Map of Termination Point with one part of trail loop marked in red. Via romancingalaska.com
A couple of groups are trying to make sure that Termination Point will stay protected and the trees there will remain rooted.
Borough manager Bud Cassidy says the village corporation, Leisnoi, currently owns that land, but may sell its development rights to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council with the Great Land Trust acting as a go-between. The Great Land Trust is a nonprofit that identifies property that could benefit from conservation efforts, and Cassidy says representatives will make a presentation at the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly work session Thursday night.
“My understanding is that Leisnoi will keep title of the property. They’ll still own it, but they’ll sell the development rights or even the timber harvesting rights to the property,” he says. “That means the timber will not be cut on Termination Point again. It kinda meets Leisnoi’s need to sell the land, but also to continue to use the land. And then it will meet the need of the EVOS trustee council in trying to provide replacement land for those animals injured in the oil spill.”
Cassidy says the Great Land Trust is approaching the borough because it’s looking for an entity to sponsor the public access easement to Termination.
“Leisnoi because they’re a private entity, is concerned about liability if they open up the land to public use, so boroughs and governments usually have better insurance policies and state laws that protect government from being sued from someone injures themselves hiking just on a weekend or couple of days’ outing, those kinds of things.”
Cassidy says the group did ask the state of Alaska to hold the easement, but low state revenues proved an issue. According to Cassidy, the borough is not an exception to those same budget considerations.
“I think the assembly would want to hear concerns about what kind of liability does that mean to the Kodiak Island Borough if we were to hold that easement, and what kind of financial investment does that mean?” says Cassidy. “We’re probably in no better shape than the state of Alaska as far as having excess cash.”
Cassidy says the Great Land Trust and the trustee council are looking at purchasing the development rights to other sites Leisnoi owns, including Long Island. He says the difference is that Leisnoi will reserve a portion of Long Island inside the lagoon for future development.
The assembly’s work session begins Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Borough Conference room.