Sitka Conservation Society

The Sitka Conservation Society works on a variety of issues affecting the Tongass and our communities.  In order to give succinct background and updates on these issues, we produce Briefing Sheets.  Please browse through the program tabs on the left for a list of briefing sheets pertaining to each topic.

Browse by Program Area:

Threats to the Tongass

Redoubt Land Transfer Briefing Sheet- Sealaska Corporation has selected Redoubt Falls, the best sockeye stream near Sitka, for a land easement.  Non-shareholders will no longer have permission to access the site for subsistence fishing without a permit from the Corporation.


Central Kruzof Island Restoration – In November 2012, we ground-truthed the next restoration priority area in the Sitka Community Use Area – Central Kruzof / Iris Meadows / Shelikof Creek.

Red Alder on the Tongass- Red Alder may represent an opportunity for the Tongass to transition away from unsustainable old growth clearcut logging to one more respectful of appropriate scale and maximizing the value of forest products.

Northern Baranof Island- In 2007, surveys were completed of the watersheds in extreme northern Baranof Island, in the “elbow” of Peril Straight.  This area was almost completely clearcut in the 1960s, removing the 4-10 foot spruces once covering valley bottoms of this area.  These surveys focused on US Forest Service restoration efforts and gathering information to support future work.

Ground-truthing Project Final Report, 2005- A citizens’ initiative to document what is happening on past and proposed timber sales throughout southeast Alaska. The project emphasized the documentation and protection of rare big-tree forests, which are essential habitat for deer, goshawk, murrelet, marten, denning bears and other organisms in addition to being a globally rare treasure.


Starrigavan Restoration Project- Restoring wildlife habitat on 5.2 acres of young-growth forests in the Starrigavan Watershed and implementing a long-term citizen-based monitoring project.

Sitkoh River Restoration- A multi-year salmon habitat restoration program on the Sitkoh River.


Ocean Boulevard Briefing Sheet- This briefing sheet describes the collaborative process behind planning the Ocean Boulevard Wildlife Improvement Project on False Island. Note that this briefing sheet was printed in 2009, and the project has since been completed, although not using Stewardship Contracting as originally expected.


Stewardship on the Stikine- SCS has partnered with Wrangell Ranger District since 2011 to help manage weeds in the Stikine Wilderness.  This report details a project in 2012 to involve the Wrangell Troop #40 in stewardship efforts.

Wilderness Project 2011 Final Report – Final Report and Data Report for the 2011 Community Wilderness Stewardship Project

Wilderness Project 2011 Update-Update for the National Forest Foundation on the 2011 Community Wilderness Stewardship Project.

Region 10 Partner of the Year Award- In 2010, Sitka Conservation Society was awarded the Region 10 Wilderness Partner of the Year Award for the outstanding work of the Community Wilderness Stewardship Project.

Expedition: Russell Fjord Report- In the 2011 field season, the SCS Wilderness crew traveled to Russell Fjord to assist the Yakutat Ranger District in collecting data on, visitor use, recreation site inventories, bird counts, and plant surveys.

Wilderness Outfitter Information- Information for operators, guides, and their clients who use Tongass Wilderness Areas.

Community Profile: Gustavus and Pleasant Island- In 2011 the SCS Wilderness crew along with Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, made a community visit to Gustavus and a monitoring expedition to nearby Pleasant Island Wilderness to determine how the community uses the area and how they could become stewards of the island.

Wilderness Project Report 2010- Final report of the 2010 Community Wilderness Stewardship Project

Wilderness Project Report 2010 DATA- Data report of the Wilderness Project from 2010

Wilderness Project Report 2009- Final report of the 2009 Community Wilderness Stewardship Project

Wilderness Project Report 2009 DATA- Data report of the Wilderness Project from 2009

Climate Change and Energy

Blue Energy: Hydro-Power in the Tongass- An overview of Sitka’s clean, hydro-electric power resources.

Environmental Education

Wild Classroom: Teaching in the Tongass- In 2012, SCS helped organize a field immersion experience for Knox College’s “Alaska: Forest, Fisheries, and the Politics of Wilderness” course, including a 175 kayak trip, hands-on restoration projects, and presentations by local experts.

Alaska Way of Life 4H club- SCS helped initiate Sitka’s 4H club in 2010 to help encourage local kids to learn skills that promote an Alaska way of life.

RAC Funding Education Projects- The projects higlighted here, funded through Title II, are unique because they directly involve middle and high school students to conduct the work.

Local Foods

Fish to Schools- Learn about the “Fish to Schools” program, an innovative way to use local foods in school lunches as a teaching tool.

Tongass Resources

By Land and By Sea: Tourism in the Tongass- Learn why tourism is an important part of the Southeast economy.

The Bear Islands: Hunting in the Tongass- The benefits and impacts of bear hunting in the Tongass.

The Great Harvest: Fishing in the Tongass- Learn how salmon fishing supports local diets and the Southeast economy.


Recent Posts including Briefing Sheets:

  • What’s Cooking Sitka?

    What’s Cooking Sitka?

    Sitka Kitch is the recent community food project that arose from the 2013 Sitka Health Summit. SCS is spearheading this effort along with a committee of dedicated volunteers.  The overall goal of Sitka Kitch is to improve health, provide a new community resource and promote community development; all through the lens of food security. SCS has a [...]

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  • Tongass Red Alder

    Tongass Red Alder

    In 2010 USFS announced the Tongass Transition Framework, a plan to move away from the large scale timber industry and enhance economic opportunities in Southeast Alaska through stewardship and sustainable young growth timber harvesting. In the spring of 2013 SCS was awarded a Community Capacity and Land Stewardship (CCLS) Grant from the National Forest Foundation. [...]

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  • Gavan Forest: The Natural History

    Gavan Forest: The Natural History

    Check out this in-depth natural history of the Gavan Forest in Sitka, put together by naturalist Richard Carstensen.  Download the report HERE. Open publication – Free publishing – More alaska

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  • Mapping Tongass Forest Assets

    Mapping Tongass Forest Assets

    The Tongass National Forest is valuable for more than old growth timber clear-cutting: it’s the source of near limitless value to both residents and visitors, if used sustainably. Energy production, recreation, tourism, hunting, fishing, education and subsistence resources all rely on the continued health of the Tongass in order to continue bringing thousands of dollars [...]

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  • Review of Forest Restoration in the Tongass

    Review of Forest Restoration in the Tongass

    Bob Christensen, original member of SCS’s Groundtruthing Project team, recently completed a comprehensive review of forest restoration methods for The Wilderness Society. This very readable work provides a thorough background of the why, how, and where of restoring forest habitats in the Tongass National Forest. It also describes a concise method for prioritizing restoration locations [...]

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  • Guide to Tongass Young Growth Timber

    Guide to Tongass Young Growth Timber

    This school year, SCS partnered with the Sitka High School Construction Tech program to explore and demonstrate ways that young-growth red alder and Sitka spruce from the Tongass can be used in building and woodworking. The projects that resulted are profiled, along with others from throughout the region, in “Alaskan Grown: A Guide to Tongass [...]

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  • Wilderness Project 2011 Final Report

    Wilderness Project 2011 Final Report

    The Sitka Community Wilderness Stewardship Project seeks to connect communities with their local Wilderness areas by facilitating volunteer stewardship and monitoring.  Over the past three years, the project has been an overwhelming success and will be continuing in to 2012 and 2013. This is the Final Report for the 2011 Community Wilderness Stewardship Project.  Components [...]

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  • Ocean Boulevard Wildlife Improvement

    Ocean Boulevard Wildlife Improvement

    BACKGROUND: Clear-cut logging of the forests near False Island between 1967 and 1972 led to fast-paced, even-aged growth of new conifers, shrubs and herbaceous plants that is today causing serious problems for deer and other wildlife. After about 25 years of growth in a previously clear-cut area, conifers become so thick that understory shrubs and [...]

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  • Wilderness Expedition: Cross Baranof

    Wilderness Expedition: Cross Baranof

    Updated: 1/16/2010 The land enclosed in the borders of South Baranof Wilderness Area is steep, remote, and difficult to travel. Other than the intrepid mountain goat hunters, this area of the Wilderness receives almost no foot traffic. In August of 2011, as part of the Sitka Community Wilderness Stewardship Project, as expedition was organized to [...]

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  • 4H Way-of-Life Club: General Information

    4H Way-of-Life Club: General Information

    The Alaska Way-of-Life 4H Club seeks to connect youth to their natural environment through a number of hands-on, outdoor activities. Through parent and volunteer-led activities, youth are taught the skills to feel equipped while out in the Tongass National Forest. They are taught skills that relate to safety, like building survival kits and shelters, to  [...]

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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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