Voice Your Support for the Roadless Rule on the Tongass

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Click here to submit a comment on the Roadless Rule with our new comment writing tool!

The Roadless Rule is a 2001 federal rule that protects the last wild lands in our national forest system from road-building, mass resource extraction, and timber harvest. It was created to honor our public lands and to protect clean water, productive wildlife habitat, and vast intact ecosystems.

So what does the Roadless Rule actually do? On the Tongass, the Roadless Rule conserves over 9 million acres of public lands that support our fishing and visitor industries, subsistence harvest activities, and recreation areasIt prevents new road construction to access the last vestiges of old-growth forest for industrial scale clear-cut logging, while providing exceptions for important community development initiatives such as hydro-power projects and transportation corridors. The Roadless Rule protects the integrity of key salmon-producing watersheds that we depend on for our livelihoods and nourishment. It protects intact old growth forest that Sitka black-tailed deer depend on for winter habitat. In turn, Southeast Alaskans depend on the deer for food during the winter. The old-growth of the Tongass is a huge carbon sink, and the Roadless Rule keeps that carbon out of the atmosphere. By protecting the old-growth forests of the Tongass, the Roadless Rule sustains our economies and our way-of-life.

The State of Alaska is trying to roll back all of this progress and exempt the Tongass from the Roadless Rule. Our Congressional Delegation and Governor are ignoring the wishes of the people they represent and are pushing hard for a full exemption. Exempting the Tongass from the Roadless Rule would endanger the last remaining areas of intact old growth forest and key watersheds that currently support our communities, cultures, and economy.

Your voice counts! We are in the final public comment writing stage — this is your last chance to tell the Forest Service why you care about protecting Roadless areas on the Tongass. Are you from Southeast Alaska? Submit a comment by December 17 with our online writing tool!

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Senator Murkowski is Playing Politics with the Tongass

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When Senators want to hide their legislation from the public, they will introduce it on Friday afternoons. When they really want to hide something, they'll do it on a Friday afternoon before a 3-day weekend. Senator Murkowski really has something to hide because she introduced a bunch of legislation that plays politics with the Tongass on the Friday afternoon before a beautiful Memorial Day weekend in Southeast Alaska.

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Protect Wild Tongass Salmon!

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The Forest Service is making changes to the Tongass forest plan and needs your help!


What exactly is the Tongass forest plan and why is it important?

The Tongass Land Management Plan is similar to a town or city zoning map for the 17-million-acre Tongass National Forest. It designates which lands are available for timber harvests and which lands are off-limits to development, such as Wilderness areas. Right now, the Forest Service is amending the plan and is accepting input from the public.  As an advocacy organization that works to conserve the temperate rainforests of the Tongass, the Sitka Conservation Society has taken an active role in the amendment process. We want you to be involved too. The Forest Service needs to hear from you that you care about protecting salmon, old-growth forests, and wildlife habitat.


How can I show that I support wild Alaskan salmon? What points should I highlight in my letter?

A great place to start is writing your own letter or email to the Forest Service. Emails can be sent to: [email protected]  We encourage you to write your own unique letter using some of the talking points below. Please consider SCS staff as a resource - if you want to get together to help outline your letter, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


In your letter, encourage the Forest Service to:

  • Adopt Alternative 5 of the amendment but end old growth logging as soon as possible. Fifteen years is too long to continue cutting old growth. 
  • Accelerate the offering of young growth timber and to decrease the amount of old growth timber sales that they prepare. The Forest Service must use the best available science (both ecology and economics science) when developing a young growth timber program.
  • Protect salmon habitat and vital salmon streams. Specifically ask the Forest Service to ensure that Tongass 77 watersheds, Audubon/TNC priority conservation areas, phase 2 and 3 lands, and roadless areas are taken out of the old growth timber pool. Timber harvest should not occur in these areas.
  • Protect wildlife habitat.
  • Do a better job supporting the real economic drivers in Southeast Alaska: tourism and fishing.
  • Actively plan for and manage the Tongass to address the implications of climate change on the natural resources we depend upon for our very livelihoods.

I prefer handwriting. Can I send my letter in via mail?

YES. Absolutely! Use the address below to send in a letter:


Earl Stewart, Tongass Forest Supervisor

Attn: Forest Plan Amendment

648 Mission Street Ketchikan, AK 99901

Submit your comments TODAY! The comment period ends February 22, 2016.


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