Tongass twisted: Alaska salmon habitat loses clearcutting protections

National Fisherman

As expected, the Trump administration has removed a 2001 Roadless Rule exemption for more than 9 million acres of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest.

A notice posted in the Federal Register on Wednesday, Oct. 28, confirms the plans indicated in the final environmental impact statement, released in September, to open lands to the removal of old-growth trees and the construction of logging roads after nearly 20 years of protection.

“I’m disappointed,” said Seth Stewart of Yakobi Fisheries in Pelican, Alaska. “Exempting the Tongass National Forest and opening 9.3 million acres to old growth logging is a shot in the gut to fishing and tourism businesses in Southeast Alaska that have been driving the economy in Southeast Alaska for decades.”

The Tongass produces more salmon than all other national forests combined, according to Trout Unlimited, and the fishing and tourism industry supported by the intact forest account for more than 25 percent of local jobs in the region.

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