Land and Resources Updates and 2020 Outlook

Published January 2020

The Ahtna, Inc. Land and Resources Department will continue working on fuel breaks and forest practices across the Ahtna region. Currently, the first two phases of a three-phase project to complete a fuel break around the Native Village of Gakona are complete. The final phase of the project will be completed during the winter of 2020. The Chistochina fuel break will require a road upgrade to access the proposed work areas. The Land Department is looking at the summer of 2020 to complete the road upgrade, and work on the fuel break itself will begin in the fall of 2020. An access road is currently being constructed in Gulkana and will be completed during the summer of 2020. The road will be primarily used to access lands in need of fuel thinning but will also provide shareholders a route to traditional fish camps and improved fishing opportunities on the Copper River.

The Land and Resources Department will continue its trail program to allow shareholders better access for hunting east of the Copper River. Brush crews completed an additional 11 miles of the Klawasi Trail from directly across the river from Copper Center to south of the mud volcanos. In 2020, a cabin will be constructed at the end of the existing trail and crews will continue construction towards the Wilson Cabin, located at the foot of Mt. Drum. Additionally, a cabin will be constructed at Ewan Lake to improve hunting, fishing and recreational opportunities for shareholders.

2020 will mark the third year of the Land and Resources Department’s collaboration with AITRC on the Carnivore Stewardship Project. The project area was located near Mentasta for the 2019 season and results of data analysis are still pending delivery from a DNA testing facility. The scope and location will change in 2020, with the study area moving to the Sourdough area along the Gulkana River and additional trap sites to increase data collected for more accurate results.

The Land and Resources Department launched an app in 2019 designed to provide users with the ability to check land ownership while hunting, fishing or recreating in the Ahtna region. Major Landowners are identified by name and unique color. The user can select a variety of base maps including topographic and aerial imagery to aid in navigation and identification of landmarks. Major roads and landmarks are also included to aid the user.

Ahtna Land and Resources staff continued to improve on gardening techniques for shareholders and wildlife alike. The high tunnel produced over 370 pounds of vegetables for the 2019 growing season which were donated to the Copper River Native Association (CRNA) for the daily Elder lunch. Staff also began a planting program that includes willows, berries and high-nutrient grasses and forbs at the regional moose habitat improvement sites to increase nutritional options and attract additional moose for harvest opportunity.