The U.S. Forest Service has announced a review of the status of the National Roadless Rule in the Tongass National Forest to consider restoring protections for over 9 million acres that were opened to new roadbuilding, development, and old-growth logging in 2020.
The Tongass National Forest is iconic of the United States' conservation legacy and emblematic of our conservation future. It is an essential component of the way of life for Alaskans who live in Southeast Alaska, and it is a premier destination for hunters, anglers and outdoor recreationists from across the country. With over 9 million acres of previously protected roadless areas, the Tongass hosts the nation’s largest undeveloped, old-growth forest that provides irreplaceable habitat for some 400 species, including popular game species like Sitka blacktail deer, black bear, brown bear and mountain goats.
The Tongass is not only the largest national forest in the United States with the most old-growth trees; it also serves as one of the world’s largest salmon spawning areas. Salmon form the basis of an incredible food web that feeds the entire forest. Black and brown bears, bald eagles, Dolly Varden, cutthroat trout and myriad other species thrive off the nutrients provided by annual salmon runs, including the trees that provide shade and shelter in the streams and rivers. Aside from the benefits that healthy salmon habitat provides to the forest, salmon fishing (commercial, recreational and subsistence) makes up a large segment of the Southeast Alaskan economy. Southeast Alaskans rely upon healthy fish and wildlife habitat in the Tongass, and hunters and anglers from around the world travel to enjoy the opportunities found in this region.
We encourage Alaskans and all others who enjoy hunting, angling and recreating in our national forest lands to voice their support for the Roadless Rule in the Tongass to ensure a healthy and sustainable future for this irreplaceable old-growth forest. Join BHA in commenting to the Forest Service to support restoring the Roadless Rule in the Tongass.