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Your Jan. 6 editorial, "Tongass the healthiest forest in North America," is well-done and accurate.
The Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce has been working hard to keep access to the resources of the Tongass National Forest. The chamber also desires to restore professional, multiple use management on the Tongass that has been seriously damaged by political interference and illegal actions of political appointees the past eight years. Many of our members were pleasantly surprised that your paper has so clearly defined the extent of the economic, social and environmental damage resulting from the eco-extremists' efforts to shut down the forest product, mining and other industries in Southeast Alaska. We are at a turning point and common sense, professional management and local input must be restored on the Tongass if Southeast Alaska is to have any economic revitalization and a promise of a future. Doing this is vital to Ketchikan, Wrangell, Craig and the other forest-dependent communities. Closing these resource development activities is akin to moving the capital from Juneau.
The Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce and many other organizations and people are pleased the Empire realizes and speaks out on the desperate situation we face. We are glad the Empire is supportive of improving the environment and quality of life throughout Southeast Alaska.
Doug Ward, President
Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce