Sitka Conservation Society
Jul 01 2013

Sealaska Corporation Lands Bill Moving Quickly Through Congress

The Sealaska Lands Legislation has passed out of committee in both the House and Senate, and could go before the full House and Senate for approval as early as sometime in July.  If approved, the Legislation would privatize over 70,000 acres of the Tongass, including parcels near Sitka at Kalinin Bay, Lake Eva, Fick Cove, and North Arm.

The Sealaska Legislation has been introduced three prior times, and has previously passed out of the House but has never before been subject to a vote by the full Senate.  All indications are that the current version of the Bill will reach a Senate vote, and so it is critical to reach out to members of Congress explaining why the Bill would be bad for us in Sitka and bad for Southeast Alaska as a whole.

The current House and Senate versions of the Bill are wildly different, with the Senate version (S.340) being considered a compromise containing fewer inholdings, provisions for public access for fishing, and expanded stream buffers in some timber selections.  That said, the Senate Bill would still transfer 70,000 acres of the Tongass to a private corporation and would lead to clear-cutting some of the largest and oldest trees remaining on the Tongass.  Should both the House and Senate versions pass they would go a conference committee to iron out the differences between the two versions.  Sealaska has publically said it would prefer legislation enacted that is more like the House version than the Senate version, so we can only imagine what its lobbyists are telling members of Congress.

Letters, emails, and phone calls from Southeast Alaska residents have made a difference in keeping prior versions of the Sealaska Legislation from passing, but none of that outreach will have an impact on members of Congress when they take up the Legislation once again.  They need to hear from us again and be reminded that the Tongass is a National Forest that belongs to everyone and that we in Southeast Alaska depend on this public forest for our livelihoods and our ways of life.

Apr 12 2013

Sealaska Bill: A Threat to Public Lands

Take action to protect your public lands HERE.

The following letter was submitted to the Sitka Sentinel by SCS.

Dear Editor:

The current version of the Sealaska legislation is scheduled for a hearing on April 25th in the Senate Public Lands Subcommittee.  This Sealaska bill is a threat to the public lands of the Tongass and to the ways that Sitkans use the Tongass.  This legislation would transfer lands on the Tongass to Sealaska that are outside of the original boxes where they were allowed to select lands.   The legislation would affect us in Sitka because the corporation is asking for in-holdings throughout the Sitka Ranger District that are some of the most valuable areas for access and use.  The bill would allow the corporation to select in-holdings in North-Arm/Hoonah Sound, Kalinin Bay, Fick Cove, Lake Eva, Wrangell Island off Biorka, Port Banks, and many others.   On Prince of Wales Island, the corporation has  cherry-picked the lands that have the highest concentration of the remaining economically valuable cedar trees, the oldest and fastest growing second growth, and the timber stands that have the most investment made by taxpayer dollars in roads, culverts, and forest thinning.

The in-holding selections might seem familiar topic.  The corporation is selecting them in the same process they are using for Redoubt Lake.  It is claiming that fishing access areas are eligible for selection under authorities that were meant for cemeteries.  In the case of Redoubt Lake that means that one of the most important sites for public use and subsistence on the Sitka Ranger District could be privatized and owned by a corporation that has a for-profit mandate and is run by a board of directors that has created its own closed circle of power (remember when Sitkans tried to get elected to that board).  The CEO of Sealaska came to Sitka a few weeks ago and made many promises about public access.  That all sounded good, but how long is he going to be around?  None of the agreements they proposed are legally binding.  What happens when their board of directors decides that they don’t want to allow everyone to fish there anymore?  What happens when they decide that they “are obliged to make profit for their shareholders” and the best way to do that could be to capitalize on the asset of Redoubt Lake and build a lodge on the island between the two falls?  Promises made today don’t necessarily stand the test of time when lands are not in public hands and are not managed by a publically accountable entity.

For all of the above reasons, SCS will be telling members of the  Senate Public Lands Subcommittee that the Sealaska Legislation is not good for the Tongass and not good for Southeast Alaska.  Information on how to contact members of that committee can be found on the SCS website:

                                                  Andrew Thoms

                                                  Executive Director

                                                  Sitka Conservation Society


Update: Sealaska Corporation’s CEO recently issued a response to the above editorial.  He also complained about the photos below.  He called them “unethical,” “mysterious,” “misinformation.”

Of course our photos of Redoubt Falls with no trespassing signs are fabricated, that is because (thankfully) this area is still in public hands where everyone, including Sealaska shareholders, have equal rights to utilize this place.  The photos we didn’t need to fabricate are the images of Sealaska Corp’s logging practices on land they currently own on Dall Island.  (Watch this Google Earth tour to see for yourself.*)  But don’t take our word for it; take a look at the short video Hoonah’s Legacy, showing the massive clearcuts logged by Sealaska Corp that scarred that community’s landscape.  Or, visit the Sealaska Shareholders Underground’s Facebook page to hear about shareholders who disagree with the Corporation, but who have so far been suppressed by Sealaska and prevented from allowing any new voices onto the Sealaska board of directors.

Based on history and the facts, it is hard to see how allowing a profit-driven corporation like Sealaska to take away public lands from Alaskans would be “good for Sitkans, the Tongass and for Southeast Alaska.”  If you agree, please consider writing a Letter to the Editor of your local paper and share this information with your friends and community.

* This is a Google Earth tour (.kmz file).  You must have Google Earth installed on your computer to view the tour.

Please encourage your friends and relatives living in states listed below to call their Senator.

Key Senate Public Lands Subcommittee Members:

Oregon- Senator Ron Wyden (202) 224-5244

Washington- Senator Maria Cantwell (202) 224-3441

Michigan- Senator Debbie Stabenow  (202)224-4822

Colorado- Senator Mark Udall (202) 224-5941

New Mexico- Senator Mark Heinrich (202) 224-5521

Minnesota- Senator Al Franken (202) 224-5641




Apr 09 2013

Take Action: Salmon, Water, Alaskans need your help

Salmon, water, and the Alaskans who depend on them need your help!

Background: Right now, the Alaska State Senate is debating whether or not they should make it more difficult for Alaskans to protect the water in their backyards for salmon habitat.  HB77, the In-Stream Water Reservations Bill, would convolute an already convoluted public process, eliminating the requirement for public comment periods.  It would also give the Department of Natural Resources Commissioner the authority to issue General Permits for industrial operations if the commissioner determines the project will not cause “significant or irreparable harm” to Alaskans and issue permits that would directly and negatively impact salmon habitat if the commissioner determines it is in the “best interest of Alaska.”

As a reminder, the Department of Natural Resources no longer values future generations—they eliminated “future generations” from their mission statement last year.

Additionally, HB77 intends to revoke certain rights from Alaskan individuals, organizations, and tribes, and gives the government of Alaska authority on whether or not salmon and water are as important as industrial development.  In other words, this bill protects Outside interests at the expense of local Alaskans.  For an example of DNR siding against Alaskans in favor of Outside interests, and why this bill is relevant to all Alaskans, click here.

Talking Points

  • Alaskans need more opportunities to preserve salmon and our unique way of life, not fewer
  • HB77 protects the right for Outside interests to take water out of salmon streams while making it more difficult for Alaskans to keep water in salmon streams
  • The bill gives DNR discretion to negatively impact salmon habitat if it is in the “Best Interest” of the State of Alaska
  • It eliminates the requirement for DNR to open public comment periods on “Best Interest Findings”
  • 95% of public testimony opposed HB77, including fishing organizations, Alaska Native Tribal councils, city councils, fishermen, hunters, and every day residents

Take Action: Time is running out on the Legislature.  To add your voice to this issue, act now!

Alaska’s fish and water need you to stand up and take action immediately.  There are two ways you can help: You can write a My Turn in the Juneau Empire, or you can contact the Alaska State Senate Coastal Caucus and let them know you oppose HB77, a bill that revokes certain rights from Alaskans, eliminates the requirement for public comment periods at DNR, and gives DNR discretion to impact salmon habitat for the benefit of Outside companies.   465-3873   465-4947   465-2828   465-4925   465-3707

Mar 11 2013

Sealaska Continues to Pursue a “Constellation of In-holdings” Across important areas on the Tongass

Senator Lisa Murkowski has reintroduced the Sealaska Lands Legislation, with the new version of the bill containing five selections in the Sitka area, some of which are in crucial subsistence and recreation areas.

The Sitka-area selections are 15.7 acres at Kalinin Bay, 10.6 acres at North Arm, 9 acres at Fick Cove, 10.3 acres at Lake Eva,  and 13.5 acres at Deep Bay.


Background: Murkowski’s legislation, known as S.340, is the fourth version of the Sealaska Lands Legislation to be introduced in the last eight years.  Like the three previous versions, the primary focus of this Legislation is to allow the Sealaska Corporation to make land selections outside the boundaries it agreed upon following the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.  The Legislation would lead to the privatization of over 70,000 acres of the Tongass and grant Sealaska access to substantially more old growth forest than if it made its selections within the previously agreed upon boundaries.

In fairness to Murkowski and Sealaska, the latest version of the Legislation is a significant improvement on prior versions of the Legislation, with the addition of timber stream buffers, removal of proposed “Natives Futures” development sites from the Sitka area, and the inclusion of new provisions for subsistence access in cultural and historic sites.

Most of the development lands in the Legislation are on Prince of Wales Island, and all of the Sitka-area selections are deceptively-labeled “cemetery and historic” sites.  From the time the first version of the Legislation was introduced, the Sitka Conservation Society has held the position that we do not oppose Native management of important Native cultural and historic sites.  Our problem has been that from our experience and review of agency practices concerning previous historic site applications, including that at Redoubt Falls near Sitka, the law is so loosely interpreted by the federal agencies tasked with determining what qualifies as a cemetery/historical site that virtually anything can be considered “historic.”  Indeed, we have seen little evidence to the historic value of most of the sites selected by Sealaska.

Under the new Legislation, Sealaska has selected 76 “cemetery and historic” sites around Southeast Alaska.  For years we have said that the Tongass National Forest is large, but its greatest resources are concentrated in small areas like the mouths of streams and in safe anchorages.  Thus, some of the spots with the richest resources in the Tongass might only take up a few acres.  Many of Sealaska’s proposed cemetery/historic sites selections are small in terms of acres, but the effect of making these spots private inholdings can be very “large” such as when they are located at “choke points” of access or cover the entire mouth of a stream.  It might only takes two acres at the mouth of a stream to, in effect, control the whole stream.

SCS have told Senators Begich and Murkowski that we oppose the Sealaska Legislation, and we encourage you to do the same. SCS — Sealaska Murkowski letter to view the letter expressing our concerns.  Please contact them and explain how you and your family use and rely on the parcels selected in the Legislation.


 The latest version of the Sealaska Lands Bill includes six cemetery and historic sites in the Sitka area.  While some of these sites may contain important cultural artifacts, at this time we have seen little evidence and we would like to see a lot more.  From past experience, most notably our work on Sealaska’s pending selection of Redoubt Falls near Sitka, the standards for what qualifies as “historic” are extremely broad.  Actual archeological evidence is not needed, and often sites are deemed historic by second hand oral accounts.  Furthermore, from our experience, the agencies tasked with enforcing these loose standards are generally unwilling to raise objections or apply the law to its full extent.

 As noted, we have been given little information about the historic significance of the Sitka-area sites.  About all we know is the site locations as listed here:

- Kalinin Bay Village (site 119).  This is a tourism spot and is used for hunting and fishing.  As recently as the 1960s, it was used as a fish camp, which included a store and diesel generating plant.

- Lake Eva Village (site 120).  This includes trail access.

- Deep Bay Village (site 181).  This area is widely used for hunting and fishing.  The 1975 field investigation found no evidence of occupation.

- North Arm Village (site 187).  This is a popular hunting, fishing and guided bear hunting location. The 1975 field investigation states: “This could possibly have been a village.”

- Fick Cove Village (site 185).  This is a popular hunting and subsistence area.  The 1975 field investigation revealed the ruins of two cabins which may have been trapper cabins.

Take Action: If you or your family use these sites, please contact Senators Begich and Murkowski and tell them you do not want to lose access to public lands.

Senator Begich

111 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

fax. (202) 224 – 2354

Toll-free line: (877) 501 – 6275

Email Senator Begich HERE

Senator Murkowski

Email Senator Murkowski HERE


Feb 18 2013

America’s Salmon Forest at the AK Forum Film Fest

SCS’s short documentary Restoring America’s Salmon Forest was selected to show at the Alaska Forum on the Environment Film Festival on Friday, February 8, 2013 in Anchorage.  The film focuses on a multi-agency effort to increase salmon returns on the Sitkoh River in Southeast Alaska’s Chichagof Island, by improving the spawning and rearing habitat and redirecting a river that was heavily damaged by logging operations in the 1970s.

In the heyday of the Southeast Alaska timber industry, little regard was paid to the needs of salmon. Streams were frequently blocked and diverted, with streams in 70 major watersheds remaining that way decades later. Salmon surpassed timber in economic importance in Southeast Alaska more than two decades ago, but only in the last few years has the Forest Service finally made a serious effort to repair damaged streams. Currently over 7,000 jobs in Southeast Alaska are tied to the fishing industry, compared to about 200 in the timber industry. The Forest Service spends about three times as much on timber related projects as fisheries and restoration projects each year on the Tongass.

While salmon are responsible for 10 times as many jobs in Southeast Alaska as timber, and are also an important food source and a critical part of our cultural identity, the Forest Service still puts timber over salmon in its budget priorities. Recent Forest Service budgets have dedicated in the range of $22 million a year to timber and road building, compared to less than $2 million a year to restoring salmon streams damaged by past logging, despite a $100 million backlog of restoration projects.

Logging damages watersheds by diverting streams, blocking fish passage, and eliminating crucial spawning and rearing habitat structures. Restoration increases salmon returns by removing debris, redirecting streams, stabilizing banks to prevent erosion, and even thinning dense second-growth forest. We believe it simply makes sense to go back and repair habitat if you are responsible for its damage.


Please contact your representatives in Washington to tell them the ways you depend on Tongass salmon, and tell them you support managing the Tongass for salmon and permanently protecting important salmon producing watersheds. Tell them it is time to redirect funds from the bloated timber budget to the salmon restoration budget, and finally transitioning away from the culture of old-growth timber to sustainable practices recognizing all resources and opportunities.

What to say:

Check out the talking points in this post for some ideas of what you might include in your letters or calls.


Undersecretary Robert Bonnie
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250


Senator Lisa Murkowski
709 Hart Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510


Senator Mark Begich
825C Hart Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510

If you have questions, contact the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509 or

Produced by Bethany Goodrich, a summer staffer at the Sitka Conservation Society, “Restoring Alaska’s Salmon Forest” provides a brief look at how a restoration project looks on the ground and what such a project can accomplish in terms of salmon returns.
Feb 01 2013

SCS Recommends: Sitka STOP GMO SALMON Rally

The event will take place on  Saturday, February 9th, from 1:00 to 1:30 pm, at the Crescent Harbor Shelter.

This a quick get together to show public opposition to the pending FDA approval. It’s not too late to comment to the FDA, come learn why and how!

I’m inviting the press, so we really want a great showing.FRANKENFISH are a danger to our wild stocks,and to the marketplace.

Find out more about this issue by clicking the link below


Jan 08 2013

Senator Begich Works to Protect Salmon and Fights GMO Salmon

The Sitka Conservation Society applauds the efforts of Senator Mark Begich to stop the Food and Drug Administration from allowing genetically modified salmon to be produced and sold to consumers.  Senator Begich has called out the FDA for its recent finding that genetically modified salmon will have  “no significant impact” on the environment or public health.

Like all Southeast Alaskans, Senator Begich understands very well the importance of salmon to our lives and livelihoods.  Senator Begich understands that Wild Salmon are critical to our economy, our way-of-life, and is a keystone component of Southeast Alaska’s terrestrial and marine environment.  Senator Begich has taken a stand to protect our Wild Alaska Salmon.

Thank you Senator Begich for protecting Salmon.

Senator Begich has asked his constituents to weigh in and tell the Food and Drug Administration that we don’t want Genetically Modified Salmon.   Please help him out by telling the FDA your feelings by following this link and following the “Comment Now” prompt:!documentDetail;D=FDA-2011-N-0899-0003

For an idea on how to comment, read SCS comments:  here

To read Senator Begich’s press release, click: here

To read an editorial on Genetically Modified Salmon by a former SCS employee, click: here

Jan 04 2013

Sitka Gives a Dam

Background: In Sitka, we take climate change seriously–so seriously that the community just invested $96 million dollars into a hydroelection project at Blue Lake that will greatly cut our fossil fuel consumption.

The project came at an enormous price, but the benefits to the climate and our quality of life are worth the price.  Unfortunately, most of that cost has fallen on the shoulders of our community.  Despite efforts by SCS and the City of Sitka, the project has received no money from the federal government and only a small amount from the State of Alaska (which is a small fraction of the subsidies and support given to oil corporations every year).  For the most part, the burden has fallen to the community of Sitka because oil companies have invested so much of their resources into convincing politicians that funding big oil is more important than funding sustainable communities.  The result is that we are far behind where we need to be in moving our country and our economy in a direction away from fossil fuels to a renewable energy based economy.

Check out this Op-Ed in the Juneau Empire.

Take Action: SCS is asking Senator Murkowski and the Senate Energy Committee to stand up for small towns, the climate, and a sustainable future.  Please help us take action to demand that our politicians take climate change seriously.  Write or call Senator Murkowski today.



Senator Lisa Murkowski
709 Hart Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510


D.C.: 202-224-6665
Juneau: 907-586-7277

Check out the letter we wrote below for ideas.

Dear Senator Murkowski and Members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee:

                Climate change is the greatest threat to our way-of-life and national security.  Climate change is caused by human activity that put amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at levels that are changing global climate and weather patterns.  We know that these changes are disrupting agricultural production, global shipping, and causing more extreme weather events that put our coastal cities at risk.

                Human caused climate change is happening because of our use of fossil fuels.  Oil, gas, and coal have formed through biological and geological processes over millions of years.  Human activity in the last 300 years since the beginning of the industrial revolution has burned a large number of those deposits of fossil fuels and put amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere far above normal natural/geological processes.  It is known that the burning of fossil fuels has increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from 275 Parts-per-million to 390 parts-per-million.  It is impossible for this change to happen without severe side-effects.

                At the same time that the impacts of climate change are becoming apparent, we are seeing the end of fossil fuels.  At this point, we must make greater investment and go to greater lengths to extract oil, gas, and coal from the earth.  We are being forced to go into extreme oceans like the Chukchi and Beaufort Sea where conditions are extremely difficult and risky to operate in.  We are forced to drill much deeper into the earth in areas of extremely high pressures as well as drill in very deep ocean waters.  We are forced to use techniques like fracking that have consequences that we aren’t even fully aware of to access oil and gas.  All of the above is being done without acknowledging the inevitable fact that fossil fuels are a non-renewable resource that will run out.

                American citizens are relying on your leadership.  And yet, more and more it seems that Congressional policy seeks to favor the biggest corporate donors rather than take action that equates to good policy for the future of our nation.  We have known about climate change for decades.  Oil companies have invested in distracting the public and calling into doubt the science—just like big tobacco did when public policy to reduce tobacco deaths was being initiated.  The result is that we are far behind where we need to be in moving our country and our economy in a direction away from fossil fuels and carbon emissions to a renewable energy based economy.

                Despite the lack of significant and meaningful action from our elected leaders in Washington, DC, Americans across the country are stepping up and taking action.  Here in our small town of Sitka, Alaska, where we live very close to the natural environment and can see the changes and impacts of climate change first-hand, we have decided to take action in a big way.  This past December we broke ground on a $96 Million dollar, salmon-friendly hydroelectric expansion project.  Most of the cost of this project is on the shoulders of the community members in Sitka.  We have received support from the State of Alaska (which is a small fraction of the subsidies and support given to oil corporations) but we have received no help from the federal government.

                We are asking you what you are going to do in this next session of Congress to take meaningful action to move our national energy policy in a direction that moves us away from a reliance on fossil fuels and reduces carbon emissions?  In Sitka, we are tired of waiting for you to take action and we did it on our own.  We are tired of the dynamic in Washington, DC and we implore you to take action for the sake of the future generations of our nation.


The Sitka Conservation Society


Dec 05 2012

Take Action: Tell the Forest Service to follow through

Background: The US Forest Service has adopted the Tongass Transition Framework, a program intended to shift forest management away from the out-dated and ill-fated old growth logging paradigm toward management that support multiple uses of the forest, including recreation, restoration, subsistence, and second-growth management.  This is an encouraging recognition of the region’s important natural resources, but the figures don’t match the Forest Service’s transition plan.  Check out the figures here.

For example, the Forest Service still spends over $22 million a year on logging and road building, but only $6 million on recreation and tourism and $8 million on restoration and watershed.  Our fishing industry relies on healthy watersheds and restoring damaged salmon stream.  Our tourism industry relies on recreational facilities and wildplaces for visitors to get the Alaska experience.  It just so happens that these are also the two biggest industries in Southeast, together supporting over 15,000 jobs and providing just under $2 BILLION to the local economy.  Logging on the other hand only supports 200 jobs.

Take Action: Please ask the Forest Service to follow through with their Transition Framework and put their money where their mouth is.  Write to the Undersecretary of Natural Resources, Harris Sherman.


Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave. S.W.
Washington, D.C.

Please also send a copy to SCS at so we can hand-deliver all of your letters to the Undersecretary himself in Washington, DC.

Some key point to include in your letter:

  • Tourism and fishing are the two largest economic drivers in Southeast Alaska.
  • Logging and road building cost tax payers $22.1M annually, while the Forest Service only spends $6.1 M annually on tourism and $8.1M annually on fisheries and watershed management.  BUT, the timber industry only supports 200 jobs— tourism supports 10,200 and fishing supports 7,200.
  • The Forest Service has adopted the Tongass Transition Framework, a program to transition from timber harvesting in roadless areas and old-growth forests to long-term stewardship contracts and young growth management.  This is an encouraging recognition of the need to protect the region’s natural resources and fundamental economic drivers: tourism and fishing, BUT the Forest Service needs to reflect this transition in their budget.
  • Be sure to include your personal connection to the Tongass, it’s forests and natural resources.
  • Also, be sure to include how you rely on the Tongass—for subsistence, recreation, business, etc.

Example: Here’s an example letter I wrote.  Feel free to use this as a template:

Your Address Here
Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave. S.W.
Washington, D.C.
Dear Chief Tidwell:
I am writing out of concern for my home.  I live in Sitka, Alaska, a small fishing community in Southeast Alaska surrounded by the Tongass National Forest.  Our entire economy revolves around our natural resources.  I have been a guide for many years with a sea kayak tourism company.  When my clients, or really anyone, come up to see Alaska they want to see three things: bears, forests, and salmon.  Luckily for me as a guide, if you find one of them, you’ll find the others.  For instance, if you find a salmon stream, you’d better be on the look-out for a bear; if you want to find a good salmon stream, go to the healthiest, oldest forest; and if you want to find a stand of big healthy trees, follow the salmon and bears.
Just as the bears, salmon, and tress are connected, so too are our industries: tourism, fishing, and timber.  In Sitka, we’ve already seen that poor logging practices kill our fishing industry by destroying the spawning-streams, the birthplaces of our salmon populations.  Without standing forests and salmon fishing, tourism wanes in response. 
Recently, though, we have also seen that if all of these industries are balanced, our communities benefit as a whole.  Small-scale logging, responsible fishing, and eco-friendly tourism have been growing at increasing rates and are the model for a new future for the Tongass.  In Southeast, we are trying to build a sustainable future, and we are succeeding.
My concern for my home stems from your agency’s spending priorities.  Like any healthy and productive systems, our economy and your budget need to be proportionate and well-balanced.  So, why does your agency spend just $6.1 million on recreation and tourism and $8.1 million on fisheries, but about $25 million annually on timber and road-building?  That is certainly not a balance, and considering that fishing is our largest industry and tourism is the second in line, it is nowhere near proportionate.
As the Forest Service, you say that your job is “caring for the land and serving people.”  To care for the land and serve people in Southeast (and anyone who values these wild places) please redistribute your budget priorities to reflect the real situation on the Tongass.  Imagine if we invested $25 million in salmon habitat restoration and recreation instead of timber.  In four years, we will have completed all of the restoration projects needed on the Tongass.  Compare that to the 50 years it will take at current rates.  Speaking for all of us in Southeast Alaska, we cannot wait 50 years.
Thank you for your consideration.
Adam Andis

Nov 20 2012

Salmon Capital: The Tongass National Forest

Sitka Conservation Society board member Richard Nelson spoke on salmon during Sitka Whalefest on the theme of “Cold Rivers to the Sea: Terrestrial Connections to our Northern Oceans.”  He spoke on the subject of one of the greatest manifestations of the connection between the terrestrial forests and the oceans:  our Wild Alaska Salmon. His eloquent words remind us of why we care so much about and treasure salmon so deeply.  Salmon are the backbone of the ecosystems of Southeast Alaska.  For all of us who live here, Salmon are an extremely important part of our lives.  Many of our jobs are directed related to salmon through fishing, processing, shipping, guiding, or managing salmon stocks.  All of us are connected to salmon as the food that we eat and prepare for our families. For the Sitka Conservation Society, it is obvious to us that the Tongass is a Salmon Forest and that salmon are one of the most important outputs from this forest.  For years we have fought against a timber industry that wanted more and more of the forest for clear-cutting and log export.  It is time to turn the page on the timber dominated discussions of the past.  Sure there is room for some logging.  But, the Tongass should no longer be seen as a timber resource to be cleared and moved on.  Rather, the Tongass should be managed with salmon as the priority, with the Forests left standing as the investment and the interest that it pays out every year being the salmon runs that feed our ecosystems, fisheries, and our families. Please help us protect Tongass salmon and help us make a new vision of Tongass management a reality.  We need you to write letters telling decision makers and land managers to make Tongass management for salmon and salmon protection a priority.  Here is an action alert that tells you how to write a letter:  here.  Or, if you need help, please feel free to visit or call our office (907-747-7509). You can read some letters that local fishermen wrote for inspiration:  here Thanks for your help and support.  Together we can ensure that are Wild Alaska Salmon are protected!

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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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