Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Keep America's Largest Forest Off of the Chopping Block

Keep America's Largest Forest Off of the Chopping Block

Earth Justice Takes Action to Protect Tongass National Forest

The Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska is the crown jewel of our nation's wild forests. At 17 million acres, the Tongass is home to a stunning variety of wildlife, including wild salmon, bears, eagles, and wolves. This key piece of our natural heritage should be preserved for future generations to enjoy, yet the Bush administration wants to open up 2.3 million acres of Tongass backcountry for roads and clearcut logging.
Tell the Forest Service that this pristine forest must be protected!
The landmark Roadless Area Conservation Rule was established in 2001 to protect natural treasures like the Tongass from exploitation and destruction, but in 2003 the administration announced that it would move to exempt the Tongass from Roadless Rule protections so that its timber industry friends could be free to move in with their chainsaws.
Lawsuits brought by Earthjustice on behalf of conservation groups and Alaska Native villagers were able to expose the flaws of this plan -- including a gross overestimation of timber demand -- and convince a federal court to send the administration's ill-conceived plan back to the drawing board.
But the revised plan still fails to protect 2.3 million acres of pristine forest that provide critical wildlife habitat, world-famous recreation opportunities, and jobs. On May 15, 2008, Earthjustice and many other conservation groups filed appeals with the Chief of the Forest Service seeking to protect these vital places.
Now is the time to tell the Forest Service to adopt a Tongass management plan that restores protections for the 2.3 million acres of wild forest now open to destruction. Our wild forests should be cherished and preserved for future generations, not used as an ATM for the timber industry.
Take action today!
Because the earth needs a good lawyer

P.S. Every voice counts! Please tell a friend to take action!

1 comment:

Phil said...

Interestingly you are passing along two pieces of misinformation that we on theTongass have been trying to correct for several months. The 2.3 million acres that you allege are being "opened to logging" were never closed off or set aside from logging. You make it sound like suddenly something is going to happen that could never have happened before, and that is incorrect. While this part is included in the Lands Suitable for Timber Harvest, it is not included in the first of the three Phases of the Adaptive Management Strategy to graadully log smaller portions of the roaded and loewr-value roadless areas where roads eist or are in close proximity to roads.

Secondly, part of the "jobs" you talk about for SE Alaska include logging, mill operators, truckers who haul the wood products, and the stores and businesses who buy and sell those wood prpoducts. They have economic and employmenet needs as well. But those jobs seem to be discounted as unnecessary.

Everyone who lives and works in SE Alaska is closely tied to the lands and the natural resources. For those of you down south, losing 150 or 200 jobs in an areas is nothing because there are thousands of other opportunities. For SE Alaska, losing even 25 jobs could mean the end of an entire commuity and its infrastructure - schools, clinics, banks, stores, everything. That goes for cultural and traditional communities as well - Tlingit and Haida Indians need the use and access to the natural resources to maintain their customary and traditional lifestyles - that includes some logging and resource extraction. The Forest Sservice works closely with the many publics and users of the natural resources here to make sure we provide the most advantageous land management to sustain those resources for perpetuity.

Across the US today, the national forests and state forests exist because of the concentrated and concerted efforts of professional foresters. In 1900 the western US was cut almost to bare ground in many places, with fewer than 100 million acres of forests existing anywhere across the whole country.

Now, after more than 10 years of Forest Service and state forest management, the forest structure exists at levels not seen since the mid-1800s - wildlife habitat, watersheds and water quality are all greatly improved andimproving every year. Instead of listing more endangered species, the country is taking animals off the list because of the managemenet and care we give to the Forests.

The US Forest Service is providing major benefits in natural resource sustainability adn restoration, providing conservation education and interpretation outreaches and programs to hundreds of thousands of school children and visitors to the Forests each year, and beginning to formluate approaches to climate change issues and bio-fuel answers for America's energy needs.

I work for the Tongass NF and live in the Forest, so I understand. Please, take the time to get out in the woods for yourself and find out the truths.