July 11, 2008
Forrest Cole, Tongass National Forest supervisor, and Joe Parrish, director of Southeast Alaska Guidance Association - Friends of the Tongass Cabins, recently signed an agreement that will establish a framework for cooperation and coordination between the two organizations and aims to benefit users of Tongass cabins.
"The Tongass offers outstanding recreation opportunities and some of the most popular facilities are the cabins," said Parrish. "We believe these cabins are a unique and irreplaceable public treasure that will need active public involvement and private financial support in order to remain viable and be available for future generations."
The Friends of the Tongass Cabins has set several goals to help fulfull this mission.
Some of these goals include serving as an advocate on behalf of the Tongass cabins program; to inform the public on maintenance and financial issues related to the cabins program; and to serve as a catalyst for bringing together groups which share an interest in maintaining the Tongass cabins program.
"In light of shrinking budgets and a streamlined workforce, partnerships like this one are vital for us to serve the recreational needs of the public," said Cole. "We have a unique system of public use cabins here that are highly valued by the people in Southeast Alaska and visitors from around the world."
According to Cole, another difficulty facing the Tongass is that most of the more than 150 cabins located here were built years ago and require increased maintenance and repair.
"I'm confident this partnership also will help us address this particular challenge," said Cole.
The Friends of the Tongass Cabins is a sponsored organization operating under the umbrella of the Southeast Alaska Guidance Association which provides jobs and youth training under contracts for construction and maintenance of recreational facilities.
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