After years of negotiations, the 1,259-acre Long Island property, owned by Leisnoi, Inc., is now permanently conserved. Located only 5 air miles from the city of Kodiak, Long Island has something to offer hikers, wildlife watchers, kids’ groups, and history buffs. Residents of Kodiak have worked to conserve Long Island for over 20 years.
Long Island has a complex and unique history. In 1941, it was home to a World War II coastal defense fort; it was decommissioned in 1945 and abandoned in 1947. These historic sites are still present and visible on the island, although many have deteriorated or are covered in moss. The abandoned military roads provide for easy hiking for those looking to explore the island.
Great Land Trust, a non-profit founded by Alaskans for Alaskans with a mission to conserve the lands and waters essential to the quality of life and economic health of our communities, led the effort to conserve Long Island. Great Land Trust works with willing landowners, like Leisnoi, Inc. and other partners, such as the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council and the US Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program, to make projects like this a reality throughout Southcentral Alaska.
Long Island is located within the Audubon Society-recognized Chiniak Bay Important Bird Area (IBA), an area of global importance due to its unique bird habitat. Seabirds within the Chiniak Bay IBA are threatened by habitat fragmentation as well as nutrient and water pollution; this project helps to protect against these risks. Visitors to the newly-conserved Long Island will have a chance to see many species of seabirds, such as cormorants and Kittlitz’s Murrelets, as well as sea otters and harbor seals.
“I was very fortunate to visit Long Island in 2017,” said Mark Dalton, GLT Board Chair. “Great Land Trust is honored to conserve this property and provide public access to a valuable place of natural and cultural history.”
As part of this conservation project, Leisnoi granted public access to most of the island, while permanently protecting important habitat and ensuring that the property will never be logged or subdivided.
Jana Turvey, CEO of Leisnoi, Inc., grew up on Kodiak Island and knows the island well. She says, “After years of work, Leisnoi is excited to see this project come to fruition. This incredible gift to the community of Kodiak will provide access to an amazing piece of Leisnoi land that residents can now enjoy in perpetuity. Leisnoi could not be happier with Long Island being protected and preserved in its pristine state.”
The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly will manage the land as a borough park. Leisnoi, Inc. was paid the full value of the land, benefiting its shareholders and the community. Turvey stated, “It is rewarding knowing that the land will be preserved forever. This project is truly a win-win.”
Great Land Trust is a non-profit founded by Alaskans for Alaskans whose mission is to conserve lands and waters essential to the quality of life and economic health of our communities. For more information visit our website at www.greatlandtrust.org.