Here are 10 reasons why:
Outdoor recreation opportunities are endless in the Tongass. Areas within the Tongass National Forest are public lands, and they can be enjoyed by everyone. The forest provides high quality hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, camping, skiing, the list goes on…
2. Salmon, Trout and Steelhead.
Fish need trees. Salmon, trout and steelhead depend on the clean fresh water flowing through river systems. With more roads comes more sediment in watersheds, and with less trees, comes less shade and habitat for rearing.
3. Road Building is Expensive.
With backlogs of roads that already demand repair and maintenance, the industry cannot keep up with the demand of additional new road maintenance. Creating new roads while we cannot pay to fix existing ones does not make sense.
The fishing and tourism industries contribute more than $2 billion annually to Southeast Alaska’s economy. The timber industry is unsustainable and heavily subsidized, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars over the past decade. Industrial logging accounts for less than 1% of Southeast Alaska’s jobs while harming the fishing and tourism industries that account for 26% of all regional jobs.
5. Oil, Gas, and Mineral Development.
Oil, gas, and mineral exploration and development is allowed under the Roadless Rule. The Forest Service has approved every single request for such projects in roadless areas in Alaska.
6. Community Development.
Community development projects such as highway projects, community infrastructure, and energy projects are also allowed under the current Roadless Rule.
The Tongass is a lush, wild, a beautiful place that visitors and locals want to enjoy. Tourists do not travel to see massive clear-cuts where forested areas once stood. Visitors come to Southeast Alaska to see the wild landscapes and wildlife.
8. Wildlife and Bird Habitat.
Wildlife including deer, bear, and birds thrive in high canopy areas. The Tongass provides prime habitat for migratory, breading, and winter habitat. Reducing or damaging fish and wildlife habitat by cutting down trees on an industrial scale eliminates food sources, reduces available shelter from threats and predators, and ultimately diminishes populations. After heavily logged areas reach the closed canopy stem exclusion state, the area becomes essentially a desert to wildlife.
9. Local Support.
A majority of Alaskans support the Roadless Rule, which conserves undeveloped lands in our National Forests. Overwhelmingly, voters support efforts to protect salmon, the salmon industry, and high-value salmon streams in the Tongass such as those included in the Tongass 77. Maintaining the Roadless Rule and preventing industrial clear-cut logging is the best way to do this.
The Tongass’ trees absorb more carbon than any other U.S. Forest, which in turn works to slow climate change and keeps habitat intact.
All photos by Brandon Hill
Clear cut logging the Tongass’ old-growth trees affects fish, wildlife and the landscape on many levels, and that is why the Roadless Rule should stay in place on the Tongass.
In less than 10 days the U.S. Forest Service could release its final decision and fully repeal the Roadless Rule on the Tongass National Forest. Speak up today and tell federal decision makers that you want the Roadless Rule intact on the Tongass.