By Hannah Wilson
March 30, 2007
I have spent my entire life hiking, camping, fishing and boating in and around the Tongass, and I hope to spend the rest of my life being able to enjoy the big playground in my backyard. We need to protect this valuable piece of wilderness, in a world where wilderness is quickly shrinking.
Continued road building and clear cutting of our national forest is a huge waste of a natural resource. Although our forest is called a renewable resource, much of it is an old growth forest, and if we cut it down, it will take generations to grow back.
Instead of clear cutting and building more roads in our roadless watersheds, why not support the many communities that rely on a healthy Tongass. We need to maintain the USFS roads built already, build more trails, cabins, and remote camping areas, restore deer habitat and salmon spawning streams. These activities all help to create jobs, support tourism, and generally support the many businesses that use the Tongass daily to make their livelihood.
Clear cutting destroys forests and salmon spawning streams, negatively impacts communities like Tenakee Springs, and stops tourism dead in its tracks. I spend a lot of my summer in Tenakee Inlet and know that much of the community depends on subsistence hunting and fishing as well as commercial fishing, tourism and guiding that are benefits of a healthy, intact Tongass. It is hard to believe that the U.S. Forest Service could recommend clear cutting in roadless areas like Upper Tenakee Inlet, when so much of S.E. Alaska has existing logging roads that can support local, small-scale timber harvesting. We need to protect the roadless areas and irreplaceable old growth forest we still have.
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