The host and crew of Trout Unlimited’s “On the Rise” TV show made a soggy, rain-soaked visit to the Juneau, AK area last fall to shoot footage of the natural beauty and excellent fishing opportunities that abound in the Tongass National Forest. “On the Rise” is kicking off a new season of shows, and the first of what is now two half-hour episodes focusing on the Tongass is airing this week at 2:30am (AK time) Thursday March 29, 12:30pm Friday March 30, and 10am Saturday March 31 on the Sportsman Channel (go to www.thesportsmanchannel.com for details on providers). Below is a trailer from this episode. Part 2 of “Jed’s Alaskan Adventure” should be airing in the 2nd half of April, so stay tuned!
Photographer Amy Gulick will install a permanent version of her exhibit Salmon in the Trees in Wrangell, Alaska, in May. Salmon in the Trees tells the remarkable story of the Tongass rain forest of Southeast Alaska. Fringing the coastal panhandle of Alaska and covering thousands of islands in the Alexander Archipelago, the Tongass is one of the rarest ecosystems on Earth and a top producer of five species of Pacific salmon. It faces threats from timber and mineral development, climate change, proposed hydro projects and other attempts to privatize parts of this 17-million-acre national forest. TU is working to protect the highest-value salmon watersheds in the Tongass through its Tongass 77 campaign.After the traveling Salmon in the Trees exhibit made a stop in Wrangell during the summer of 2011, the town asked Amy to install a permanent exhibit in Wrangell’s Nolan Center. Wrangell is a popular stop for tour boats in Southeast Alaska.
Amy Gulick is a professional photographer and writer whose work has appeared in Outdoor Photographer, Audubon, Nature’s Best Photography, National Wildlife, Sierra, National Parks, and other publications. Visit her web site.
Salmon anglers and U.S. taxpayers, take notice. It’s time to tell the U.S. Forest Service to stop misspending your money in one of America’s Best Wild Place, the Tongass National Forest of Southeast Alaska.That’s the message from a group of Alaska commercial and sport fishermen, as well as tour operators, to Congress and top Forest Service leadership this week in a D.C. lobby trip organized by Trout Unlimited and Sitka Conservation Society.
Here’s the thing: every year, the Forest Service, which manages the 17-million-acre Tongass National Forest, spends $25 million or so on logging and road building, an industry that puts about 200 people to work. At the same time, the Forest Service invests only about $1.5 million on restoring salmon-producing watersheds in the Tongass that were damaged by clear-cut logging in past years. At the current rate of investment, it’ll take the Forest Service 50 years to fix the problems past logging has created in the Tongass. Does that make any sense? We don’t think so.
Salmon and trout are a billion dollar industry in Southeast Alaska. They’re a cultural icon that employ about 7,300 people or about 10 percent of the population and form the economic backbone of this isolated but fish-rich stretch of country. The Forest Service ought to recognize this and back it up with money. It’s time for this federal agency to put move more of its timber dollars into salmon and trout.
Jev Shelton, a Juneau-based gillnetter and fish policy guru who has been fishing the waters of Southeast Alaska for five decades, is among those in D.C. this week asking the Forest Service to change its approach in the Tongass. Here’s some of what Jev told Trout Unlimited in a pre-trip interview:
“It bothers me greatly that the U.S. Forest Service has publicized as a priority the continued restoration of salmon habitats that were seriously degraded during the prior high volume logging policies but has failed utterly to take meaningful action to implement that priority. The Forest Service has not altered its budget in any manner that would make that priority meaningful while many very productive watersheds suffer from stream damage that will not restore naturally and from road culvert interruptions that require direct remediation. I am going in order to express that frustration and to press for the necessary budgetary changes.”
Sheila Peterson, also a Juneau-based gillnetter, is co-owner of Taku River Reds, a direct marketing seafood company owned and operated by her family and a couple of close friends. Peterson’s business depends upon having healthy watersheds in the Tongass so that salmon can continue to thrive.
“Southeast Alaska’s pristine watersheds are the envy of many and the home to our returning salmon. The health of our wild stock is paramount to the sustainability of our wild salmon runs. We have watersheds in the Tongass that have been disturbed by past logging and need to be restored. Restoration of an impacted watershed can improve salmon productivity and help sustain our salmon runs for generations to come.”
- Sheila Peterson
If you’re someone who cares about salmon – whether it’s catching and releasing them, or savoring them on your plate, Trout Unlimited encourages you to contact Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell (firstname.lastname@example.org) and USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Harris Sherman (email@example.com) and express your support for Tongass salmon. Tell them it’s time to back up their commitment to salmon watershed restoration with adequate funding. Also please contact your representatives in Congress.
Read TU’s press release.