16
Jul
2004

Tell Forest Service to Stay Out of Tongass Roadless Areas

Forest Service Opens Remarkable Roadless Rainforest Area to Chainsaws

Despite overwhelming public sentiment against it, the Forest Service announced the first timber sale in a part of the Tongass National Forest that has been protected from new roads and commercial logging.

The Threemile timber sale on lush Kuiu Island is an outrageous surrender of protection for profit. It is almost certainly only the first of many such assaults on Tongass roadless areas. Please tell the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service today how strongly you oppose this roadless area timber sale.

You can take immediate action from
//ga1.org/campaign/tongass/wd8ks5x4hib66e


About Tongass Roadless Areas

When the last Administration signed the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, America's largest national forest, the Tongass in southeast Alaska, was the major beneficiary. In all, the roadless rule declared 58.5 million acres of roadless national forest land off limits to commercial logging and to most new road construction. Together with the Chugach National Forest in south-central Alaska, our second largest, these two accounted for one quarter of the roadless lands protected under the milestone rule.

Even though millions of Americans spoke in support of the roadless area protection rule, the Bush Administration exempted the two Alaska forests from the rule a year ago. And, as we reported to you yesterday in a special WildAlert bulletin, the administration has now unveiled a scheme to repeal the rule entirely.

The Tongass sale is the first since that exemption. Combined with the plan to repeal the roadless rule, it is an ugly harbinger of what's in store for other pristine areas of our national forests across the country.

The Forest Service is planning 50 timber sales for Tongass roadless areas over the next 10 years, this at a time when the market for Tongass logs is so poor that the Forest Service is actually letting loggers surrender timber sales they've already bought.

Coastal Rainforest, Pristine No More

The Threemile timber sale would log over 650 acres of now-pristine coastal rainforest. The project entails 8 miles of new road, slashing into the Kuiu Island's remarkable Rocky Pass and Camden areas, a wonderfully scenic complex of lush green islands, deep blue fiords and rock-filled channels. Once the first logging road enters an area, it's usually just a matter of time before it is extensively clearcut.

The island is within the traditional territory of the Kake Tlingit people who have long depended on its splendid habitat for hunting, fishing and gathering wild food and medicines.

Rocky Pass, with its unusual and scenic rock formations, is a world-class sea-kayaking area and a popular destination for guided kayak tours. Productive saltwater bays in the targeted area provide local commercial fishers from surrounding communities crab, shrimp, salmon and halibut. Its wildlife roster is a mini-catalog of Alaskan species: wolf, moose, bear, marten, river otter, beaver, Sitka black-tailed deer, goshawk, bald eagle. Sandhill cranes, Canada geese and several other species of waterfowl use and nest in the area.

Propping Up An Industry To Cut It All Down

It is tragically ironic that logging on the Tongass is a large-scale money-loser without taxpayer subsidies for building logging roads. The House of Representatives voted in mid-June to end precisely those subsidies on the Tongass. (The Senate has yet to pass a similar measure.)

A second roadless sale, the Gravina Island timber sale, is lurking in the wings and is likely to be announced shortly. It, too, would have been prohibited by the roadless rule and would be similarly uneconomic without your tax dollars.

How You Can Help: Contact The Forest Service Today

It is terribly important to register our strong disapproval of this decision with the man who made it, Dale Bosworth, the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. You can send that message to him immediately at
//ga1.org/campaign/tongass/wd8ks5x4hib66e

If you'd like to write your own message, in your own words (and we hope you will!) there's a sample message below with the major points.

You can also call Chief Bosworth's office and tell him that you oppose ALL logging projects in roadless areas of the Tongass National Forest, including the Threemile sale and the proposed Gravina Island timber project.

Contact Information

Dale Bosworth
Chief, U.S. Forest Service
201 14th Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20250
E-mail: dbosworth@fs.fed.us
Phone: 202-205-1661
Fax: 202- 205-1765

Sample Letter

Dear Chief Bosworth:

I strongly oppose your decision on the Threemile logging project in the Tongass National Forest and I urge you to reconsider it. I support, equally strongly, the protection of all roadless areas remaining on the Tongass. I urge you to reject any proposal to clearcut and develop pristine areas of the Tongass.

The Threemile project hurts taxpayers, harms our nation and should not proceed. The Tongass is both our largest National Forest and the largest temperate zone rainforest on the planet. We should guard its values jealously and pass these wild and unroaded places on to the next generation in the hope that they will be wiser than we seem to be about their care. The Forest Service should not allow logging in the beautiful Rocky Pass or Camden areas.

Logging roadless areas of the Tongass is a supremely bad decision. It is one that Americans should not have to pay for, either in subsidies or through the loss of irreplaceable wildness and wildlife.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
(Your name and address)
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