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, tell the Forest Service to:
- Adopt Alternative 5 of the amendment. But please get out of old growth logging sooner. Fifteen years is way 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.
- Make Fish Bay an old growth reserve as it is an important spot for hunting, salmon production, and 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 effects of climate change on the natural resources we depend on for our 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.
Photo by Ellie Schmidt