Protect Southeast Alaska rain forest

Posted: Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I am writing concerning the Forest Service's update of the Tongass forest plan. Please, let's get it right this time around. I do not support the continued clearcutting of the Tongass National Forest. This rain forest is truly an irreplaceable world treasure; it's where we hunt, fish, work and play.

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I have spent my entire life hiking, camping, fishing and boating in and around the Tongass, and I hope to spend the rest of my life being able to enjoy the big playground in my backyard. We need to protect this valuable piece of wilderness, in a world where wilderness is quickly shrinking.

Continued road building and clearcutting of our national forest is a huge waste of a natural resource. Although our forest is called a renewable resource, much of it is an old-growth forest, and if we cut it down, it will take generations to grow back.

Instead of clearcutting and building more roads in our roadless watersheds, why not support the many communities that rely on a healthy Tongass. We need to maintain the Forest Service roads built already, build more trails, cabins and remote camping areas, restore deer habitat and salmon spawning streams. These activities all help to create jobs, support tourism, and generally support the many businesses that use the Tongass daily to make their livelihood.

Clearcutting destroys forests and salmon spawning streams, negatively impacts communities such as Tenakee Springs, and stops tourism dead in its tracks. I spend a lot of my summer in Tenakee Inlet and know that much of the community depends on subsistence hunting and fishing as well as commercial fishing, tourism and guiding that are benefits of a healthy, intact Tongass. It is hard to believe that the U.S. Forest Service could recommend clearcutting in roadless areas such as Upper Tenakee Inlet, when so much of Southeast Alaska has existing logging roads that can support local, small-scale timber harvesting. We need to protect the roadless areas and irreplaceable old growth forest we still have.

Hannah Wilson


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