Partnership Protects Yakobi Island, AK Open Space

The 155 acres includes abandoned mining claims that will be cleaned-up before the land is donated to the Tongass National Forest.??The partnership between The Nature Conservancy, TPL, and the U.S. Forest Service?protects? diverse habitat for Sitka black-tailed deer, coho salmon, and Southeast Alaska’s unique population of brown bears. The land also provides one of the best routes into the West Chichagof/Yakobi Wilderness Area.? (Nature Conservancy Press Release)

Kent Whitehead, Trust for Public Land, 206 587-2447,

ANCHORAGE – For years, fishermen, hunters, hikers and campers have known that one of the best routes into the West Chichagof/Yakobi Wilderness Area in Southeast Alaska is an area known as Bohemia Basin. Now, thanks to the work of The Trust for Public Land and The Nature Conservancy of Alaska, these lands bordering the wilderness area and the public right of way are permanently protected.

A defunct mining operation sits at the entrance to the Bohemia Basin area, just off Lisianski Strait. Its remaining pier provides a docking point for those traveling onward into the Wilderness Area. Abandoned equipment and other material from the past mining operation has been strewn about the area for well over a decade.

Working with the U.S. Forest Service, the nearby town of Pelican, and the landowner, the Trust and the Conservancy were able to buy patented mining claims (which gave free and clear ownership of the land to the landowner) on 155 acres, which will be donated to the Tongass National Forest. The partnership also includes clean-up of the abandoned mining operations and transfer of the pier’s lease to the town of Pelican. Pelican will maintain the dock as a public access area.

“We are excited about this partnership,” said Kent Whitehead of The Trust for Public Land. “It has allowed us to protect a significant resource, not only for habitat, but also for public recreation and community values.”

“Bohemia Basin is important to the people of Pelican,” said Kathie Wasserman, mayor of the closest community to Bohemia Basin. “It is a safe haven for fishing boats in bad weather and a much needed spot for recreation. And it is important that the land be protected for its conservation value – and not viewed only for its timber or minerals.”

According to Jim Ferguson, Coastal Forests Program Director for The Nature Conservancy, the property’s conservation value is very high. “This purchase helps conserve diverse habitats from tidelands to subalpine forests and meadows important for Sitka black-tailed deer, coho salmon, and Southeast Alaska’s unique population of brown bears.”

The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. A chartered chapter of The Nature Conservancy, an international non-profit, 501(c)3 organization with headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, The Nature Conservancy of Alaska opened its doors in 1988. To date, The Nature Conservancy of Alaska has protected over 70,000 acres of critical habitat in the state by working with partners, both public and private, to ensure the balance between economic needs and ecological values. On the web at

Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land is the only national nonprofit working exclusively to protect land for human enjoyment and well-being. TPL helps conserve land for recreation and spiritual nourishment and to improve the health and quality of life of American communities. For more information, visit us on the web at