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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Open Letter: Skewed Process in Forming Tongass Advisory Committee

By David Beebe


May 05, 2015
Tuesday PM

To: Mr. Jason Anderson Deputy Forest Supervisor Petersburg Ranger District

The board of directors of the Greater Southeast Alaska Conservation Community collectively represents over two hundred years of experience on Tongass conservation issues. We are writing this open letter to express our displeasure on 2 counts: the skewed process the Forest Service used to form the Tongass Advisory Committee (TAC), and the predictably skewed product that committee is fabricating as evidenced by the current Draft Recommendations.

The advisory committee was formed by the Forest Service, ostensibly, to provide a diversity of views on how to transition the timber industry into Young Growth under the mandate of environmental, economic and social sustainability.

The Forest Service erred, first, by directing the TAC to develop a way to strengthen one industry alone: the timber industry. That’s hardly a sound basis for a legitimate alternative in TLMP.

This alternative was developed with no review by wildlife scientists.

It is an alternative with little or no meaningful representation of economic sectors which stand to be directly harmed by the TAC's recommendations (e.g., ecotourism, fishing, hunting, recreation.) This is unacceptable from a public agency.

Secondly, the Forest Service subverted democratic principles by hand-picking the representatives it wanted, to advance its own ends, rather than those who would be more broadly representative of long standing conservation concerns.

For example there are the 3 seats occupied by "conservationists." One is married to Tricia O'Conner, until recently, the Deputy Forest Supervisor for the Tongass. The other two are from Sitka, where they enjoy close working relationships with Ranger District staff, and have a history of funded collaboration with the agency. Nice enough guys, but hardly the face of Tongass conservation in the region. It is shameful that broad conservation representation was not provided by not including, for example, representatives from SEACC, or GSACC to diversify conservation representation on the committee.

We write this letter so the public understands how and why the FS has subverted the normal NEPA process. What we have now is a transparent charade of diversity, a programmed outcome, and an insult to public process.

Our members live, work, and recreate on the Tongass. We deserved an equal voice with others because this is about the future of our home.


David Beebe
President Greater Southeast Alaska Conservation Community (GSACC)
Kupreanof, Alaska


About: Dave Beebe, has been a southeast Alaskan resident and commercial fisherman in several different fisheries for over three decades.


Editor's Note: The Tongass Advisory Committee is meeting in Ketchikan at the Ted Ferry Civic Center on May 6-8, 2015 - Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week.

The committee is taking public testimony on Thursday morning May 7th, from 8:30 am to 9:30 at the Ketchikan Civic Center.

To download the agenda, click on the website link below or click here

All Tongass Advisory Committe's information concerning Public Comments & Past Meetings can be found at


Received May 04, 2015 - Published May 05, 2015



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