…and so much more.
At the end of 2018, with your help, the Southeast Alaska Land Trust finalized the purchase of over thirty-two acres of high-quality wetlands in the heart of downtown Juneau. This protection effort is part of a broader project to protect accretion lands and preserve a natural buffer around the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge (Refuge). The Honsinger Wetlands property is located in a strategic and vulnerable area, between the Egan Expressway, the Juneau International Airport, and a large industrial lot currently under development.
The Mendenhall Wetlands are a central feature in the magnificent landscape of Juneau. These wetlands are the second largest tidal marsh in Southeast Alaska, and are globally recognized as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. They provide food and shelter for fish, birds, and wildlife, while preserving Juneau’s iconic view looking down Gastineau Channel to the Juneau-Douglas Bridge. The Mendenhall Wetlands are also a favorite playground for residents and visitors, who are drawn to this wide, open space to walk their dogs, birdwatch, fish, hunt, and take in the views.
Unfortunately, a large portion of the Mendenhall Wetlands has been lost to development over the years. What were once wetlands now hosts the Juneau International Airport, parts of the Egan Expressway, shopping malls, residences, a sewage treatment facility, and the list goes on. Over 40% of the wetlands have been filled, paved, and developed to provide these services, making our remaining wetlands even more valuable.
The purchase of the Honsinger Wetlands expands the area already protected by the Refuge, and ensures that the land will remain forever undeveloped. The Southeast Alaska Land Trust will manage the property as wildlife habitat and for public recreation, and is planning to work with the Alaska State Legislature to officially add these lands to the Refuge.
It takes a dedicated community to make the vision of protected healthy lands and waters a reality. Whether you hike, birdwatch, hunt, fish, or enjoy a leisurely walk with your family, the Southeast Alaska Land Trust is here to protect what you love.
You made this project possible. Thank you!
*This article was originally published in the 2019 Spring Newsletter. To read the entire newsletter, please go to this link.