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Admiralty Island is becoming a rare treasure as wild and intact ecosystems become a rarity throughout the world. Lack of an overall plan for Admiralty Island decisions puts many of the island’s values at risk. Of special concern are the island’s brown bears and wilderness characteristics which are especially susceptible to disturbances by human encroachment.

In 1978 Admiralty Island was designated as a National Monument by President Carter under the Antiquities Act. In 1980 most of Admiralty Island was designated by Congress as a National Monument and Wilderness. The island, with the exception of private land and the small Oliver’s Inlet State Park, is managed as part of the Tongass National Forest by the Forest Service.

We believe the only legal and logical way for the Forest Service to allow permitted uses and to construct or repair facilities, within the Monument, is to complete a comprehensive Monument plan. We believe that Congress in the 1980 Alaska National Interest Conservation Act (ANILCA) has set a very high standard of management for the Monument and the Wilderness and that the 1997 Tongass Land Management Plan (TLMP) has confirmed that standard.

Without a comprehensive plan, as is now the case, management decisions are made as a reaction to immediate problems or needs. This uncoordinated approach can result in the individual and isolated decisions collectively shaping the management and future of the Monument. We don’t believe this is an acceptable management strategy, nor do we believe that this is what Congress intended.

We contend that a comprehensive plan would guide both managers and the public in having a common understanding and greater ownership in how decisions are made. Additionally, a plan would give the Forest Service rationale for developing funding and programs that would move the management from a reactive to a proactive management approach.

The greatest benefit from a comprehensive plan would be that those Monument and wilderness values identified by Congress, and that make Admiralty Island unique in the world, would be protected for future generations.

The scientific value of Admiralty Island has continually been understated and we believe underappreciated. Admiralty Island was designated, in concert with Glacier Bay National Park, as a Man and the Biosphere Reserve, an international designation, to help measure the health of the world’s environments. A major reason for designating Admiralty as a National Monument was its scientific value. There are numerous opportunities to capitalize on this scientific component, with long term benefits. This must be a significant element in any plan.