A diversified economy creates the most stability.
That’s as true here as in any place else, and Ketchikan and southern Southeast welcome most business and industry.
While tourism is king in the region at present, the timber industry that had its heyday, too, remains a contributor to the economy.
It’d like to contribute to a greater extent, and it’s holding on for when that time comes. Business and industry, like life, is cyclical.
This month the U.S. Forest Service awarded a $2.6 million timber sale to Ketchikan-based Alcan Timber Inc. The sale covers about 1,500 acres on Kosciusko Island, the largest sale this year to date.
The sale during harvest and road building will secure up to about 30 jobs in the industry for a couple years, according to the Alaska Forest Association. That’s all good.
The harvested trees will be shipped to China, where demand for the type of lumber possible from young-growth trees is increasing. The oldest of young-growth trees are about 60 years, and they have a lower value than old growth of 100-plus years.
It is less expensive at present to ship the trees to China than to barge them to mills in the Pacific Northwest. The highly mechanized Northwest mills currently have created more supply than is in demand, AFA says.
Alaska isn’t equipped to make product from the young-growth trees. Those manufacturing jobs will be in China. Not so good.
This sale still effectively contributes to the economy, securing jobs and adding to the bigger picture of a diversified economic base.
It’s diversity that will lead to growth and increased revenue here, and throughout the region and the state. Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources effort to prepare, award, harvest and administer the Kosciusko sale will pay off.
— Ketchikan Daily News,