Many outright mistruths have been flying directly from the Forest Service and our public officials. What doesn't make it into the public eye is the real truth of what is going on to our forests in Southeast Alaska.
Steve Brink, the Forest Service's regional deputy of the Tongass, claims the timber industry is on the verge of collapse if action isn't taken to avail more timber for the mills and operators. Truth is that the Forest Service has 197 million board feet of timber free and clear to log anytime. The No. 1 reason it isn't being logged is the downward trend in the timber market in the United States and Canada.
The timber industry and Forest Service use scare tactics to lead the public to believe a revival in the timber industry is possible. What they don't advertise is heavy reliance on millions more taxpayer dollars that will be needed to subsidize logging roads and bankrupt mills, and timber exported in the round. Without the Tongass and Chugach included in the Roadless Rule, we face the fragmentation and destruction of our last unprotected old-growth forests. This year, 50 new timber sales color the bleak future of pristine un-roaded areas such as Cleveland Peninsula, Port Houghton and St. James Bay.
Ask the Forest Service to include the Tongass and Chugach in the Roadless Rule before Sept. 2. E-mail both: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Or fax to both: (801) 880-3311 and (801) 880-2808.