Land Exchange


The Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Exchange Act of 2017 was signed into law by the President of the United States on May 5, 2017. In the fall of 2017, accompanying State legislation was passed (Senate Bill 88). These pieces of legislation were the result of many years of work by the United States Forest Service (USFS), the Trust Land Office (TLO), Southeast Alaska communities and environmental groups.

The purpose of this land exchange is to:

  • Protect lands that have significant natural, scenic, watershed, recreational, wildlife, and other public values near communities in Southeast Alaska;
  • Create jobs and provide economic opportunities for resource use in more remote areas of the State; and
  • To facilitate the goals and objectives of the Alaska Mental Health Trust.

This equal value land exchange transferred 18,494 acres of Federal land to the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (Trust) in Naukati, Hollis, and Shelter Cove (north of Ketchikan). In exchange, the Trust transferred 17,980 acres of land to the United States in Ketchikan, Petersburg, Wrangell, Sitka, Juneau, No Name Bay, and Meyers Chuck. Maps of the parcels can be found in the right-hand column on this page.

The land exchange will help the Trust Land Office increase revenue production from Trust-owned land, which supports vital mental health services for Alaskan beneficiaries. Additionally, the land exchange is providing timber desperately needed to keep the Southeast timber industry viable. The land exchange is a bridge, supporting the timber industry in Southeast Alaska as it transitions from an old-growth to a young-growth industry. Timber operations will directly support local jobs and benefit the economies of POW and Ketchikan.

Informational Documents
Updates will be posted below as they become available.

For more information contact Chandler Long, Trust Resource Manager, at (907) 269-8421 or


The land exchange between the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and the United States Forest Service (USFS) has been pursued since 2005. A few significant accomplishments to be acknowledged are: Tongass Futures Roundtable endorsement of the September 4, 2012 land exchange package; The Trust and USFS executing the June 2015 Agreement to Initiate (ATI) for an administrative land exchange; Senator Murkowski’s introduction of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Exchange Act of 2016; Introduction of the land exchange legislation by Senator Murkowski, Senator Sullivan and Representative Young in January 2017; and the enactment of the legislation May 5, 2017.

The land exchange referenced in the federal legislation involves approximately 18,258 acres of AMHTA land surrounding seven Southeast Alaska communities and offers a solution regarding use of these lands that is favorable to the communities, the State of Alaska, the federal government and the Trust Land Office.  The federal legislation identified 20,580 acres of federal land to be exchanged. In 2012, the federal lands were collaboratively identified by the Tongass Futures Roundtable which is a diverse group of stakeholders working together to achieve a long-term balance of healthy and diverse communities, vibrant economies, responsible use of resources, including timber, while maintaining the natural values and ecological integrity of the forest.

The land exchange is value for value based on appraisal (not based on acreage). The land values were determined by using standard land appraisal procedures. Based on those values, the final parcels exchanged were adjusted to equalize the values. Summaries of the appraisals are in the right-hand column.


The land exchange, as authorized by Congress, directed the USFS and Trust to complete the land exchange in two phases. Phase 1 was completed in January of 2019 and involved the conveyance of 2,517.95 acres of Trust land to the United States near Ketchikan (Parcels K-1 Signal Mountain and K-2 Minerva Mountain) in exchange for 2,422.64 acres of Federal land to the Trust, known as Naukati Phase 1. Phase 2 was split into Phase 2A and Phase 2B in order to more quickly provide fiber to the timber industry. Phase 2A was completed in April of 2020 with conveyance of an additional 1,513.63 acres of Federal land to the Trust in Naukati and an additional 3,200.04 acres (Parcel K-4 on Gravina Island) of Trust land to the United States near Ketchikan. Phase 2B was completed in August 2021 with 12,262.20 acres of Trust land in Ketchikan, Petersburg, Wrangell, Sitka, Juneau, No Name Bay, and Meyers Chuck conveyed to the United States. The United States conveyed 14,555.69 acres of lands in Naukati, Hollis, and Shelter Cove (north of Ketchikan) to the Trust. A parcel-by-parcel acreage breakdown is in the right-hand column.


The complex federal process to exchange lands required pre-exchange clearances, title reports, reviews, boundary-line surveys, appraisal, mitigation activities and approvals relating to threatened and endangered species, cultural and historic resources, minerals, wetlands and floodplains, and hazardous materials. These processes, in part, delayed the final conveyance of the last exchange two years past what was legislatively directed.