HSC Meets to Discuss Food, DBAC, Coastal Program, Tourism

HSC met in January 2020. In attendance : Jeromy Grant, Jackie Dick, Arianna Lapke, Dennis Gray, Ian Johnson, Sean Williams, Basia Trout, Stephanie Harold, Ben McLuckie

Landfill Assessment

The old landfill site was closed in 1983 and capped. We are working with the City to get services to assess it

Jeromy reported out that we are working with the City to complete a “DBAC” grant to assess the old landfill site near Eagle Drive. This is a State Department of Environmental Conservation program that helps communities understand if there are contaminants at a site. The goal is to ultimately clean up the site. Planning and Zoning through the City of Hoonah have resolved that the site be reused as a community recreation and playground area. That would require understanding the deep soils hold so that material may be taken from it and get it back to its natural grade. Comments included :

Sean – Are there limitations for land usage? Dennis – all depends on zoning. may need to zone residential.

Stephanie – Supports idea of using it as a recycling site. Jeromy mentioned this helps increase the life of our current landfill site.

Auxillary Scouts

It is HIA Environmental Program’s vision to build the skills of our youth for the future. As part of that Sean Williams has been exploring the Coast Guard Auxillary Scouts program as an option for doing. The program works with youth on maritime safety. This could include commercial boating and maritime operation. Some other positive aspects of the program:

  1. Increasing parent and youth engagement in our community
  2. Development of businesses around ocean resources
  3. This would be the first Aux Scouts program in Alaska

Comments included :

Stephanie – we have a strong coast Guard presence here (life flights, coat delivery) and kids like the coast guard. Sean agreed, they are strong, visual partners.

Jackie – How long have you been talking to them and would this happen this summer? Sean – about 2 months and no, this would be a program beyond this summer

Sean – Would be a good idea to contact the Harbor Board, Andy Savland, Lucas Clark

Food Survey

Jennifer Nu with Sustainable Southeast Partnership is working with Hoonah to complete a “food assessment”. This will give us a snapshot of our current food system. You can view how that looked for Sitka below.


This survey may help us understand the degree of hunger of Hoonah or how we can use the people and resources we have here to make a more resilient food system. Scheduled a food meeting for January 30th at 5PM

From the community

Ben – work with the school. They provide 125 meals/day

Marine Program Update

Sean reported that the marine program is seeking to understand the impact of climate change on our resources. There are many resources that may be impacted by climate change including Clams, Cockles, black seaweed and many more. They have been seeking to do their work using underwater surveys and public input. We’d like to focus on future work that brings in youth and youth programming.

Comments from the community:

Basia – be sure to communicate it well. Don’t be as scientific. Sean agreed and said it would be good to break down the jargon for the community.

Do we have access to NOAA data? Yes, at least the public datasets

Are results of climate change consistent in Alaska? Sean – Acidity in deep oceans is greater. Also, we (Alaska) are way understudied – for instance only NOAA buoy to cover all of Icy Strait. Ben agreed, we don’t know much

Spasski Trail

Ian reported out on the Spasski Trail. The Lynn Canal Regional Advisory Committee chose to fund his proposal to complete the design of structures on the Spasski Trail. Once we have those we’ll be able to go into construction of the trail!

Basia – RAC also funded a vault toilet at the Suntaheen Fish Pass area.

Updates from City

Dennis – City wastewater plant is moving forward. It will double the capacity of the old one. Construction begins in May. This plant will continue Hoonah’s trend of exceeding waste water treatment needs.

Dennis – City got a new backhaul truck that will help us keep up the sewer system. It has a lot of new technology to map the sewer systems and cameras to scope them out.

Dennis – We are working with HIA on a waterflow project to look at how snow impacts our drinking water supply. Concerned about climate change and dry summers on our water supply.

Dennis – We are working on a new solid waste plant.

ISP is going strawless in 2020.


There was discussion around tourism and sustainable tourism.

Stephanie was concerned that we are reaching or have reached the threshold of Hoonah’s capacity, but that growth is forecasted indefinitely. Felt it was better to grow with the community rather than against it to minimize ill-will from community members. Dennis discussed the positive aspects of tourism and that we are in an enviable spot in SE – other communities are struggling while we are thriving. Ian chimed in saying he was also concerned about the forecasts of unlimited growth as there will be a point when customer satisfaction goes down and “out the road” traffic becomes too much.

There will be a tourism best management practices meeting at City Hall, February 18th @ 7PM.

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