The Trump administration has proposed lifting logging restrictions on Tongass National Forest. The proposal would allow for roads to be built in an area that had been previously designated as part of Alaska’s roadless rule. The roadless rule is currently in effect for 9.2 million acres of the total 16.8 million. This doesn’t mean that all roads are banned, just major infrastructure roads that would be built to make logging easier.
Tongass National Forest is referred to as the Amazon of the North. The Nation’s largest national forest has a vast amount of wildlife, old-growth forest, and biodiversity. Only about 4% of the remaining old-growth forests from California to Alaska still exist. The U.S forest service has been allowing clear cuts to occur in old-growth forests of the Tongass Forest every year and is the only national forest still allowing these practices.
Proponents of lifting road restrictions say it will bring money to the region and lessen the damage forest fires can cause by being able to fight fires more effectively and thinning the forest. What most proponents leave out is the financial benefit that intact forests provide from tourism and the fishing industry to the saved expenses relating to water quality and the upkeep of roadways. The Tongass National Forest is also a very import Carbon Sink, important when it comes to climate change. At a time when we need these places the most, the current U.S government is actively working against it.
Written by Justin Stanphill