Protect the Tongass: Keep Our Public Lands Public

Protect_the_Tongass_Hike_Clearcut_Banner.png

The Tongass National Forest is our home.

The public lands of the Tongass are important for all Americans, but theyre essential for those of us who live here. This is where our families hunt, fish, gather food, and work on the land in ways that just aren't possible anywhere else in the country.

But Senator Murkowski wants to privatize it.

Senator Murkowski has introduced a suite of devastating bills that would:

  • Roll back the 2016 Tongass Plan Amendment and ramp up old growth clearcut logging in our forests;
  • Repeal the Roadless Rule in Alaska. This would put intact stands of important old growth habitat at risk of clearcutting, threaten crucial salmon and wildlife habitat, and burden taxpayers with the exorbitant cost of roadbuilding in these remote areas;
  • Require the government to buy back degraded lands from corporations that clearcut the forest;
  • Require the Forest Service to trade worthless gravel and rock beneath clearcut land for pristine forests with high value timber and very high value rare-earth metal mining rights;
  • Bypass the normal process of appraisal and result in a major loss for taxpayers and the American public;
  • Privatize thousands of acres of the Tongass National Forest.

Your voice matters!

Write to your senator below. We'll deliver your words straight to Washington, D.C.

If you want to submit your letter to your local newspaper, let us know! We can help you hone your argument and get your words published.


Showing 39 reactions

  • commented 2018-02-20 03:34:29 -0900
    Marian Allen, 907-738-1970

    829 Pherson St

    Sitka AK 99835

    February 18, 2018


    The Honorable Mike Lee

    Subcmte Chairman

    Subcmte on Public Lands, Forests and Mining

    U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Cmte

    Washington, DC 20510


    The Honorable Ron Wyden

    Subcmte Ranking Member

    Subcmte on Public Lands, Forests and Mining

    U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Cmte

    Washington, DC 20510


    Re: Testimony for the February 7, 2018 Subcommittee Meeting


    Dear Chairman Lee and Ranking Member Wyden,

    I am speaking to Sections 10, 11, 5 and 6 of S1481 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Improvement Act of 2017 but the general comments I make may apply to other parts of it as well. There are many reasons this is a bill that will harm the economic, spiritual and recreational life of SE Alaskans and American citizens, and it will hurt the planet. I want to make several points.

    Point #1

    No privatization of public lands! According to the Juneau Empire, February 19, 2016, “A 2006 estimate found the Tongass has the carbon equivalent of 8 percent of the Lower 48’s national forests’ carbon reserves put together. Now, that appears to be an underestimate. The Tongass, said U.S. Forest Service research soil scientist David D’Amore, has ‘definitely some of the highest (carbon stores) in the world’ per unit area. ‘I hesitate to say ‘the highest,’ because there are some forests in Indonesia that are pretty high, but we are in the top five,’ he said.” I’d say the Tongass is a hugely valuable bank account if left to thrive as a forest.

    Giving land to corporations that must make a profit results in massive clear-cut logging. That releases carbon into the atmosphere. It hurts our world. We can no longer put off taking action to mitigate climate change. In Alaska we see the ocean warming up; the “blob” (an area of warm water) off the coast of Southeast Alaska was a result of climate change; the ocean is becoming more acidic; the tundra is thawing; Arctic ice is no longer as thick or extensive as it was just a few years ago, and so villages have to move (and no funding for them to do that). We see climate change here. We cannot deny it if we are at all observant and thoughtful, and if we understand that weather does not equal climate.


    Point #2

    Public lands are available for all to use to support their culture, lifestyle, and spirituality. S1481, would privatize up to 175,000 acres of the Tongass. This land would go to private for-profit corporations whose legal mandate is to do their best to maximize profits to provide a dividend for their shareholders. In the Tongass that means cutting timber. Once the forest is gone, it negatively impacts the culture, lifestyle, and spiritualty of all of us, Native and non-Native alike. It also takes away that land’s ability to produce revenue until the regrowth is large enough for harvest again, a minimum of 60 years on the most productive land, but 100 or more years for most. In addition, this land will never regain the Old Growth characteristics needed for deer winter survival. In the long term, no one benefits when the old growth is gone and we local people can’t access key areas of local use and subsistence. The American citizens who own this land cannot enjoy its pristine beauty and bounty either. On Mitkof Island, a friend recounted to me watching his favorite hunting places being clear cut in the late 1960s, and to this day they are no longer viable to hunt in. The north facing streams in upper Tenakee Inlet are critical for salmon reproduction because they are dark and the snow pack above them maintains a consistent water flow for salmon spawning. The health of salmon spawning areas is critical for the health of our rainforest and its ecosystems, our culture, and an important food source locally, nationally and internationally. Southeast Alaska is salmon country. Hoonah Sound, another area available for privatization under 1481, is an area used by many Sitkans for subsistence and recreational uses as well as by commercial fishermen and tour guides. The results of privatizing more of the Tongass are not a formula for sustained wellbeing of the people of SE Alaska, the ecosystems of Southeast Alaska or the planet. 


    Point #3

    The economics of Southeast Alaska have moved into the 21st Century. Our primary economic drivers are tourism and commercial fishing, as well as subsistence activities, all of which are harmed by industrial scale logging. Fish streams are negatively impacted. Clear cut areas cannot be accessed for hunting and gathering or for hiking and are an eyesore for sightseers. The timber industry provides less than 1% of the revenue of the region. Industrial scale clear cut logging has always required subsidizing because of our geography. The only way that companies make any profit is by shipping logs out in the round, minimizing the economic benefit for local jobs and even US jobs as often they are sent to Asia. What is sustainable in our region are small “mom and pop” operations that provide local needs and value added processing. This is not what results from the Native for-profit corporations. The regional corporation, Sealaska, has been the worst steward of our land, hurting their very own shareholders’ ability to provide their subsistence foods.


    The economics of the Native corporations is also poor. The land that is their “bank account” disappears for a number of generations very quickly when they clear cut their timber. Many of the corporations have failed, and even at their best they have rewarded a small number of people disproportionately while leaving the majority of shareholders with little to show for the destruction of their traditional food sources. Sitka’s corporation, Shee Atika, is included in sections 6 and 7 of this bill because the land they clear cut decades ago is now worthless for a very long time, if not forever. Their management has rewarded itself at the expense of their shareholders and now wants the government to buy back their land. Many shareholders are opposed to losing their land. Recently I saw a sign in a car window in downtown Sitka urging other shareholders to speak up to save their land. The corporate model has not worked in addressing the claims of Natives for land that was theirs for thousands of years before Contact. Perhaps addressing redress to the tribes rather than creating corporations would create a better solution.


    Point #4

    When ANCSA was signed into law not all communities were included. Those Natives who did not join one of the urban corporations still were shareholders in the regional corporation; for Southeast Alaska that is Sealaska. Due to their landless status, they receive higher dividends than members of urban corporations. That fact is one that should be taken into consideration in any kind of settlement.


    One community included in the “Landless Claim” does not belong there. Studies have shown that there are no grounds for including Tenakee in the Landless group of communities. There is no history of a Native population with a settlement there, and that community has come out clearly opposing establishment of a corporation there. Not a single member of that corporation would reside in the town.


    I do support some resolution for most of the communities left out, but what does not make sense is handing over many acres of land for corporations to destroy using a failed model. What makes more sense is to protect that land to allow the continuation of spiritual activities and traditional food harvesting, both central to the survival of these important cultures. This could be done by paying the monetary value of the land into a fund that would be managed to provide a yearly dividend to its shareholders or tribal members. The land would receive a designation that would protect it in perpetuity for traditional uses. It would remain public, but recognized as the land of that tribe. In the future, should carbon credits become a reality, the value of the land could greatly increase, but if the fund were managed well it would help support traditional lifestyles without that as well. This may not be the solution, but it is time to think creatively and resolve this issue in a non-destructive way, both to the environment and the people.


    Point #5

    Again, I oppose the privatization of public lands to give Native Vietnam Veterans their own parcels of land for several reasons. The principal one is that of the role that the Tongass plays in climate change as I discussed above. In addition, I ask, why are Native Vietnam Vets singled out for land and the non-Native Vietnam Vets not included? There are many non-Native Vets who are lifelong Alaskans and have not known another home. Just omit this provision altogether.


    Summary

    In general, my comment is that ANCSA was a final land settlement when it was passed in 1971. In 2014 Senator Murkowski said the bill she submitted to Congress, and which passed giving Sealaska more land, was the final resolution. Ms Murkowski just wants to keep chipping away at privatizing the public land in Southeast Alaska for resource extraction, which ignores the successful and, if managed correctly, sustainable economic drivers here today. Maintaining the Tongass in public ownership allows residents and all Americans to use it for many sustainable purposes, and it protects many ecosystems that help mitigate climate change.
  • commented 2018-02-07 08:43:20 -0900
    I am strongly opposed to any privatization or land trade of any part of the Tongass National Forest. I favor wilderness designation for the entire park.
  • commented 2018-02-06 20:25:45 -0900
    Dear Senator Murkowski,

    As an Alaskan fish biologist for 26 years, all on the Tongass and Chugach forests, I am very concerned about the well being of our salmon streams and all water quality issues. My work focused on the effects of clear cuts on anadromous fish and know first hand that the vital fisheries industry is totally dependent on our fresh water streams. Although the Tongass Forest finally got some safe guards for fresh water streams in the 1990’s there are literally 1000’s of poor culverts and road issues throughout the Tongass. The economic impact of logging is minuscule compared to fish. Do not weaken or in any way endanger our essential fisheries resources. Thank you, Brenda Wright
  • commented 2018-02-06 19:46:14 -0900
    The Honorable Lisa Murkowski,


    I have lived in Tenakee Springs, Alaska since 1983. Over the decades I have come to appreciate the need for untrammeled lands.

    It is vital to our fish and game habitat and for current and future generations to maintain the lands that have not been roaded or logged in there natural state.

    I am opposed to any rollback of the 2016 Tongass plan amendment and strongly opposed to changes in the roadless rule.

    Furthermore I do not want to see any public lands privatized for any reason. The public lands were set aside for all of us and not to be exploited by private interests.

    Please don’t follow through with your bills that would contribute to long term harm to a national treasure for the benefit of a few.

    Sincerely ,

    Craig Mapes

    PO Box 46

    Tenakee Springs, Alaska 99841
  • commented 2018-02-06 19:07:31 -0900
    Dear Senator Murkowski,

    I write in strong opposition to your proposed S. 1481. Please protect the well being of our fish and forests and our access to public lands.

    Debby LeVeck, Sitka
  • commented 2018-02-06 18:30:00 -0900
    Please Senator, be as far seeing as you have been on women’s issues. Don’t privatize one of the last remaining wild places on our increasingly tiny planet! Please!
  • commented 2018-02-06 18:15:59 -0900
    This bill represents prescedent setting strategies that will define our future as Alaskans.

    Why else redirect recently decided Tongass legislation, in order to open our forests and waters to further degradation by the outsider interests of the world market?


    These actions represent ecological gerrymandering, a rearrangement of policy through the back door. All resident Alaskans should take note from historical results of similar actions of the past.


    There is great opportunity here for heroic action, and all Alaskans should call on Senator Merkowski to stand in her own heart in these matters, and to represent Alaska as one of the last great wilderness areas of the world.


    Senator Merkowski, we need the leader you could be. Reconsdider your position and alignment, this is not a party issue. Rather, it is a planetary issue desperately seeking the leader you could be.


    Jim Shepard / Sitka
  • commented 2018-02-06 17:54:27 -0900
    Dear Senator Murkowski,

    I oppose expanding private ownership and facilitating industrial resource extraction in the Tongass National Forest under S.1481. Local economies across Southeast Alaska already rely on contiguous undisturbed forest for predictable commercial harvests, dynamic tourism markets, and invaluable amenities. Please assign a realistic economic and social value to the intact and protected Tongass.

    Respectfully,

    Reber Stein
  • commented 2018-02-06 17:43:29 -0900
    Dear Senator Murkowski,
    I write in strong opposition to your proposed S. 1481. Please step back and rethink this legislation. It is a huge giveaway of the American public’s lands, a travesty for the American taxpayer and a debacle for those of us who call Southeast Alaska home.


    It is completely unacceptable to trade wild and timbered public lands for areas that private corporations have shamelessly harvested with none of the minimal protections that even the US Forest Service requires. This is harmful to wildlife, fisheries, and the people, both Native and non-indigenous, who depend on these resources and lands for their livelihoods and subsistence as well as peace of mind and a wonderful place to live and recreate.


    There are reasonable and fair means to compensate native peoples that do not include providing large acreages of forested lands for timber harvest as this bill proposes.


    Sealaska Corp should not be allowed to trade lands. It is unreasonable for them to expect taxpayers to trade away new lands for ones that just don’t seem to do the trick for the corporation and makes land use planning extremely difficult for the Forest Service.


    While it may be reasonable to compensate Shee Atika Corp for logged lands that can be incorporated into Admiralty Island Wilderness in the future, it is not reasonable to allow them to use such funds to purchase federal lands. Those should remain the property of the American people and not privatized.


    We value the ability to use public lands for hunting, recreating, and as sources for the fish and animals that we enjoy and consume. We do not want to see our wonderful Southeast Alaska filled with Private Property: Keep Out signs or requirements that we get permission to hike and explore and hunt on lands that by all rights belong to the American people, not big business.


    Please withdraw this bill and work with the entire gamut of people of SE Alaska and find an equitable and appropriate way to compensate native peoples that does not include mass privatization of public lands and threaten our way of life and the wonderful place we call home.


    Thank you,


    Sincerely,


    Steve Lewis
  • commented 2018-02-06 16:00:44 -0900
    Senator Murkowski:

    I oppose S1481 on many grounds.

    1. Public lands are available for all to use to support their culture, lifestyle, and spirituality.

    2.Private for-profit corporations destroy the land for those uses and will not even provide more revenue for a number of generations afterward. The corporate model is not working. Look at Shee-Atika.

    3. The claim for a corporation in Tenakee is unjustified. Legislation regarding the “Landless” in H.R. 2812 in the 105th Congress gave a different designation to Tenakee when it listed the communities eligible. It is unclear who those people who identify as Native Tenakeers are.

    4. According to the Juneau Empire, February 19, 2016, “A 2006 estimate found the Tongass has the carbon equivalent of 8 percent of the Lower 48’s national forests’ carbon reserves put together. Now, that appears to be an underestimate.

    The Tongass, said U.S. Forest Service research soil scientist David D’Amore, has “definitely some of the highest (carbon stores) in the world” per unit area. “I hesitate to say ‘the highest,’ because there are some forests in Indonesia that are pretty high, but we are in the top five,” he said.” I’d say the Tongass is a hugely valuable bank account if left to thrive as a forest.

    5. Large scale logging detracts from the economic drivers in SE: tourism and fishing, both of which can be sustainable if well managed. the economy of SE has moved on into the 21st Century.

    6. Large scale clear-cutting has always required subsidizing. Unless logs are exported in the round that situation minimizes jobs in SE.

    7. The Native corporations have been the worst stewards of the land and the massive quantity of clear cuts have hurt fish streams.

    8. Do something positive! Be creative in dealing with the Natives who were left out of ANCSA. Show us you care about climate change.
  • commented 2018-02-06 15:23:06 -0900
    The Tongass National Forest is our shared home. Efforts to privatize and exchange portions of the Tongass are not in the best interests of the people who live here and must be stopped.
  • commented 2018-02-06 15:13:38 -0900
    Dear Senator Murkowski and members of the Subcommittee,


    America – Land of the Free!

    Tongass National Forest – specific and perfect example of the meaning of Land of the Free!


    The public lands of the Tongass National Forest belong to EVERY person in Southeast Alaska and the U.S. – regardless of the person’s color, race, religion, land of origin – that means it belongs to more than 300 million people. Privatizing ever more and more of the Tongass is an end to public land piece by piece by piece. Each privatized parcel will belong to one person, or one corporation, rather than to millions of Americans. There are already enough private parcels in the Tongass, particularly in southern Southeast Alaska.


    The Tongass National Forest – Public Land = the ultimate in freedom! When I put my boat in the water in Juneau I can go anywhere I want – any cove, estuary, river, trail, beach, forest, or wetland and be able to camp, hike, or fish because they belong to me. No signs saying, “Private Property – Keep Out,” that delineate where my freedom ends. No fences delineating where my freedom ends. No private owner whose permission I need to get (and may not get or would have to pay to get) if I want to access the land to hunt, fish, camp, or berry pick.


    The value of this freedom, this ability to be self sufficient in gathering food, or this recreation is absolutely priceless. The economy of Southeast Alaska is doing just fine as things are right now. Please don’t change that! Don’t take this freedom away! Don’t privatize the lands that were designated as Wilderness or as Legislated LUD II that were supposed to be protected in perpetuity by acts of Congress – a promise to the American people and Southeast Alaskans! And don’t privatize the unprotected lands either – they are just as valuable as the protected lands in all the same ways, the only difference!


    I urge every committee member to come visit the Tongass, to meet the people who live here, and to see for yourselves what the ultimate in freedom looks like. It will change your mind about privatizing this incredible place little by little each year with yet one more piece of supposedly “final” legislation and then another and another …..


    Sincerely,

    Juliet Koehler

    Juneau, Alaska
  • commented 2018-02-06 15:09:55 -0900
    Senator Murkowski: I am and SEW AK resident and I use the Tongass Nat. Forest and want it to stay wild. I oppose the privatization of the Tongass and I oppose the federal government transferring the Tongass to the State of Alaska. Lets keep it wild for the generations to come!

    Burl Sheldon,

    Haines and Tenakee Springs, AK
  • commented 2018-02-06 14:51:26 -0900
    Senator Murkowski:


    No privatization of public lands! According to the Juneau Empire, February 19, 2016, “A 2006 estimate found the Tongass has the carbon equivalent of 8 percent of the Lower 48’s national forests’ carbon reserves put together. Now, that appears to be an underestimate.

    The Tongass, said U.S. Forest Service research soil scientist David D’Amore, has “definitely some of the highest (carbon stores) in the world” per unit area. “I hesitate to say ‘the highest,’ because there are some forests in Indonesia that are pretty high, but we are in the top five,” he said.” I’d say the Tongass is a hugely valuable bank account if left to thrive as a forest.

    Giving land to corporations that must make a profit results in massive clear-cut logging. That releases carbon into the atmosphere. It hurts our world. We can no longer put off taking action to mitigate climate change. In Alaska we see the ocean warming up; the blob was a result of climate change; the ocean is becoming more acidic; the tundra is thawing and Arctic ice is no longer as thick or extensive as it was just a few years ago, and so villages have to move (and no funding for them to do that). We see climate change here. We cannot deny it if we are at all observant and thoughtful, and if we understand that weather does not equal climate.


    What are you doing to deal with these very serious problems your constituents are facing? More oil wells does not address this problem, but aggravates the situation. Continuing massive clear-cut logging by rescinding the experts’ and stakeholders’ plan to manage the Tongass aggravates the problem. Privatizing parts of the Tongass aggravates the problem if the land is given to for-profit corporations. Those corporations will have to clear-cut log to provide dividends to their shareholders. The corporate model does not work for this situation. More creative solutions to this problem must be found, solutions that protect and enhance the people’s ability to maintain their culture and subsistence traditions. These would help protect the Tongass, also, and help mitigate climate change.


    You are in a powerful position in Congress, one who could actually bring about positive movement for our state – and for the world. Please do!!
  • commented 2018-02-06 14:17:06 -0900
    Dear Honorable Senator Murkowski,

    As the largest National Forest and the only one that allows the clear cutting of old growth I urge you to take a more reasonable stance on preserving the remaining intact watersheds that provide the needed habitat for our five species of salmon. Our work as a family logging business highlights how we can, through the selective process, still provide timber in a sustainable way. Any privatization of public lands is a tremendous loss to the American people: I urge you to try focusing on the future instead of short term gain. The only responsible position is one that enhances and restores our National Forest and the important habitat that it provides for all of us life forms that live here.

    Respectfully~ Gordon Chew/Tenakee Springs
  • commented 2018-02-06 13:49:13 -0900
    Dear Senator Murkowski:

    I am writing to urge you not to advance any legislation that privatizes more of the Tongass National Forest. At the same time, I urge you to invite concerned parties to work together in crafting alternative approaches, non-legislative as well as perhaps legislative, to the issues. Specifically, it is essential to acknowledge that the entire Tongass is imbued with Native history, culture, family lineages and story. That acknowledgement should lead to concrete changes that give Native people stature and participation and leadership roles in management of the Tongass. Proper protection and stewardship of important Native places on the forest, including Native people and institutions in that stewardship, is but one of the changes needed. The Tongass is a national forest for the American people, it is a forest that southeast Alaska residents from all walks of life depend on and enjoy, it is a forest that supports wildlife and fish of great value for food and businesses as well as recreation and general appreciation — and it is fundamentally a Native forest. That the entire Tongass originally belonged to Native people should never be forgotten. If we can get Tongass management right, finally, there might no longer be a need to seek to pull more and more land out of the Tongass. Therefore, I hope you will support efforts to bring people together to design alternatives and make the Tongass much more of a Native place, not just for recognition of the past but for living people, rather than transferring more Tongass land into private ownership.


    I would also like to endorse the position of the City of Tenakee Springs and the Chichagof Conservation Council. I am a landowner in Tenakee Inlet and have come to know many residents who rely on the productivity of the Inlet’s intact salmon watersheds for food as well as fishing and seafood businesses. Many residents live a true subsistence, mixed cash lifestyle and depend on old growth forest habitat for venison, furs, other wild foods, wood for building their homes and boats, and other materials. Private logging of any of the important salmon watersheds will pose big impacts for people and families, therefore I urge you to make sure they stay in public ownership and keep the management practices in federal law and in the Tongass Forest Plan. In addition, I would like to point out that two watersheds in particular, Trap Bay and Kadashan, were protected by Congress in 1990 in the Tongass Timber Reform Act, which was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, as “Legislative LUD II Areas” not to be logged and to be kept free of roads. Please make sure that no legislation is advanced that would diminish the legal protections already afforded by Congress to Kadashan and Trap Bay.


    Thank you very much for your consideration,


    John Sisk
  • commented 2018-02-06 13:49:05 -0900
    Dear Sen. Murkowski

    I urge you not to diminish protections for old growth in the Tongass. This public land has been hammered enough already. Our Old growth is vital to sustaining our fisheries and susbsistence lifestyles and ,not least of all, carbon sequestering in this time of radical climate change in the arctic and subarctic.


    Thank you
  • commented 2018-02-06 13:27:16 -0900
    Senator Murkowski, do not proceed with removing the protections of the Tongass that are just now beginning to show progress toward restoring damaged fish habitat. Fish is a renewable resource that should not be traded for intense resource extraction.
  • posted about this on Facebook 2018-02-06 13:04:25 -0900
    Protect the Tongass
  • commented 2018-02-06 13:03:59 -0900
    Do not privatize public lands of the Tongass! No more clearcut logging in our forests. Save old growth habitat. Very few Alaskans see benefits of sale of our wood according to Dept. Labor statistics. Our wealth is in our forests!
  • commented 2018-02-05 15:54:52 -0900
    Dear Senator Murkowski,

    My husband and I live and work in Tenakee Springs and Tenakee Inlet. The health of this inlet is what brought us to Tenakee, and the reason we plan to stay and start a family here. As a hunting guide, my husband’s work relies on wild, public lands and healthy salmon populations. I’m disappointed in SB 1481 and what it could do to the areas we love and depend on. Please work to keep land healthy and in public hands.

    Thanks,

    Megan Moody
  • commented 2018-02-05 08:19:53 -0900
    Please keep our lands public!

    I have been an active resident, an assembly member and supporter of the economy and growth of Sitka for 45 years and access to the wilderness is the main reason I have stayed. It is the main reason most young people I know choose to stay as well. Please realize this. It is critically important to our economy and overall health of our community. If you take away our untethered access to OUR forest and waterways you will help destroy our struggling economies. It IS the reason we thrive emotionally AND economically.

    Big business, be it native owned or not, and high levels of resource extraction is not the answer.


    If you are interested in conversation about my views, which are well founded, please just ask.


    Thank you for your time and all the good things you do for our beautiful and well loved state of Alaska.


    Most Sincerely,

    Phyllis Hackett
  • commented 2018-02-04 15:41:29 -0900
    Dear Senator Murkowski, I urge you to support the healthy productive salmon bearing streams of Tenakee inlet. For healthy commercial and subsistence use this inlet has enormous value. It should never be privately owned. Thank you. Wendy Stern
  • commented 2018-02-04 15:26:32 -0900
    Dear Senator Murkowski, We were proud of you, when you stood up for health care. But now, we feel you are betraying the very values of health and well-being by the damage your legislation threatens to the Tongass, which is our home and the source of food and quiet. We have worked hard with many people to protect our inlet and the forests around our home. Please help keep them safe from destructive logging (clearcutting) and the damage that will come from privatizing them. They are our heritage. They are Alaska’s heritage. Please please protect them. The short-term profit is in no way worth the value of intact forests and watersheds. Please take the long view of this. Thank you, Kathleen Dean Moore
  • commented 2018-02-03 10:03:03 -0900
    Dear Senator Murkowski,

    In the past year I’ve been grateful for some of the positions you’ve taken on social issues, and have called your office on several occasions to say thank you. However I am deeply disappointed by your attempts to privatize the public lands of the Tongass, and want to express my opposition in the strongest possible terms.

    Abundant salmon are the key to sustainability in Southeast Alaska. In the 42 years I’ve lived in the same small Chichagof Island community I’ve seen firsthand how the boom-and-bust liquidation of old growth timber is the exact opposite of a sustainable economy, and caused irreparable harm to salmon-producing watersheds. We have returned to a stable fishing economy now, and the overwhelming majority of wage earners in our small town are either commercial permit holders, deckhands, guides or connected to support industries. Of course everyone also depends on salmon for healthy food on the table.

    I am particularly concerned about the still-pristine streams of Upper Tenakee Inlet. Through my personal observation of changes in weather and precipitation patterns over the course of four decades, I am convinced that geography and terrain makes those north facing streams immensely valuable to salmon threatened by rapid climate change.

    Upper Tenakee Inlet is cold and dark. Everyone who lives here knows that. Last April there was still four feet of snow on the beach at the head of Tenakee Inlet at the same time flowers were blooming in the lower Inlet. That deep snow pack ensures adequate water in the richly productive salmon streams up the Inlet, even as temperatures rise.

    The opposite is true of formerly mighty rivers like Kadashan in the lower Inlet. That river used to be supported by snow pack all summer. That is no longer the case. Those rivers now must depend on rainfall in the summer. When the weird periods of hot dry weather we’ve seen in the last decade coincide with spawning time, their salmon are in trouble.

    Please remember your responsibility to future generations. Public lands are good for everyone.

    Sincerely

    Molly Kemp
  • commented 2018-02-03 06:34:47 -0900
    dont you know when it is gone, its gone….will all the perks given you and your deep pockets protect you from reality ?
  • commented 2018-02-03 06:34:46 -0900
    dont you know when it is gone, its gone….will all the perks given you and your deep pockets protect you from reality ?
  • commented 2018-02-02 20:09:07 -0900
    Dear Senator:


    The Tongass is one of the last five remaining old growth temperate rainforests on the planet, with towering trees approaching ages up to 1000 years. As the largest National Forest in the country, the Tongass spans 17 million acres of public lands that belong to all Americans.


    There’s no doubt about it: our public lands are one of our country’s best ideas and one of our most important legacies. The Tongass National Forest is a national treasure and destination that supports huge tourism and fishing economies.


    In spite of all of this, Senator Lisa Murkowski is trying her hardest to privatize the Tongass and clearcut the last remaining old growth stands within it.


    Senator Murkowski has introduced a suite of devastating bills that would:
    Roll back the 2016 Tongass Plan Amendment and ramp up old growth clear-cut logging in our forests;
    Repeal the Roadless Rule in Alaska, opening up intact stands of important old growth habitat to clearcutting, threatening crucial salmon and wildlife habitat, and burden taxpayers with the exorbitant cost of road-building in these remote, roadless areas;
    Require the government to buy back degraded lands from corporations that clear-cut and left lands in a degraded state;
    Require the Forest Service to trade worthless gravel beneath clearcut land for pristine forests with high value timber and very high value rare-earth metal mining rights;
    Bypass the normal process of appraisal and be a major loss for taxpayers and the American public;
    Privatize thousands of acres of the Tongass National Forest.


    One thing is very clear: it’s taxpayers and local Southeast Alaskans who lose if these bills pass and our public lands are privatized. We lose access to thousands of acres of our public lands. We lose some of the last remaining old growth stands, which can never get back. And we lose our legacy, the vast tracts of public lands we want to conserve for future generations, so they can enjoy and live off of these forests, too.

    Your voice counts! Click here to write a letter to your Senator.


    I urge you not to support these bills or even let them get out of committee.
    Regards,
    Thomas w. Nelson
  • commented 2018-02-02 19:40:40 -0900
    I have backpacked, camped and hiked in the Tongas National Forest. I oppose any privatization and land trades of this public property. It should not be managed for the short term gain of a few.
  • @ravensitka tweeted link to this page. 2018-02-02 19:01:36 -0900

Do your part to
protect
the Tongass

Take Action Become A Member