Background: In 2016 Haida Corporation, Hydaburg Cooperative Association, the US Forest Service, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Sealaska, and several other organizations participated in the “Joint Chiefs” initiative that was designed to coordinate watershed improvement projects in the Hydaburg area.
Progress: One of these projects was a grant by NRCS to Haida Corporation for precommercial thinning of harvested areas in the Sulzer Portage area. The first phase of the project was for 291 acres, the grant amount was $97,811, and the work was completed in 2017. Sealaska Corporation managed the thinning contract, and Johnson Brothers of Klawock did the actual work. Additional acres and grant funding for work in 2018 are in the application process; the goal is to precommercially thin all the areas that have been harvested. Precommercial thinning is a process of removing smaller and less productive trees thus allowing the remaining trees to grow faster, which in turn improves the watershed. The optimum age for precommercial thinning is between 15 to 20 years old.
Future site of the Hydaburg Cafe/Laundrette
Background: The Haida Corporation hired Jon Wunrow as a grant-writer and the board agreed that building our infrastructure to meet the needs of Cultural Tourism were both a need and a demand. Jon wrote the first grant in the previous year and fell short five points of an award. He immediately informed the board, revised and polished our application and resubmitted to the Indian Community Development Block Grant Program (ICDBG). The award was made in July of 2017. Haida Corporation has put $40,000.00 into the match for a $599,000.00 benefit.
The ICDBG demonstrated two things. Hiring our grant writer was significant in developing our local economy because we were able to compete at a high level of competition for funding and that with a strategic plan and business plan in place Haida Corporation was demonstrating what planning could achieve. Haida Corporation is aware and planning for the budget issues which the State of Alaska has clearly announced, and planned ahead to create jobs, future income and infrastructure needed for our cultural tourism goals.
Progress: The land site for the project is on Haida land and was recently reviewed for clearance. The next steps will be to hire a competent contractor to work with our Project Manager Jon Wunrow to set down the timelines and goals for completing the Washeteria Cafe within the next year. Jon Wunrow reports monthly to our board on all his current projects including this building.
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Culture Camp Images courtesy Bethany Goodrich / Sustainable Southeast Partnership