Yesterday we released a letter with thousands of signatures of businesses and individuals who support conserving and maintaining access to public lands - especially the Tongass National Forest. These signers are asking our elected officials to continue to keep public lands in the public trust.
So what's the big deal - why Public?
We hear it again, and again, Alaska is different. One of the things that sets us far apart from any other state in the U.S. is our public lands. Of the 424.5 million square miles in Alaska, 224.1 million square miles are in the public trust.
This means that 53% of the land in Alaska is managed for multiple-use purposes. It belongs to all citizens and is managed so that we can all utilize the land - this is the mandate of the public trust. Once public lands are transferred or sold, there is no longer an obligation to manage and conserve the land in a way that prioritizes multiple-use.
Over half of Alaska land belongs to everyone.
Anyone who has spent any time in The Tongass National Forest knows what a treasure our public lands are. Public lands in Alaska support our bountiful commercial, sport and subsistence fisheries, the tourism and recreation industry, outdoor retailers and manufacturers and outfitters and guides, which in turn create thousands of jobs and bring billions to the economy.
But more than that, they support our way of life. If you live here, we bet you hunt, fish, forage, kayak, hike, ski, and adventure on public lands.
We're spending the next month celebrating the Tongass and Alaska's public lands. Join us! We'll be featuring stories and photographs for the next several weeks and we want to hear from you.