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Logjam: Balance or business as usual?

Posted: Monday, September 21, 2009

The preliminary decision by the U.S. Forest Service to reject a balanced conservation alternative to the Logjam timber sale on Prince of Wales Island was a disappointment.

The Logjam sale, as proposed by the U.S. Forest Service, will seriously effect some of the highest-value habitat remaining on Prince of Wales when an alternative timber sale configuration can meet timber needs while protecting critical fish and wildlife values.

By working collaboratively with diverse stakeholders over the past year - including the Forest Service, the state, timber industry representatives, conservation organizations and community members - a conservation alternative to the original Logjam proposal has been identified. This alternative would provide a very substantial near-term timber supply of more than 37 million board feet from the sale area. As part of this collaborative effort, Audubon Alaska and other conservation groups also have demonstrated support for finding even additional more timber outside of this important habitat area.

The balanced alternative, recently rejected by the Forest Service, provides the opportunity to support local jobs and also protect healthy fish and wildlife populations that are vital to subsistence, recreation and other community needs.

If ultimately implemented, the Logjam sale advanced by the Forest Service will perpetuate conflict and controversy in the Tongass. The balanced alternative would allow the Forest Service to steer Tongass management away from the costly conflicts and controversy of the past and on to a new path that includes sustainable jobs, healthy fish and wildlife habitat, and thriving communities.

The extraordinary ecological and recreational values of the Sweetwater Lake drainage and other areas that would be damaged by the Logjam sale are too important to ignore.

Sweetwater Lake Watershed is one of the most important salmon watersheds on Prince of Wales. In addition, Sweetwater and Logjam represent a vital wildlife corridor, which is a north-south linkage across Honker Divide. Unfortunately, the Forest Service's refusal to offer a balanced sale forced Audubon Alaska, along with other concerned parties, to challenge the Logjam sale as it is proposed.

Audubon Alaska remains committed to a balanced and collaborative effort that recognizes the need for economic opportunity as well as healthy fish and wildlife populations and other local community needs in the Tongass.

Taldi Walter

Communications and policy associate

Audubon



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