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Eklutna Native Corporation and Great Land Trust Reach Land Conservation Deal

October 27, 2011|Rhonda McBride

As you drive across the Knik Bridge on the Glenn Highway, look to the east, and you will see some of the land that’s part of a $2 million dollar conservation deal.    

It’s a view that will be there for future generations, under an agreement reached by the Great Land Trust and the Eklutna Native Corporation.

The Trust will buy a conservation easement for 4,800 acres of environmentally sensitive land at the mouth of the Knik and Matanuska Rivers.

The corporation will still own the acreage but will lose the right to develop or subdivide the property.

“This is the Great Land Trust’s largest project,” said Phil Shephard, director of the Trust. “To our knowledge, this is the largest conservation project in the Anchorage area that’s been done by any organization.” 

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The Trust has had its eye on Eklutna’s land for many years, because it sits between two important areas for wildlife – the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge and the Chugach State Park.

“Having a corridor, having that wildlife be able to move back and forth through there is a really nice advantage,” said Shephard. 

The project has a number of partners, including the CIRI Native Corporation, which owns the subsurface rights to the land, as well as Mat-Su Salmon Partnership, US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA Fisheries, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The Eklutna Native Corporation says the agreement protects key habitat for both its shareholders and the community.  The corporation has been making more of its lands available for residential and commercial development.

The deal is expected to be signed in early November.

The land is home to five species of salmon, belugas, moose, swans and other wildlife.

Contact Rhonda McBride at rmcbride@ktuu.com

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