In just two minutes, filmmaker Ben Hamilton captures some of the reasons the Tongass is so remarkable:
The Tongass National Forest is the largest forest in the National Forest System. Weighing in at 17 million acres, it encompasses almost the entire Southeast Alaska Panhandle. The Southeast is sprinkled with small towns that have built economies around the resources that the Tongass provides. As a community, Sitka is no different, and is intrinsically connected to the Tongass National Forest. We rely on its resources and all management decisions have repercussions that resonate within the community socially, economically and ecologically. Once a typical timber pulp town, the community now concentrates on the other assets and experiences the Tongass has to offer.
Established in 1967 by Sitkans, the Sitka Conservation Society works with a wide variety of partners and stakeholders to protect the natural environment of the Tongass for the sustainability of the communities, plants, and animals that rely on it. Our mission is focused on protecting large areas of intact habitat that produce prolific fish and wildlife populations, allow these species to evolve and adapt to the impacts of climate change, while supporting ecosystem function in ways that have been damaged and disconnected in many other places on the planet. We work towards our vision through policy advocacy, policy formulation, and project implementation. We organize around and advocate for policies that protect the health of the land that we depend on for our food security, climate resilience, and economic livelihoods. We provide leadership in natural resource management by participating in local fish and game advisory committees and federally convened bodies that craft land management policies. We also implement projects that demonstrate our conservation values in action, such as showcasing sustainable uses of local lumber, improving local recreation infrastructure, and monitoring invasive species spread in Wilderness areas.