The U.S. Forest Service is providing the public with the opportunity to comment on its draft environmental impact statement for the Tongass National Forest. I urge people to take advantage of this opportunity to provide input; it's our forest and we should help provide input.
Sound off on the important issues at
For myself, I unabashedly favor alternatives one and two over the others. I strongly disagree with what the Forest Service has identified as "Key Issue 2," that our national forest "needs to supply sufficient timber supply to meet the market demand and help maintain a vibrant economy in Southeast Alaska." In the first place, I believe that there is a serious misperception as to the amount of timber needed to meet current and future market demands; it would be a great shame to harm our forest resources in the pursuit of a miscalculated goal.
In the second place, the vibrant economy of Southeast Alaska has changed dramatically over the last 100 years. Logging simply is not the economic boon for us that it once was. Tourism and especially eco-tourism contributes much more to our vibrant economy these days. This element of our economy is undermined if we make logging a priority.
If we have to choose, and I believe we must, between something that is expensive (logging roads and timber subsidies) that also irretrievably uses up resources versus something that costs significantly less money, generates far more revenue for numerous communities, and is sustainable indefinitely, I would hope that the answer is obvious. I know that historically timber was critical to the economy of Southeast Alaska. That simply is not true any more. And it seems apparent that with the passage of time, tourism will only increase and thus should be given more weight in any analysis.
This is the 21st century. I invite the Forest Service to come walk with us (through the old-growth woods) into the future. It's bright, it's beautiful and it's green.