SITKA, Alaska — The U.S. Forest Service and an Alaska-based Native corporation announced the transfer of 12 square miles (31 square kilometers) of land from the Alaska Native corporation to the Admiralty Island National Monument.

The land is part of the 34 square miles (88 square kilometers) Sitka-based Shee Atika Corp. logged between 1984 and 2002 after the Sitka urban corporation selected it as part of its land entitlement under the Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Act.

Under an agreement between the Forest Service and Shee Atika signed in July 2016, the land is being purchased in segments by the government with funds appropriated by Congress under legislation championed by the Alaska Congressional delegation, the Sitka Sentinel (http://bit.ly/2uBaJaM ) reported Wednesday.

The land will be part of the Kootznoowoo Wilderness Area within the million-acre Admiralty Island National Monument.

The government paid $4,930,399 to Shee Atika for the land.

The federal government has long been interested in reacquiring the Shee Atika inholding, the Forest Service said.

With removal of the logging infrastructure, the phased purchase will allow the land to return to a more natural state over time, the parties said in the news release. The purchase was a high priority for land acquisition in the Tongass National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan.


Information from: Daily Sitka (Alaska) Sentinel, http://www.sitkasentinel.com/