The Tongass National Forest sign sits near the Auke Village Recreation Area. (Juneau Empire File)

The Tongass National Forest sign sits near the Auke Village Recreation Area. (Juneau Empire File)

Alaska Natives, Tlingit women to testify before Congress on Roadless Rule

Congressional subcommittee to hear Alaska Native opposition to lifting Roadless Rule

Representatives from some of Southeast Alaska’s Alaska Native communities will testify before Congress this week in an effort to keep the 2001 Roadless Rule in place on the Tongass National Forest.

At 2 p.m. EST (10 a.m. AKST) Wednesday, members of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forest and Public Lands will have an oversight hearing entitled: “Roads to Ruin: Examining the Impacts of Removing National Forest Roadless Protections.”

According to a release from the Alaska Wilderness League, several Tlingit women will testify before the subcommittee, including Adrien Nichol Lee, president of Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp 12, Kari Ames, Alaska Native Voices Cultural Heritage Guide and Kashudoha Wanda Culp, a Tlingit activist and artist. The women are members of Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN), an international climate justice organization.

Joel Jackson, council president of the Organized Village of Kake, and Marina Anderson, vice president of the Organized Village of Kasaan, will testify as well.

Later Wednesday evening, a Congressional Reception will be held where reporters will meet with Alaska Natives concerned about lifting the Roadless Rule.

On Thursday, Nov. 14, the Forest Service will hold a public meeting on the proposal to lift the Roadless Rule on the Tongass at a Holiday Inn in Washington, D.C.

The Forest Service has been holding a series of public meetings throughout Southeast Alaska to inform the public on the various proposed alternatives to the Roadless Rule.

On Oct. 15, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service, announced it would be seeking public comment on six proposed alternatives to the Roadless Rule. The Department’s preferred alternative, Alternative 6, would fully exempt all 9.2 million acres of Tongass National Forest from the rule.

The Forest Service will be accepting public comment on the proposed alternatives until midnight on Dec. 17. Options for submitting public comment can be found at the Department of Agriculture website.


• Contact reporter Peter Segall at 523-2228 or psegall@juneauempire.com.


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