Dean Kvasnikoff.

Author:JACKINSKY, MCKIBBEN
 
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Alaska Native Resource Consultants Inc.

Dean Kvasnikoff is well aware of the issues facing forest-minded Alaskans. His company, Alaska Native Resource Consultants Inc., is the middleman between corporations and contractors, ensuring logging efforts are compatible with state and federal regulations and that reforestation occurs at required levels.

In 1989, as an employee for Klukwan Forest Products, Kvasnikoff witnessed the need to have onsite representation, safeguarding Klukwan Forest Products's interests while contractors carried out logging operations. Before he had an opportunity to present a solution, the market dropped and operations shut down.

When things picked up in 1991 Kvasnikoff approached Ninilchik Native Association Inc. with a proposal t protect NNAI's interests and ensure logging operations were carried out properly. Recognizing the value of Kvasnikoff's idea, the NNAI board of directors created position patterned after his proposal. Kvasnikoff's selection for that position marked the creation of his company, Alaska Native Resource Consultants Inc.

From Alaska Native Resource Consultants Inc.'s Ninilchik office, 58-year-old Kvasnikoff has experienced the Kenai Peninsula's devastating spruce bark beetle infestation. He's helped mold logging practices in the area of Alaska where he was born and raised, and is applying his expertise to champion good stewardship of the Peninsula's resources.

ABM: Over the past decade, the Kenai Peninsula's thick stands of spruce have been reduced to skeletal gray silhouettes by the spruce bark beetle infestation. Why couldn't we stop it?

Kvasnikoff: The answer is simple: We knew little about what effect spruce bark beetles would have on conditions such as those presented by the Kenai Peninsula. To make matters worse, this is considered the worst infestation of spruce bark beetles in North America. In the last 10 years, 2 million to 3 million acres of forested land have been impacted. In 1998 the Interior Appropriations Bill called for the USDA Forest Service to establish a task force to prepare an action plan for managing the infestation and rehabilitating infested areas. Eleven representatives from the private sector and six agency advisory panelists were selected to address the situation with some intense on-the-job training. We had to learn what the beetles were doing and then try to get one step ahead of them.

ABM: Task force members represented government, education, tourism, recreation...

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