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Sealaska Corporation announces end to logging operations

January 13, 2021 GMT

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Sealaska Corporation has announced plans to get out of the logging business after more than 40 years.

The Juneau-based Alaska Native corporation announced the change Monday in a sign of Southeast Alaska’s economic transition away from logging, CoastAlaska reported.

The transition is not expected to affect future profits or dividends, but is part of a long-term strategy to generate “sustainable value” for shareholders, the corporation said.

Sealaska CEO Anthony Mallott said in a statement that logging created value for the corporation’s shareholders.

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“But we’ve now built an organization that can thrive well into the future, and that means engaging in activities with more enduring benefits for our communities,” Mallott said.

The corporation was created by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and has about 22,000 shareholders, most living in or holding historic ties to Southeast Alaska.

Sealaska has been a major player in the region’s timber economy with more than 562 square miles (1,456 square kilometers) in its portfolio.

In 2015, the corporation began logging lands received through a transfer approved by Congress of more than 109 square miles (282 square kilometers) of Tongass National Forest, largely around Prince of Wales Island.

Environmentalists opposed to logging in old growth forests welcomed the change.

Meredith Trainor, executive director of the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, lauded Mallott and board Chair Joe Nelson for “visionary leadership of moving Sealaska away from logging and towards other ways of creating benefit for their people.”