The Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership strives to support cooperative fish habitat conservation and management in Southeast Alaska. In the past, most fish habitat conservation and restoration efforts in the region have been conducted unilaterally by large government organizations such as the U.S. Forest Service or through small collaborative efforts with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working with agency partners. The Partnership brings people together to do more good work for the region’s fisheries.
Trout Unlimited is a proud supporter of the Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership, and the critical role they play in bringing together local communities, governments, tribes, landowners, businesses, and non-profits throughout the region to help fish habitat.
Debbie has played a key role in forming the partnership and facilitating some really fantastic programs under Debbie’s five years of leadership. SEAKFHP has successfully organized and helped fund projects throughout Southeast Alaska, organized film festivals, meetings, and highlighted aquatic conservation stories.
by Austin Williams, Trout Unlimited Alaska's Director of Law and Policy
My introduction to the Tongass was as a Forest Service employee on Prince of Wales Island—where industrial logging’s heyday was its most intense and most severe. I’ve slogged through more than my fair share of clear cuts—where logging stretched onto such steep slopes it caused landslides that caved into and smothered salmon spawning streams, where roads were constructed and maintained so haphazardly they diverted entire streams out of their natural channel, and where once-cut landscapes grew back with stunted trees so dense the forest was entirely uninhabitable for wildlife like deer. One memorable logging road I surveyed was so derelict it failed to have a single functioning culvert despite crossing numerous salmon streams.
More than 96% of public comments on this proposed decision favored keeping the roadless rule in place. See Page 2. In some Alaska communities, every single comment submitted to the Forest Service wanted roadless areas protected. Tribes, small business owners, hunters and anglers, subsistence users, scientists, and people from all walks of life spoke up in favor of fish, wildlife, beautiful scenery, and for putting an end to unsustainable clear-cut logging of our best remaining old-growth forest.
Recognizing how unpopular clear-cut logging of old-growth forest has become, some individuals have taken to claiming this decision isn’t about logging at all. Don’t buy what they’re selling.
Video by Rafe Hanson
The Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the United States. Throughout the Tongass, there is one major theme: salmon.
From driving the jobs and industry in Southeast Alaska, to providing recreation opportunities for communities and travelers. The Tongass is America’s Salmon Forest. The watersheds that make up the Tongass are wild and their habitats are extremely valuable for these reasons. In order for them to continue to provide for the people of Alaska and its visitors, we need to conserve them for generations to come.
In collaboration with Sitka-based artist, Rafe Hanson, this video offers a glimpse of the beauty and wildness that is America’s Salmon Forest.
We can all agree that the Tongass National Forest is America's Salmon Forest.
Today, our friends at Sitka Conservation Society released "The Salmon Forest," a beautiful video celebrating one of the few places in the world where wild salmon and trout still thrive.
When you're done watching the video, sign your name to help conserve our Salmon Forest.
Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Team welcomed Kayla Roys to work on our Tongass National Forest and transboundary campaigns. Since you may be hearing from her, we asked Kayla to introduce herself. Join us in welcoming Kayla!
Hey all! My name is Kayla Roys, and I joined the Trout Unlimited team in March of this year. I grew up in a rather fishy family and was lucky enough to spend most of my childhood outdoors experiencing all that the Tongass National Forest has to offer. From flying out to remote lakes, to summiting mountains in my backyard, I am a southeast girl through and through.
Southeast Alaska is made up of beautiful landscapes that draw in new comers. From mountain streams to saltwater flats, the fishing that Southeast provides is dynamic, within 15 minutes from our front doors, and always better than a day spent at home. We will deal with the heavy rain of fall and the abuse of winter for the long days of summer spent enjoying the outdoors.
Growing up in the Tongass, I found that people connect with one another in a different way than that of a big city; we connect outdoors. In the spring, we emerge from our winter hibernation, and flock together, connections forged by going on hiking, biking, camping and fishing trips. The shared passion of what we do for ourselves and connects us to one another and our environment more than our day jobs ever will.
That being said, I learned at a young age how important the lush forests, wild salmon runs, and clean water are to the Southeast Alaska region and its communities. For me, the importance of a healthy forest is through recreation. I spend my summers connecting with my friends and family on the water. From chasing the illusive southeast Alaska unicorn steelhead in small creeks, to bombing casts in the estuaries to king and silver salmon with my dad. The best memories I have are of dodging between log jams, tromping through muskegs, listening to fly line peel off my reel, and the smell of a campfire on my clothing. For others, the importance of a healthy forest is for harvesting seafood for their families, commercial fishing, guiding tourists, or the many other jobs that depend on the Tongass remaining healthy and wild.
This love for salmon and the outdoors is what drives my work for America’s Salmon Forest. Some of the oldest trees and the largest salmon runs in North America come from the Tongass. It is unthinkable to me that massive open-pit mines are under development in the headwaters of Southeast Alaska’s most important salmon rivers. Or that the Tongass could be open to commercial logging, which could impact recreation, hunting, and fishing, and our entire economy. Now is the time to do everything we can to defend our salmon rivers and forests for sustainable jobs for our region, and future generations to enjoy, just the way I have.
I am looking forward to working with you on behalf of the place we all love and many of us call home. Give me a call or send me an email any time with ideas for this work - or just to say hi.