute to the state’s goal of achieving 50 percent renewable power by 2025. Third, the plan will promote forest health. Finally, it will maintain or improve wildlife habitat.

Information released by the Division of Forestry notes that its next steps will include developing the timber sale contract and putting the timber sale up for competitive bid. Once a contract is awarded, the division will prepare land use plan, which the public will be able to review and comment on prior to adoption.