Living in Southeast Alaska, the Tongass is my playground. From flying to remote islands, camping on scenic beaches, swimming in alpine lakes, fishing rivers and creeks, and exploring forests in search of wild game, the Tongass provides me with every adventure I have ever dreamt of. Because recreation, sport fishing and hunting are so important to me, it is also important to me that the Tongass continue to be protected under the national Roadless Rule. The Roadless Rule, which was created in 2001, protects national forest areas from the threat of commercial logging, and road building that harm our forest, recreation opportunities, fish habitat and jobs.
Recently, President Donald Trump and Gov. Mike Dunleavy have taken a personal interest in how our forest is managed. They are urging the U.S. Forest Service to give a fully exempt the Tongass from the Roadless Rule, which would overturn years of hard work and compromise our region underwent to create the current forest plan and could negatively affect some 9.5 million acres of the Tongass.
Timber harvesting provides a fraction of Southeast Alaska’s workforce; whereas seafood and tourism provide most. So, I ask the current state and federal administrations: why risk harm to one resource that is providing for Southeast Alaskans, for another that does not provide for us?
As Alaskans, we have a vision for the Tongass that’s based on a healthy forest and strong fisheries. I strongly urge everyone to tell the U.S. Forest Service to not roll back Roadless area protections for habitat that our irreplaceable fish and wildlife populations need to survive.