A proposed timber harvest contract and a proposed new lease at Port MacKenzie were discussed at a Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly work session this week (April 3), and testimony was taken at a public hearing. The public hearing is continued to April 17. The port lease, alone, may bring in $334,500 annually.
The Chijuk Creek Natural Resource Management Unit is designated as commercial forest land owned by the Mat-Su Borough, southwest of Trapper Creek, between the Kahiltna and Susitna Rivers, 17 miles down Oilwell Road.
See various maps and documents posted here on this proposed timber sale and port lease. Listen to the audio of the work session posted here.
The Borough's most recent timber sale contract for this region with Charles Nash began in 2013. A new contract makes some changes, among them: the area is listed as 15,126 operable acres; the contract is for five years to harvest and remove the timber; at a purchase price of $31.50 per acre. Revenues to the Borough could reach $476,469.
A second contract includes a lease at Port MacKenzie with Denali Timber Management, LLC, for lay-down space to store and ship logs from Port MacKenzie. The lease area is eight acres dockside for five years, with an exclusive franchise to export logs to Pacific Rim countries in Asia. The company plans to export round logs from Port MacKenzie to Shanghai, China, through the company, TPT Forest Products Limited. TPT is based in Tauranga, New Zealand, and is the largest exporter of round logs in the world. TPT is also highly regarded in the industry as the marketing leader in China, Manager John Moosey wrote in his memo attached here.
The annual lease at the Port will generate $334,500 with additional estimated revenue for wharfage fees and dockage fees, which could total up to $960,000 annually.
A condition is included in the contract that allows the Borough to relocate Denali Timber if it requires the use of the Port.
A "checkered" history is how Assembly Member Barbara Doty described the Borough's relationship with Nash. The contract with Nash was terminated in 2002, and the Borough later won a lawsuit in 2008 that was overturned in 2010 at the Alaska Supreme Court. The Borough then entered into a new timber contract in 2013 to settle the lawsuit. That contract expires next weekend (April 15).
Some residents shared concerns about logging trucks operating continuously, five days a week, on the narrow Oilwell Road. Recreation vehicles use the road. Under the proposed contract, the Borough requires Nash to build and maintain at least one 200X400 area parking lot for public use with construction beginning with the timber harvest.
The contract also requires that Nash has sufficient firefighting tools in the area to equip each person engaged in the logging operation.
The public hearing continues on April 17 in the assembly chambers with the meeting beginning at 6 pm at 350 E. Dahlia Ave. in Palmer.
Proposed amendments to the legislation for the timber contract and proposed amendments for the port lease for the next meeting are also attached.
Photos by Stefan Hinman, Mat-Su Public Affairs.