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Saving Tongass National Forest Written by Cindy Shogan

The other day, I had a realization about the future of the Tongass National Forest: It’s like piecing together a puzzle.

We all know that the forest’s ecosystem is intricately balanced between salmon, bears and old-growth trees – but the network of human interests is just as complex. Conservationists, fishermen, Native groups, lumberjacks, and town governments – all depend on the forest’s ecosystem for their livelihoods as well.

A historic thing is happening in the Tongass right now as these groups put decades of conflict on hold to come to the table and try to fit all the pieces together, knowing that a sustainable vision of the forest awaits at the end.

But the Sealaska Corporation, having profited from years of intensive logging, doesn’t like the way the picture is coming together. Surprisingly, the U.S. Senate is moving forward on its proposal to dismiss the conservation piece of the Tongass puzzle and authorize more clearcutting on high-value land. The “Sealaska bill” will only perpetuate conflict in the Tongass, razing old-growth forests along the way.

Tell your senators to stop the Sealaska bill now!

Conservation is essential to the future of the Tongass. This place is unique and majestic and all too important to waste for short-term gains. It is a place where huge bears grow fat on salmon, eagles soar through endless skies, and 500-year-old trees stand silent sentry over a lush, verdant world. The old-growth trees are the stalwarts of the forest. They foster the rich biodiversity that is its lifeblood, safeguarding its complex, intricate balance. No plan for the future of the Tongass will be sustainable without protecting these iconic trees and the invaluable habitats they enable.

Sealaska Corporation is one of the largest private employers in the region and, consequently, an irrepressible piece of the overall Tongass picture. But we cannot allow its friends in the Senate – far removed from the good faith efforts to finally solve this great puzzle – to force this one piece where it doesn’t belong, blithely discarding the keystone of conservation. The Sealaska bill would perpetuate the conflicts we’re trying so diligently to resolve. The bill is gaining ground in Washington, DC, so please act today to stop this corporate takeover of our public lands!

Tell your senators that conservation is absolutely essential to the future of the Tongass.

Conservation is necessary to secure the future of the Tongass and its people. The balance of complex human needs that depend on the forest requires that we preserve the intricate balance of the forest first.

Thank you for all that you do,

Cindy Shogan
, Executive Director, 
Alaska Wilderness League


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