Stop the Logging of Old-Growth Rainforest in Alaska!

The future of America’s Rainforest is at stake. The Tongass National Forest in Alaska contains some of the largest remaining stretches of old-growth temperate rainforest in the world. On May 23rd, the U.S. Forest Service began the process that will determine its future. Help tell the Forest Service that it’s time to end industrial old-growth logging.

The Tongass is brimming with birdlife,including the largest population of Bald Eagles in the world. It is home to wolves, huge numbers of brown bears, and thousands of miles of streams that fill with all five species of Pacific salmon. Old-growth logging harms this rich ecosystem and the sustainable fishing and tourism industries that depend on it.

While the Forest Service has announced its intention to transition away from old-growth logging, it says it may continue this destructive practice through the year 2030. Just this year, the agency decided to move forward with the massive Big Thorne timber sale that will put an area the size of 4,600 football fields of old-growth forest on the chopping block.

We are calling on the Forest Service to promptly move away from industrial old-growth logging and reject this timber sale. Instead of subsidizing the timber industry in the Tongass with $20 million in taxpayer funding every year, the Forest Service should help create a sustainable economy based on recreation, tourism, and fishing, in order to preserve the beauty and value of America’s Rainforest for future generations.
To the U.S. Forest Service,

I urge you to rapidly end large-scale old-growth logging in the Tongass. Though I applaud the recent announcement to begin moving away from these practices, this change must be implemented with urgency to protect the forest’s vitality for its unique wildlife and sustainable industries such as recreation, tourism, and fishing.

The Tongass is home to the highest density of Bald Eagles and black bears in the world, has among the highest densities of brown bears, and makes up nearly the entire range of the Alexander Archipelago wolf. These wolves rely on Sitka black-tailed deer, which in turn rely on the old-growth forest to survive. Continued old-growth logging will threaten this delicate balance. Removing these huge trees will also contribute to climate change by eliminating a huge carbon storehouse.

The 17,000 miles of streams in the Tongass supports a billion-dollar fishing industry. The spectacular scenery and wildlife of the Tongass are the heart of a thriving tourism industry. Instead of subsidizing the logging industry with $20 million of taxpayer funding every year, we should direct our limited resources to truly sustainable industries that support thousands of jobs in Alaska.

Spending millions of dollars on projects like the Big Thorne timber sale is bad for taxpayers and for the Tongass ecosystem, and contradicts the commendable goal of moving away from old-growth logging. I urge you to reject the Big Thorne sale and promptly transition from this outdated practice. We owe it to future generations to preserve this national treasure now in all of its spectacular beauty and ecological value.

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