Letter: Tongass plan 'doomed from the start'

Doomed from the start — that’s the fate of the Tongass Land Management Plan revision recently announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The revision faces controversy and legal challenges because, of the 15 revisers appointed to the Tongass Advisory Committee, not one represents subsistence. Yet, California, Washington and Oregon each have a voting representative. The timber industry, Native corporations and the government have multiple representatives. Apparently, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack does not feel bound by law to include subsistence in this “new chapter in collaborative management on the Tongass,” even though he is responsible for implementing Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, the congressional law dealing with subsistence protection.

Unless at least one voting subsistence member is added to the Tongass Advisory Committee, this management plan revision will be a failure before it even begins. If you care, please comment to the U.S. Forest Service by June 25.

Gretchen Goldstein

Port Protection, Alaska

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