The Forest Service has missed the point about the economic importance of few remaining intact watersheds during its review of roadless areas in the Tongass National Forest. As a charter fisherman and hunting guide, I depend on the remaining undeveloped areas of the Tongass, such as Tenakee Inlet, for my livelihood. Logging and road-building hurt wildlife and fish and my business. The jobs vs. wilderness arguments ignore the value of these wild places for many businesses in the region.
When the Forest Service logs a pristine watershed, its economic value is lost for a very long time. Businesses such as mine leave these areas intact in perpetuity - real long-term economic benefit. Factor in the tremendous cost of logging in Alaska to taxpayers and the choice to safeguard the remaining wild places in the Tongass is clear.
It is time to recognize the true value of wild places to charter fishing, commercial fishing, guiding, and tourism businesses by safeguarding new watersheds in the Tongass wilderness review.
Tok River Outfitters
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