The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly considered two separate resolutions to support negotiations on conservation easements to Termination Point and Long Island, respectively, which the Great Land trust is managing. The sale of the Leisnoi-owned land would prevent development such as timber harvest from happening in the two areas.
Bill Roberts, standing in for the borough manager, explained the vote on the resolution about Termination Point is not an agreement to buy the conservation easement.
“This resolution is merely to tell Great Land Trust that, yes, we have interest, and if you go ahead, we will jump into it later and look at it and decide what the easement contains and what kind of responsibilities the borough will have. Right now, all this does is say, yes, go in and negotiate with Leisnoi.”
Assemblyman Aaron Griffin expressed concern about the permanency of the easement and the idea of it being “forever.” He brought up housing issues and the lack of Kodiak land under private ownership.
“We have a lot of land that is locked up and is unable to use. We sit here on the doorsteps of one of the most pristine and permanently protected wildlife refuges in the world and here we are talking about locking up even more land to, in essence, what is another wildlife refuge.”
Griffin also expressed concern about the absence of four assembly members at the meeting and suggested that they postpone the vote. The assembly agreed and decided it would bring the resolution back up again at the next regular meeting. After which, it moved onto the resolution about Long Island.
Assemblyman Dan Rohrer said he would be voting yes on expressing support for those negotiations. He said there are certain benefits to a local government body holding that easement rather than the state, which had already turned down Great Land Trust’s request to do so.
“Frankly, I like a government that… is closest to where people like yourselves can come sit in this room. And if we’re concerned in the future about how, for example, a conservation easement on Long Island would be managed, the nice part is, by the Kodiak Island Borough holding it, you and I can come and stand at that podium and voice our concerns and our expectations in regard to that.”
Rohrer said he’s also pleased that the time frame which the Great Land Trust presented gives the community the opportunity to give input rather than rushing a decision. The motion supporting Long Island negotiations carried 4 to 0. Tune into KMXT on October 15 to hear the assembly’s continued discussion about supporting the conservation easement to Termination Point.