Sitka Conservation Society

About Andis

Adam Andis, Wilderness Stewardship and Outreach Coordinator, spends the summer traipsing in the Tongass for the Community Wilderness Stewardship Project. During the winter he engages the community in all things SCS. He has a B.S. in Environmental Studies from Northland College, is an ACA Kayak instructor, Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Master Educator, Director of the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance, and a wicked crossword puzzler.

Mar 20 2012

Weatherization 101: Hot Water Heater

The second biggest user of energy in your home is the hot water heater.  Adjusting your hot water heater to the correct temperature can save a great deal of energy in your home.  In this video, local contractor Marcel Laperierre shows us how to adjust the hot water heater temperature for energy savings.


Weatherization 101 is a six part series produced by the Sitka Conservation Society and the City and Borough of Sitka Electric Department to help Sitkans increase their energy awareness, conserve electricity, and save money.

Video by Andre Lewis.

Mar 14 2012

Sharing Nature with Keet Gooshi Heen

This is a guest post by Kavin O'Mally

      While teaching a Discovery Southeast introduction to eco-systems at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School a student blurts out…”Aren’t you supposed to be teaching us this stuff”? I stop writing on the board, thrilled to hear this. I think she just gave me away.

Our educational system tends toward rote memorization by having the student repeat an answer over and over. This is unexciting and exclusive to students who have the knowledge. This particular student figured out an educational method called the art of questioning. This teaching technique opens up space for thoughts, giving the class time to think about an answer. Sometimes, weeks go by and students will stop me in the hallway and present me with an answer to an old question or mystery.

I ask the fourth grade class a few questions. What plants and animals live outside your school? This builds confidence in the class and hands start going up. Many of the students know the answers.  What is an eco-system? What do you know about Alaska’s eco-systems?  The students are ignited by the questions. This is their opportunity to be creative by developing original answers. I continually ask more questions, building on the students answers.

Eco-systems are a big and difficult concept for fourth graders to understand. First, you have a population of plant or

Sitka 4H group smells the language of the deer.

animal such as salmonberry or deer. Then, add these individuals living in communities and interacting with the environment. Then, tack on the earth as a giant biosphere. Nature based educators make connections that help the classroom teachers explain this complex subject.

The school is seven minutes from one of Alaska’s eight eco-systems, the coastal temperate rainforest. Naturalists at Discovery Southeast use this proximity to teach hands on nature based education and connect students with real science experiences. There is not a computer, T.V. program, or book that can connect those students with the science subjects better than the forest itself.

When the students leave the heated box of the school they are energized by being outside. Calming the students down and focusing their attention is a very effective way to prepare the class for a fun learning experience. Our journey begins down a road. We are ready to discover mysteries about our flora and fauna. There is an important step we must not forget. It is what Discovery Southeast naturalists call “Opening the Gate.” Opening the Gate involves crossing your right hand over your left hand, interlocking your fingers, and then bringing that into your chest. Next cross your right leg over your left leg holding that stance for a minute. Changing the hands and feet to the reverse position completes this procedure. This is an exercise that gets kids to focus their attention on their body and senses, a meditation of sorts.  A silent moment at the end of the exercise helps us make the transition from the pavement to our natural surroundings.

The fourth grade class is ready and soon discovers a set of deer tracks. As they quiet down, I start asking the students questions about the relationships between the deer, plants and the other animals around this place. They do not seem to realize that they are explaining to each other the make-up of our eco-system. The class starts listing individual plants and animals such as red alder, salmonberry, Sitka spruce, Sitka black-tailed deer, raven and even a northern goshawk. One student adds another important piece about the abiotic components and asks me if a rock is alive or dead.

We step outside for forty minutes and our experience equates to just a fragment of the life around those children. The class accomplishes a few really important ideas. We ask questions, share each others’ nature intelligence and slow down enough to pay attention to the natural world. This inquisitive and inclusive approach to learning makes us all feel part of our outdoor science class.

There is much meaning in inquiring deeper into a subject. By asking questions the class creates unique layers of understanding probing into the life of a deer, alder or goshawk. New ideas, questions, and perspectives become part of our learning experience. In Dennie Wolf’s article” The Art of Questioning” she points out a range of questions, inference, interpretation, transfer, reflective questions, and questions about hypotheses. How educators ask the questions will bring us closer to a mystery, make a subject more exciting and keep us pondering for weeks.

Kevin O’Mally Kevin has spent six years with Discovery Southeast and is currently acting as lead naturalist for the Auke Bay elementary Nature Studies program. He leads Early Dismissal Mondays at Glacier Valley and is the assistant naturalist for the Nature Studies program there. He’s coordinated a variety of special projects such as GPS-mapping classes and winter shelter-building field trips to bring outdoor and nature education to local homeschool students. Kevin has a degree in Cultural Anthropology and recently graduated from the Kamana 4 Naturalist Training Program. He has also completed a nine-month residential naturalist training program through the Anake Outdoor School at the Wilderness Awareness School. He grew up within walking distance of Lake Erie and the Cleveland Metroparks, which helped spark his connection to nature. Even when he isn’t outside, you may catch him reading nature field guides.

Feb 28 2012

Seeking Summer Wilderness Intern

The Sitka Conservation Society is seeking an applicant to support the Sitka Community Wilderness Stewardship Project. The Wilderness Intern will assist SCS’s Wilderness Project manager to coordinate and lead monitoring expeditions during the 2012 summer field season.

If interested, please review the position description below and submit a resume and cover letter to Adam Andis at


This position is now closed.

Position Title: SCS Wilderness Project Internship


Host Organizations: Sitka Conservation Society

Location:  Sitka, Alaska

Duration: 14 weeks, starting in May 2013.  Specific start and end dates to be determined by intern and SCS

Compensation: $ 4664 plus travel

Benefits: Intern will receive no health or dental benefits.  Intern is responsible for housing (SCS will try to assist in finding low-cost housing options).  SCS will provide appropriate training for fieldwork in Southeast Alaska.

Organization:  The Sitka Conservation Society (SCS) is a grassroots, membership-based organization dedicated to the conservation of the Tongass Temperate Rainforest and the protection of Sitka’s quality of life.  We have been active in Sitka, Alaska for over 45 years as a dynamic and concerned group of citizens who have an invested interest in their surrounding natural environment and the future well-being of their community. We are based in the small coastal town of Sitka, Alaska, located on the rugged outer west coast of Baranof Island. Surrounded by the towering trees of the Tongass National Rainforest, the community has successfully transformed from an industrial past and the closure of a local pulp mill to a new economy featuring a diversity of employers and small businesses.

Background:  The Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska is the nation’s largest National Forest totaling 17 million acres with almost 6 million acres of designated Wilderness Area (also the largest total Wilderness area of any National Forest).  The Sitka Ranger District alone encompasses over 1.6 million acres of countless islands, glaciated peaks and old growth forests. In 2009, SCS partnered with the Sitka Ranger District (SRD) to ensure the two Wilderness areas near Sitka (the West Chichagof Yakobi and South Baranof Wilderness Areas) meet a minimum management standard by conducting stewardship and monitoring activities and recruiting volunteers. We will be continuing this project into its fifth year and extending the project to ranger districts throughout the Tongass National Forest.



Direction and Purpose: 

                In this position you will be expected to assist in organizing the logistics of field trips.  Trips can range from just a few nights to three weeks.  Backcountry field logistics include float plane and boat transport to and from field sites; kayaking, backpacking, and packrafting on location; camping and living in bear country; field communications via satellite phone, VHF radio, and SPOT transmitters.  You will be co-leading trips with SCS Staff.  Depending on experience, you may have the opportunity to lead short trips of volunteers on your own.  

Working with SCS Staff, this intern position will assist in the following duties:

  • ·         collection of field data
  • ·         coordinating logistics and volunteers for field surveys
  • ·         plan and conduct outreach activities including preparing presentation and sharing materials on Wilderness and Leave No Trace with outfitters/guides and other Forest users.
  • prepare and submit an intern summary report and portfolio of all produced materials, and other compiled outputs to the Forest Service and SCS before conclusion of the residency, including digital photos of your work experience and recreational activities in Alaska. Reports are crucial means for SCS  to report on the project’s success.


  • ·         Graduate or currently enrolled in Recreation Management, Outdoor Education, Environmental Studies or other related environmental field
  • ·         Current Wilderness First Responder certification (by start date of position)
  • ·         Outdoor skills including Leave-no-Trace camping, sea kayaking, multi-day backpacking
  • ·         Ability to work in a team while also independently problem-solve in sometimes difficult field conditions.
  • ·         Ability to communicate effectively and present issues to the lay-public in a way that is educational, inspirational, and lasting

The ideal candidate will also have:

  • ·         Experience living or working in Southeast Alaska
  • ·         Pertinent work experience
  • ·         Outdoor leadership experience such as NOLS or Outward Bound
  • ·         Ability to work under challenging field conditions that require flexibility and a positive attitude
  • ·         Proven attention to detail including field data collection
  • ·         Experience camping in bear country
  • ·         Advanced sea-kayaking skills including surf zone and ability to perform rolls and rescues


Fiscal Support: SCS will provide a stipend of $4,664 for this 14 week position.  SCS will also provide up to $1,000 to cover the lowest cost airfare from the resident’s current location to Sitka. Airfare will be reimbursed upon submittal of receipts to SCS.



With respect to agency/organization policy and safety, intern agrees to:

  • ·         Adhere to the policies and direction of SCS, including safety-related requirements and training, including those related to remote travel and field work.
  • ·         Work closely with the SCS Wilderness Project Coordinator to update him/her on accomplishments and ensure that any questions, concerns or needs are addressed.
  • ·         Be a good representative of SCS at all times during your internship.
  • ·         Arrange course credits with your university if applicable.


With respect to general logistics, resident agrees to:

  • Seek lowest possible round trip airfare or ferry trip and book as soon as possible and before May 1st, working in conjunction with SCS whenever possible;
  • Provide SCS with travel itinerary as soon as flight is booked and before arriving in Alaska. Please email itinerary to Adam Andis at
  • Reimburse SCS for the cost of travel if you leave the intern position before the end of your assignment.
  • Have fun and enjoy the experience in Sitka!


Timeline (Approximate)

May 20-June 1:  SCS and Forest Service trainings; get oriented and set up in offices; begin researching and getting up-to-speed on background info (Outfitter/Guide Use Areas, patterns of use on the Tongass National Forest (subsistence, commercial fishing, guided, recreation), Wilderness Character monitoring, Wilderness issues).

June 4 – August 17:  Participate in field trips and assist in coordinating future trips, contact Outfitter and Guides to distribute educational materials, assist SCS in other Wilderness stewardship activities.

By August 20-24:  Prepare final report including any outreach or media products, trip reports, and written summary of experience to SCS.  Work with Wilderness Project Coordinator on final reports. 




To apply please submit a cover letter and resume that includes relevant skills and experiences including documentation of trips in remote settings to Adam Andis:

Application will close March 31, 2013.


Feb 27 2012

Alaska Ocean Film Festival

Alaska Ocean Film Festival


Sheet’ ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi Community House

Thursday, March 15th




Tickets available March 2nd at Old harbor Bookstore or at the door


Brought to the good people of Sitka by the The Alaska Center for the Environment in conjunction with the Sitka Conservation Society



2012 Alaska Ocean Film Festival Program


Click the link below for previews.


Monsterboards, Holland, Matthew McGregor-Mento, 8 mins

Combine a crack up sense of deadpan humor, small waves, eco art surfboards, and a horrific fear of sharks … what do you get? Monsterboards, of course. Surf’s up, enjoy the ride!


Into the Deep with Elephant Seals, USA, Sedva Eris, 11 mins

Meet the UC Santa Cruz marine biologists using high-tech tools to track elephant seals along the San Mateo coast. Some of these marine mammals weigh 4,500 pounds, can dive for a mile, and hold their breath for an hour. The elephant seals incredible come back from near extinction is a testament to the power of protected areas.


Capture: A Waves Documentary, Peru, Dave Aabo, 22mins

This piece dives deep into the impoverished community of Lobitus, Peru and the experience of surf travelers who share their passion with the youth. Witness the opportunity for empowerment as kids learn about creativity and self-expression from international surfers turned humanitarians.


The Coral Gardener, United Kingdom, Emma Robens, 10 mins

Coral reefs are like underwater gardens, but who would have thought you can garden them in just the same way? Austin Bowden-Kerby is a coral gardener. He has brought together his love of gardening, and passion for the underwater world, to do something very special that just might save the coral reefs of Fiji. Directed by Emma Robens.


Landscapes at the World’s Ends, New Zealand, Richard Sidey, 15 mins

A non-verbal, visual journey to the polar regions of our planet portrayed through a triptych montage of photography and video. This piece is a multi-dimensional canvas of imagery recorded either above the Arctic Circle or below the Antarctic Convergence.


Eating the Ocean, USA, Jennifer Galvin, 21 mins

Narrated by Celine Cousteau, this film is a journey to the heart of Oceania where an international team of researchers studies the rapidly changing diet of French Polynesians. Through the scientists’ investigation and by spending time with families, fishermen and school children we discover a public health crisis brought on by western influences.


Birdathlon, USA, Rachel Price and Karen Lewis, 4 mins

Who will win a race that involves both air and sea? Find out when our intrepid Rhinoceros Auklet is pitted against an Arctic Tern in an Olympic-caliber spoof that demonstrates the unique physiology and biology of the Alcid species.


Team Clark Goes Canoeing: Valdez to Whittier, USA, Dan Clark, 9 mins

Simply mesmerizing. This is the story of six weeks solitude and simplicity, the rewards of submersing children in the wilderness, and the challenges that make it memorable. A dream trip for many of us, no doubt, but does that dream include diaper swap outs at the re-supply? You’re not gonna believe this one!


The Majestic Plastic Bag, USA, 4 mins.

A brilliant mockumentary about the miraculous migration of “The Majestic Plastic Bag” narrated by Jeremy Irons. It was produced by Heal The Bay as promo in support of California bill AB 1998 to help put an end to plastic pollution.


Feb 09 2012

Wilderness Expedition Grant 2012

Sitka Community Wilderness Stewardship Project
Expedition Grant Program

Description: The Community Wilderness Stewardship Project monitors the two Wilderness areas that the Sitka Conservation Society helped to create, the West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness and the South Baranof Wilderness. We conduct research expeditions to collect data ranging from botanical surveys to small mammal genetic mapping to glacial change research. These remote study areas are difficult and expensive to access. For this reason, we seek research partners to broaden the scope of the project and ensure that the trips are as effective as possible.
Ideal candidates for Expedition Grants would include partnerships with other institutions, organizations, or agencies; focus on priority sites within Wilderness areas; incorporate an outreach component; and include additional outside funding.

Location: Based out of Sitka, Alaska.  Research must occur within West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness Area or South Baranof Wilderness Area.

Dates: May – December 2012
Proposals due by: May 1, 2012

Compensation: SCS may fund up to $1000

To Apply: Submit proposal* and cover letter to Adam Andis-

* Research in Forest Service Wilderness Areas requires a special permitting process.  SCS staff will help facilitate the research permit application, but it is the responsibility of the applicant to complete all necessary forms and work with the Sitka Ranger District  to receive a temporary research permit for the project.  See useful resources below.


Scientific Activities Evaluation Framework- Use this evaluation framework to apply for research permits.  The actual application begins on page 54.

Guidelines for Scientists- The following guidelines are written for scientists who want to conduct scientific activities in
wilderness. These are only brief guidelines intended to help scientists understand and
communicate with local managers, thereby expediting the process of evaluating a proposal for
scientific activities.

Example proposals:

Expedition Grant Proposal 2011- Establishing Baseline and Groundtruthing Data within the West Chichagof-­Yakobi Wilderness, Chichagof Island, Alaska

Project Proposal 2010- Glacial Change on Baranof Island: Quantifying Local-level Impact of Climate Change

Feb 04 2012

Reflections from the Tongass Salmon Forest Residency

This is a guest post by Bonnie Loshbaugh about her reflections on SCS’s Tongass Salmon Forest Residency.  This unique position was a partnership with the Sitka Ranger District and was tasked with telling the story of the Forest Service’s work restoring salmon habitat in the Tongass.

Be sure to check out the fantastic slide show of Bonnie’s photos at the bottom of this post.

Bonnie Loshbaugh, SCS's Tongass Salmon Forest Resident

I arrived in Sitka in May, after the herring opener had ended and before the salmon season had really gotten fired up, for a six month stint as the Tongass Salmon Forest Resident. The position, a collaboration between the Sitka Conservation Society, The Wilderness Society, and the Forest Service, was a new venture for everyone. For the Forest Service, it was one of the tentative steps the agency is taking towards a transition from a timber-only to a multi-resource management approach for the Tongass National Forest. For the Sitka Conservation Society and The Wilderness Society, it was part of a long term shift by environmental organizations towards collaborating rather than fighting with the Forest Service in Southeast Alaska. For me, a newly minted master of marine affairs, the residency was an opportunity to position myself at the crossroads of public policy and science, practice my science writing abilities, to return to my home state, and—I’ll be honest—to eat a lot of fish.

In Sitka, I got a room in the Forest Service bunkhouse and started a crash course in island life, Forest Service safety training, NGO-agency collaboration, and NGO-NGO collaboration, with a refresher on small town Alaska. Growing up on the Kenai Peninsula, I already knew a great deal about salmon as food. Now I started learning about salmon as an economic driver, natural resource, cultural underpinning, keystone species in the coastal temperate rainforest, and salmon as the life work and primary focus of many of the people I had the honor of working with during my time in Sitka.

During the summer field season, I went with the fisheries and watershed staff on quick projects—a day trip by boat to Nakwasina to help add large wood to a salmon stream—and long projects—and eight day stint at a remote camp on Tenakee Inlet with a crew using explosives to decommission an old logging road. Although I was mainly in Sitka, I also visited Prince of Wales Island and the restoration sites at the Harris River and worked up a briefing sheet that was used during USDA Undersecretary Harris Sherman’s visit to the same sites. By the fall, I had a large amount of information and photos which I worked up into several brochures for the Forest Service, and also a Tongass Salmon Factsheet, and a longer Factbook.

My main contacts at the Forest Service were Greg Killinger, the Fisheries Watershed and Soils Staff Officer for the Tongass, and Jon Martin, the Tongass Transition Framework Coordinator, both of whom made the connections for me to work with and ask questions of the top fisheries folk on the Tongass, as well the rank and file staff on the ground carrying out restoration and research work. The residency gave me a chance to learn about salmon on the Tongass, and to immediately turn that information around for public distribution. Along the way, it also allowed me to see how a federal agency works, a particularly enlightening experience since I have mainly worked for non-profits in the past. While collaboration is not always the easy way, the joint creation of the Tongass Salmon Forest Residency is a recognition that it is the best way to manage our resources, and I hope to see, and participate in, many more such collaborations in the future.

Jan 31 2012

Take Action: Ask Gov. Parnell to Appoint a Worthy Head of ADF&G

Background: Earlier this month, the head of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Wildlife Conservation Division, Corey Rossi, resigned after being charged with 12 violations related to illegal bear hunting.  Rossi was controversial and divisive in his position in the agency, marring ADF&G’s respectability as a science-based organization.

Read the 2-part article on the situation from Alaska Dispatch: Part 1 and Part 2

Take Action: Rossi’s resignation opens up a new opportunity for Governor Parnell to learn from past mistakes and appoint a new candidate for the position who is honest, experienced, respected, and above all, qualified.

Please consider emailing the Governor to encourage him to select a qualified candidate.  Click here to go to the Governor’s contact page.

Sitka Conservation Society’s letter is posted below.  Feel free to use the points addressed to develop your own message to Gov. Parnell.

Dear Governor Parnell,

We were disappointed to hear about the charges brought against former head of the Division of Wildlife Conservation, Corey Rossi.  Rossi, who resigned after he was charged with wildlife violations, was obviously not fit to hold authority over laws he himself could not abide by.  This case points out how the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has lost credibility as a science based wildlife organization, and was instead headed by a big game guiding business owner who used his position to perpetuate the profits of himself and his colleagues, apparently sometimes illegally.

The Sitka Conservation Society would like to ask you to appoint a new leader for Rossi’s position that will not make the same mistakes.

Specifically, we encourage you to appoint someone who:

  • Is honest, respected and, above all, qualified
  • At minimum, holds a Master’s degree in wildlife biology or a closely related field
  • Has at least 10-15 years of experience in wildlife management
  • Has a proven track record of basing decisions from science and not personal agenda.

Our members of the Sitka Conservation Society hunt, fish, and trap for subsistence and to maintain their livelihood.  We hope that you will recognize the importance of appointing a leader who will take Alaska’s people and wildlife into account over his or her own agenda

We look forward to the qualified candidate you appoint to make needed changes to the Alaska Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Jan 26 2012

Seeking Summer Botany Intern

We are seeking an applicant who is comfortable identifying Pacific Northwest flora, documenting and cataloging herbarium quality samples as part of the Sitka Community Wilderness Stewardship Project.  The Botany Intern will accompany the SCS Wilderness field crew on expeditions to identify, record, and collect plant specimens.

If interested, please submit a resume and cover letter to Adam Andis at


This position is now closed.


Full position description:

Position Title:  Wilderness Botany Intern Position

Host Organizations:  Sitka Conservation Society (

Location:  Sitka, Alaska

Duration:   12-week internship, June-Sept 2013

Compensation:  Paid with stipend for travel from Seattle


Background:  For over 45 years, Wilderness stewardship and advocacy have been core principles of the Sitka Conservation Society.  SCS played the key role in the establishment of the West Chichagof-Yakobi in 1980.  In 2009, with support from the Wilderness Stewardship Challenge grant program, SCS partnered with the local Forest Service District to conduct stewardship activities and recruit volunteers to collect data in the two Wilderness areas near Sitka (West Chichagof-Yakobi and South Baranof).  The goal of this project is to ensure Wilderness areas meet a minimum management standard.  One element the Forest Service has identified as a priority for this management standard is that Wilderness areas are “successfully treated for non-native, invasive plant species.”  In addition to non-native species, we also collect data on rare and sensitive species as these species may be indicators of large forest dynamics.  Working with the SCS staff and Field Crew, this intern position will participate in field expeditions to collect botanical survey data, record and catalog the findings.

Due to the high cost and difficult access of our field expeditions, SCS also partners with various organizations, agencies and institutions to collect additional data in may areas of study to get the biggest “bang for our buck.”  This position may assist in collection of data for partnering projects.

This year, we will continue this project and expand its scope to other Wilderness areas in the Tongass, focusing on building the capacity of local groups to facilitate stewardship projects of their own.  This intern position will present SCS’s botany work and help local groups in developing botanical components of their Wilderness stewardship projects.

Duties:  The Wilderness Project Botany intern will work with SCS staff to implement the National Forest Foundation’s (NFF) Wilderness Stewardship Challenge while also raising awareness and community involvement in Wilderness related activities.  The intern will be supervised by the Outreach and Wilderness Stewardship Coordinator.

Specific Initiatives

  • Participating in Wilderness trips with SCS and contracted staff
  • Field identifying and collecting specimens for catalog
  • Completing post-trip reports
  • Managing the collection and tabulation of botanical survey data
  • Assisting in the collection of other base-line data as needed
  • Helping to lead Wilderness trips
  • Writing articles for publication (i.e. journals, local news media, SCS newsletters, SCS website, etc.) about the Project and Tongass plant communities in Wilderness.
  • Presenting work and conducting plant identification training to project partners



  • Degree or current enrollment in a Botany program or related field.
  • Interest and background in conservation, research, plant sciences.
  • Pertinent work experience and field experience.
  • Professional skills pertinent to the position.

Fiscal Support: The internship will provide a wage of $1,333/month (2 pay periods of 80/hours each) for 3 months. The host organization will also reimburse you the lowest cost round trip to/from Seattle to Sitka, up to $1,000.

Application will close March 31, 2013.

Jan 25 2012

Action Alert: Make Salmon a Priority UPDATED

Make Management and Protection of Wild Alaska Salmon a Priority in the Tongass National Forest!

Check out the example letters at the bottom of the post for inspiration.

Background: 5 species of Pacific Salmon spawn in the Tongass National Forest. For thousands of years, those salmon have played a key role for the peoples and cultures that make their home on the Tongass. Today, the connections and traditions between communities and salmon is still one of the most important associations that we have with the natural environment of the Tongass.

Take Action: Management of the Tongass National Forest is currently at a critical crossroads. As we begin to move beyond the ill-fated, industrial logging phase of Tongass Management, the region and the Forest Service is striving to define a new paradigm for Tongass Land Management. The decision makers who govern the Tongass need to hear from you now that management for Wild Alaska Salmon is the most important use of the Tongass National Forest.

You Can Help Now: by writing letters to Alaska State Senators, the Undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture, and the Alaska Regional Forester telling why Salmon are important for SE Alaska and how our dependence on the lands and the waters of the Tongass revolves around Salmon.

Here are some of the important points that you can highlight:

  • Salmon are the backbone of the economy of SE Alaska
  • The economic value and the jobs created by commercial harvest of Salmon is much greater than the economic value of the Timber industry—even though more money and resources are spent on the timber program ($23 million) than salmon management and restoration ($1.5 Million).
  • Salmon are important for both the local seafood industry, the SE Alaskan visitor industry, and rural communities who depend on subsistence fishing
  • Subsistence harvest of salmon on the Tongass is one of the most important protein sources for SE Alaskans— outline how subsistence caught salmon are important for you
  • Forest Service management of subsistence fisheries (such as Redoubt Lake) have enormous benefits for Sitka and other SE Alaskan Communities– expanding this program is critical
  • Salmon Habitat Restoration Projects—such as the work being done in the Starrigavan Valley and Sitkoh River in Sitka—are the most important efforts currently being conducted by the Forest Service on the Tongass. This work should be continued and expanded.
  • The success of Tongass Management should no longer be tied to “million-board feet of timber produced” but rather should be measured on the successful rehabilitation, enhancement, and continuance of Wild Salmon Runs on the Tongass
  • Continued and expanded research and investigation on Alaskan Salmon is a huge priority to assess how we will manage salmon in the face of climate change

What to do: write a letter, send it out to decision makers, pass it along to SCS so we can help make all our voices heard, and continue to get involved.

Send Letters to (email is fine):

Senator Lisa Murkowski
709 Hart Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510
Email to staff:
Senator Mark Begich
144 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Email to staff:
Undersecretary Robert Bonnie
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
Tom Tidwell Chief of USDA Forest Service
US Forest Service
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C.
Beth Pendleton
Regional Forester
Alaska Region 10

Please send a copy to us at the Sitka Conservation Society offices at We will keep track of the letters that are received by decision makers and work on getting them delivered in person by a fisherman to decision makers in Washington, DC.

Example Letters:

Feel free to use the ideas in these example letters to write you own.

Tele Aadsen Letter

Adam Hackett Letter

Matt Lawrie Letter

Spencer Severson Letter

Jan 20 2012

Expedition: Russell Fjord

In the summer of 2011, the SCS Wilderness crew traveled north to Russell Fjord Wilderness to assist the Yakutat ranger district in Wilderness monitoring.  Check out the video, report, and photos to learn more about the project and this uniquely rugged Wilderness.

From Disenchantment Bay, at the upper end of Yakutat Bay, heavily glaciated Russell Fjord penetrates about 35 miles inland, but the advance of Hubbard Glacier is slowly squeezing it off from the sea… Within the area, which lies between the Fairweather and Brabazon Ranges, you’ll find forested river valleys rising to alpine meadows and snowcapped peaks… At the northwest boundary of Russell Fjord, the Hubbard Glacier, one of the largest and most active tidewater glaciers in North America, is advancing to Gilbert Point. Twice in the last 40 years, the Hubbard has closed against the Puget Peninsula. Eventually, this unique event will become a long term situation converting Russell and Nunatak Fjords to immense freshwater lakes.  –from

Report of the trip prepared by Scott Harris

Photos by Ben Hamilton

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Keep up to date on all of the issues. Check out "The Southeaster" Blog.

  • Hungry for Huckleberry Pie, Venison Stew, or Fresh Greens? Come to the Wild Foods Potluck Nov. 2!
  • Stand Up to Corporate Influence!
  • Kayaking Kootznoowoo: Report on SCS’s Final Wilderness Trip
  • Encouraging Local Natural Resource Stewardship on the Tongass: Kennel Creek
  • Teaching the Alaska way of Life: 4-H in Sitka
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