National headlines have already reported on a push within Congress to privatize our public lands. A slew of bills have been introduced that would transfer almost 3 million acres out of the Tongass National Forest. Around Sitka, this could mean that we lose all of the False Island road system lands, big tree/big buck forests in Hoonah Sound, and a constellation of in-holders in all of the best places to fish and hunt. These bills are a threat to subsistence, access, and our national heritage.
We are living in a time of uncertainty- it is unclear which stance the Trump Administration will take on the privatization of public lands. This holds huge implications for our way of life in Southeast Alaska, and we want to send a clear message about our stance on public lands now.
Southeast Alaskans are going to Washington DC in February to speak out against land transfers and to help ensure that nothing is done to harm the most valuable fish producing watersheds in the Tongass. Please help them by showing your support. Add your name, your fishing vessel’s name, or your organization's name to this petition. They will carry it with them to Congress and tell them that we are standing together to protect our public lands.
Please complete the form to sign onto this letter and let our elected officials and agency decision makers know you support our public lands. Originally published by Trout Unlimited.
We, the undersigned business owners, guides, outfitters, hunters and fishermen, and concerned Americans support conserving and maintaining access to our public lands and the fish and wildlife resources they support.
Public lands, and the Tongass National Forest in particular, drive the private-sector economy of Southeast Alaska. The Tongass’ abundant salmon runs, large deer and bear populations, and incredible scenery serve as the foundation for our commercial fishing, outfitter and guide, and tourism industries, which provide more than $2 billion in economic contribution and 25% of all jobs in the region annually.
As individuals that depend on access to abundant natural resources, we believe the Tongass National Forest must continue to be managed by the U.S. Forest Service on a multiple-use basis. We stand together in opposition to any effort to transfer management or ownership of Federal public lands in Southeast Alaska to State or private entities. We likewise oppose any proposals that threaten to unreasonably restrict public access or would harm fish and game populations by eliminating essential federal conservation designations and measures, such as the Tongass 77.