Jim Furnish, a former top U.S. Forest Service official, has a strong message for his former bosses – stop the ecologically-damaging and money-losing practice of old-growth logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest and do it now.
In an editorial published in the Juneau Empire this week, Furnish laid out a compelling case for why Forest Service officials should “make a clean break” with Tongass old-growth logging and do this “as quickly as possible.”
Furnish supervised Oregon’s Siuslaw National Forest during the spotted owl crisis of the 1990s. He decided to stop clear-cutting of Siuslaw old-growth timber and instead shift the focus to second-growth harvest. That decision essentially ended environmental lawsuits or appeals to stop logging and the Siuslaw has been producing a reliable, sustainable timber harvest of 40 million board feet annually ever since.
The same thing should happen on the Tongass, he argues. Among other things, Furnish cites a recent study using the Forest Service’s own data that concludes that a full transition from old-growth to second-growth logging can happen on the Tongass immediately. He’s right.
Read the full text of the column here.
Kids and salmon. Hot dogs and a parade. What could be better? Trout Unlimited Alaska helped put those pieces together on July 4th in partnership with Discovery Southeast, a Juneau-based outdoor education non-profit that connects elementary-age children with nature, including Southeast Alaska’s Tongass rainforest.
TU and other fishery organizations sponsored a float in Juneau’s Fourth of July parade, created by Discovery Southeast, where children navigated an improvised salmon stream made of fabric and “spawned” in the upper reaches of the stream.
“We had adults holding a fabric river. The kids had a great time ‘swimming’ up the river, grabbing the candy, and then ‘spawning’ by running out to the crowd to distribute the goodies. The kids wore salmon costumes, including t-shirts with sponsors’ names on the back and the fish prints on the front,” said Shawn Eisele, executive director of Discovery Southeast.
“The simple message of kids having fun as salmon running up a river was priceless,” said Eisele.
Discovery Southeast runs summer camps and offers classroom instruction and fields trips throughout the year. It’s been connecting kids to nature for the past 25 years.