Redirect forest road funds

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I recently found out that each year, Congress spends $36 million of our tax dollars on building logging roads in America's rainforest in Alaska. The Tongass National Forest happens not only to be the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world, but it is our nation's largest national forest, as well.

Why are we throwing $36 million into the Tongass money pit? It isn't for jobs - logging jobs in Alaska numbered a whopping 195 in 2002. By contrast, recreation and tourism (which is helped by healthy, standing trees) provided more than 4,000 jobs the same year. In order to raise money for college, I work summers as a kayak guide in my hometown of Sitka. The same as many other local jobs, mine is absolutely dependent on recreation and tourism. If the trees start disappearing, so will the wildlife and then the visitors. Without them, we can say goodbye to any of our related jobs.

It seems a no-brainer to cut this wasteful expenditure. Congress should not be in the business of wasting tax money to support a failing industry. We should not think of it as wasted government funds, but as our tax money that could be more well-spent on education or other services directly in our communities.

Mary C. Marx


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