Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority approves land exchange

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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority board has approved a land exchange with the U.S. Forest Service in southeast Alaska.

The Juneau Empire reports the trust will trade 18,000 acres (7,284 hectares) of trust lands for 20,000 acres (8,094 hectares) of federal land.

The trust lands are scattered throughout southeast Alaska.

Land office director Wyn Menefee says it will be the biggest land exchange in the trust's history.

The trust was created to provide leadership in services for trust beneficiaries, including Alaskans with mental illness, developmental disabilities, chronic alcoholism and traumatic brain injuries.

The trust hopes to earn money off its newly acquired lands with timber harvesting and says the acreage could yield $40 million to $60 million over the next 20 years.