Because of our unique history and foundation as a Native-owned company, we realize our story is a complex one to tell. We are committed to helping our neighbors understand who we are and how we shape our policies to positively impact Southeast Alaska communities.
The stewardship and sustainable management of Sealaska’s land is guided by Native values, which require us to balance cultural, economic, environmental and social needs.
Myth: Sealaska clear cuts all its lands and has clear cut hundreds of thousands of acres.
Fact: The practice of clear cutting, or removing all the trees from a given area, is practiced by Sealaska on a portion of its lands. This practice offers favorable economic returns while encouraging natural regeneration of a healthy young forest.
Our land is an extremely small part of the Tongass Region—only a tiny percentage of the entire Southeast Region, our traditional homeland. We have clear-cut about 40 percent of our land, or less than 1/2 of 1% of the Tongass Region.
Sealaska’s total ANCSA land ownership is 360,000 acres where we own the surface estate and subsurface estate and an additional 635,164 acres of only subsurface estate beneath village and urban corporation land. This means Sealaska owns only 1.5% of the 23 million acre Tongass Region and the village and urban corporations own another 1.3%.
Myth: Sealaska is responsible for cutting down most of the old growth forestland in Southeast Alaska.
Fact: More than 75% of the old growth in Southeast Alaska has not been harvested and is permanently off limits to any development; this includes some 5 million acres on the Tongass National Forest alone, and there are more acres on non-Tongass National Forest lands here in Southeast that are protected in Bald Eagle nest tree zones, anadromous fish stream buffers and other environmentally sensitive areas.
Most of the old growth forest that has been clear cut was managed by the Forest Service. The federal government has clear cut more than five times as much as Sealaska.
Sealaska understands the sacrifice that comes with cutting old growth forest. We also understand that this small fraction of forestland provides the means for us to prosper and survive in the Tongass Forest. Because our core cultural values require us to balance our needs with those of the forest’s, Southeast Alaska is not and will never be without old growth forest!
Myth: Sealaska’s practice of round log export results in fewer jobs and economic development than sending logs to the local sawmill.
Fact: Investigations done by independent third parties show that Sealaska’s round log export produces the same number of jobs on a per million board foot basis as does the local domestic processing sawmills. These round log export jobs are in our shareholder villages, which means they can continue to live in their homes and not have to move to another town where a sawmill happens to be located.
Myth: Public access to Sealaska’s lands is prohibited.
Fact: Sealaska lands are open to the public. However we do need to regulate use of our roads for safety and other reasons; therefore, our signs ask that you call us for information. Please read more about our Land Access policy here
Many of the land selections we sought through the Haa Aaní legislation (aka Sealaska Land Bill), passed by Congress, guarantees public access. This also includes public road easements to ensure the public’s ability to use these lands for recreation and subsistence activities.
Myth: Sealaska is a large publicly traded, for-profit corporation.
Fact: Sealaska is a for-profit Native owned corporation with more than 22,000 shareholders. Under federal law, shares cannot be sold; Sealaska will always remain a Native-owned corporation. Shareholders receive dividends based on Sealaska’s profits and all profits derived from natural resources, such as forestry, are shared with other Alaska Native Regional Corporations.
As a for profit, Sealaska is guided by our Native values, which lead us to value such activities as saving our endangered Indigenous languages; educating our next generation through our successful scholarship program and other important cultural programs.