My wife and I are writing this letter in regards to the appeal filed on the decision for the Emerald Bay timber sale. We have enjoyed the Tongass National Forest together and with our children for 30 years.
I first came to Alaska and the Tongass National Forest in 1975 with my wife. We went to Meyers Chuck, a small community at the tip of the Cleveland Peninsula. My wife's parents had built a retirement home, and we went there to vacation. That summer we knew the Tongass National Forest was a very special place. After this first trip we wanted to spend as much time as possible in Meyers Chuck. We have lot 16 and 17 in this community and continue to spend our summers there to this day. Our two sons, now 20 and 22, also share the same appreciation and love for this pristine area.
We strongly feel that logging in this area would have a negative impact on the National Forest, such as fish, wildlife and tourism. We know people who travel through this area whether it be on cruise ships, ferries or personal watercraft. Many of these people have voiced their displeasure with the logging that has taken place along the waterways of southeast Alaska. The present old-growth wooded hills are prime visual attractions for visitors to the region. Tourism is very important to Alaska's economy and logged areas have a definite visual impact.
We are from Arlington, Wash., and know very well the negative effects logging can have on fish and wildlife. In 1998, we worked with Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife to remove an access road and culvert on our property. This culvert and road were built many years ago as a skid road for logging. The culvert blocked the salmon from getting any farther, restricting spawning upstream.
In closing, I would like to acknowledge that there have been many individuals and organizations working hard for many years to keep this area in its natural state for present and future generations to enjoy. My wife and I would like to thank everybody that has been working hard to keep these areas in a state that I believe will benefit the most people.
Tom and Jackie Timm