Point of View: State, feds should open up land for farming

You can’t handle the truth.

Smokey Bear and the U.S. Forest Service announced on the radio recently that 2,000 square miles of forests are burnt in Alaska each year. There are 649 acres — that’s equivalent to four 160-acre homesteads in every square mile. In other words, our government let the equivalent of 8,000 160-acre homesteads burn up each year. If all that land were in private hands Alaskans could feed themselves without importing food from other states.

If the U.S. Forest Service, Alaska State Parks and Alaska Division of Lands would allow the construction of roads and put in fire breaks we wouldn’t be burning up 2,000 square miles of forest each year and spending millions of dollars putting out fires. I bet the cost of putting out the fires far exceeds the cost of putting in a few fire breaks. You see the dry smoke causes more lightning, thus starting more fires so it’s a self-perpetuating situation.

The Swanson River fire burned up over 150 square miles of forest. That’s 150 sections of land — over 140,000 acres equivalent to 600 160-acre homesteads. Government bureaucrats won’t allow the citizens who are the real owners of forest resources to harvest some of the trees for lumber, house logs and firewood because they are so afraid someone might profit by it and have independent lifestyles — not dependent of government handouts. Government workers chained to a desk hate people who are free and not dependent on government. They want us groveling at the feet of the king begging for food and firewood to survive in the winter.

I feel it necessary to change the direction we are heading and get land into private hands so that we can be a real, self-supporting state. We are almost 100% dependent on other states for practically everything including building materials. We can’t let state government rip off resources forever, because eventually they will be gone and everything will collapse like the old Soviet Union.

The gold rush of the 1910 and Kennecott Copper took tons of gold and copper out of Alaska long before statehood. The state government sold over a trillion dollars worth of oil and other resources and filed to build roads and railroads to open up the land so that ordinary citizens could benefit.

Now the soils are poisoned with pesticide and depleted of minerals from using chemical fertilizer. Growing the same crops over and over on the same soil to make bio-fuel and cooking oil also has also ruined millions of acres of farm land. We need to cultivate virgin soil in Alaska and fertilize with fish waste. We don’t need to compete with Russia or China.

This isn’t a contest to see who can produce more food. It’s a dire situation that needs to be addressed right away. Article 8 of our state constitution says we should have more land. Our government leaders are in violations of their oaths of office to uphold the Alaska Constitution to get more land into private hands to make Alaska less dependent on other states.

We are at that point right now where the best resources are gone and big corporations are reluctant to deal with Alaska’s greedy bureaucracy. Our communist form of government is running out of resources to sell while you sit in silent obeisance to the king.

We are losing our farms in the lower 48-states. We have to become more self-sufficient or face severe consequences.

Hank Kroll was born in Seldovia in 1944 and has worked as a commercial fisherman and salmon tenderer. He is the author of 12 books, including “Make Alaska Great Again.”

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