Published January 2017
Ahtna President Michelle Anderson shared the Ahtna story with more than a thousand Alaskans who attended the Resource Development Council’s (RDC) annual meeting November 17 in Anchorage.
Michelle split the keynote duties with Doyon’s Aaron Schutt, speaking about “Facing the Future with Confidence.”
Like RDC, Ahtna believes it can grow the corporation through the responsible resource development of its holdings in oil and gas, mining, timber, tourism and fisheries. “We’re open for business, and we’re looking for strategic partners to grow our businesses,” she said.
As the trans-Alaska pipeline traverses 55 miles of Ahtna land, the corporation’s relationship with Alaska’s economic backbone dates back 40 years. Ahtna has the highest percentage of Native hire of any Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. contractor – and Michelle’s family lived near Pump Station 11. “How many kids grew up with a pipeline in your back yard?” she asked.
The Ahtna region has some of the largest and best sources of hard rock for minerals – and it’s completely accessible by road and rail.
It also contains some 500,000 acres of commercial forest land and enough wood to heat the region for 100 years on a sustainable basis.
Michelle said the corporation is looking at tourism opportunities as it analyzes how best to use its 600,000 acres in Wrangell-St. Elias and its smaller holdings at Denali. “Our villages are gateways into the national park system and we’re trying to become a destination.”
“I’ve coined a new motto,” she said. “The Ahtna region is halfway to everywhere in Alaska and a strategic location for future growth.”