Mat-Su timber project on hold; China flap is blamed
A promising project to harvest mainly damaged timber in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough is on hold because of the U.S.-China trade spat, officials with the timber company have told the borough. The problem is the tariff that China would impose on timber imported from Alaska, which is a response to tariffs on Chinese imports ordered by President Donald Trump. Borough officials had hoped the project would bring in about $900,000 a year in fees to use the borough’s Port MacKenzie, which would essentially allow the port to break even. Denali Timber Management is the company proposing the project. The venture would harvest beetle-damaged timber in the Trapper Creek area in northern parts of the Mat-Su.
The spruce bark beetle infestation has covered about 558,000 acres of forest land this year mostly in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, foresters in the U.S. Forest Service and Alaska Division of Forestry said. About 52,000 acres in the Kenai Peninsula have also been infected. Since 2015 over 1 million acres of Alaska forest land have been hit by the beetles.