Tongass Advisory Committee Establishes a Vision for Forest Management in Southeast Alaska
August 12, 2014
Over the course of three days last week in Ketchikan, the group discussed operating procedures and goals for the process; developed a vision; nominated co-chairs; and identified information needs and activities to assist with future deliberations. Throughout the discussions, the members worked to acknowledge the importance of the diverse values and interests represented within the group, and laid a foundation for a productive and collaborative tone as they discuss important issues facing the Tongass National Forest.
A glimpse of the Tongass
The members expressed a strong commitment to supporting Southeast Alaska communities through their recommendations. They developed a vision in which “Southeast Alaska is comprised of prosperous, resilient communities that have the opportunity to predictably use and benefit from the diversity of forest resources to achieve the social, economic, and ecological health of the region for current and future generations.” Co-chair Benner echoed this vision, “I am very impressed that 15 people can come to consensus and put community at the top of the list. That is the key that holds Southeast together.”
Quoting a news release, the Advisory Committee concluded the meeting" equally excited about the process and aware of the challenge of the task at hand".
The Advisory Committee concluded the diversity of its members, their collective experience, and their differing viewpoints offer great potential to develop recommendations for lasting solutions for forest management and young-growth timber in Southeast Alaska.
Co-chair Jungwirth reflected, “I am really impressed by the amount of knowledge, experience, and good-will at the table, and am very optimistic about the ability to move forward. At the same time, I am overwhelmed by the gravity of the situation. We have the responsibility to help create no losers through the solution – that includes local and national interests.” The members are aware of the value of a timely response in order to meet the deadline for incorporating their recommendations into the Tongass Forest Plan Amendment.
The Committee encourages interested members of the public to attend future meetings, and bring any new ideas and/or concerns before the TAC through the public comment process. The next meeting is scheduled for September 10-12, 2014 in Juneau, Alaska.