Help keep logging out of the Tongass
Wolves, bears, bald eagles and centuries-old trees all live in the Tongass National Forest — but without a change of rules, the logging industry could soon chop down their home.
Now is our chance to save this crucial forest.
Last fall, the Trump administration suspended protections for untouched stretches of this vast Alaskan forest, which has been overexploited by logging for years.1 For Alaska’s wildlife — and for our entire planet — we need to protect this forest.
Until Jan. 24, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be accepting public comments on whether or not to reinstate Roadless Rule protections for the Tongass, which would protect 9 million acres of forest. We need to make our voices heard and tell the USDA to save this crucial forest.
The Tongass is a natural treasure.
The Tongass was shaped by ice. Thousands of years ago, huge glaciers moved across the landscape, carving deep fjords and mountain passes as they went. Roughly 14,000 years ago, the glaciers began to melt, and trees started to take root — giving birth, in time, to what would become the Tongass National Forest.
The largest national forest in the United States, the Tongass is defined by its wilderness. The forest itself contains 19 distinct Wilderness Areas — places officially designated for preserving untouched ecosystems that show little impact from humans.2 In their own ways, each of them shows off the different features that make the Tongass the magical place that it is.
Home to old-growth trees that have patiently watched the centuries pass, the Chuck River Wilderness has no trails through it. Instead, visitors can stand amidst the trees and just listen to the forest.
Reaching about 35 miles inland, the Russell Fjord brings the frigid Pacific waters inland and fresh river water out. Streaming down from the cold mountains, rivers run through forested valleys and empty into the fjord. Seals swim its waters, while bears, wolves and mountain goats roam through the trees on its shores.3
The beaches on the southern half of Baranof Island give way inland through a forest of spruce and hemlock to the waterfalls, glaciers and tall mountain peaks of South Baranof Wilderness. River otters swim its streams while bald eagles soar above.4
These are only a few areas of the Tongass, but they emblematize the wildlife and natural beauty that make the park unique. This place, and its wild inhabitants, deserve to keep their home undisturbed.
Take action to protect the Tongass and our climate.
The Tongass’ untouched wilderness isn’t the only thing worth protecting.
Forests across the Earth are vital for pulling planet-warming carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing them in their trees. According to recent research, 44% of all carbon stored in America’s national forests is held in the Tongass.5
Loggers who fell the forest’s trees do more than destroy the homes of the birds and squirrels that make that tree their home — they also unplug one of our planet’s most important greenhouse gas vacuum cleaners.
We have to protect this forest. Tell the USDA to restore protections for the Tongass.
- Jacob Resneck, “Biden administration begins Roadless Rule do-over for Tongass,” Alaska Public Media, November 22, 2021.
- “Tongass National Forest,” U.S. Forest Service, last accessed December 9, 2021.
- “Russell Fjord Wilderness,” Wilderness Connect, last accessed December 9, 2021.
- “South Baranof Wilderness,” Wilderness Connect, last accessed December 9, 2021.
- Sage Smiley, “Tongass holds more than 40% of all carbon stored by national forests,” KTOO, April 1, 2021.