12:50 AM

For Immediate Release

Conservation Organizations Oppose Weakening Roadless Rule Protections for the Tongass National Forest

In a comprehensive comment letter to the U.S. Forest Service, three conservation organizations, the Wilderness Society, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Natural Resources Defense Council strongly oppose eliminating or weakening the Roadless Area Conservation Rule on the Tongass, America’s largest national forest. 

In addition to documenting the tremendous ecological, social and economic values of Tongass roadless areas, the letter informs the Forest Service over how to fairly and comprehensively measure the effects of roadbuilding and logging on forest resources. 

In a controversial move, the Trump administration initiated an unnecessary and ill-advised public rulemaking process on August 30 in order to weaken or roll-back protections for inventoried roadless areas on the Tongass National Forest within the State of Alaska. Today is the last day to submit comments on the rulemaking process.  

Peter Nelson, Director of the Federal Lands program at Defenders of Wildlife, issued this statement: 

“As part of the largest temperate rainforest on earth, the Tongass National Forest is a haven for fish and wildlife. The Forest Service should scuttle their misplaced plans to allow roadbuilding and old-growth logging in these priceless roadless habitats. If they do move forward with this proposal, they will have the tremendous burden of demonstrating that sacrificing these wildlands is in the nation’s best interest.” 

MeganBirzell, the Seattle-based Roadless Defense Campaign Manager for The Wilderness Society, issued this statement: 

“Roadless areas are largely responsible for the clean water, wildlife, and recreation opportunities we enjoy on our national forests. Allowing logging and road-building in the Tongass doesn’t make sense ecologically or economically. The Tongass contains thousands of miles of salmon-producing streams, and it is commercial and sport fishing that is the real economic driver in the region. Not logging. It doesn’t make sense for the government to jeopardize these important forestlands for an unsustainable industry that would cause irreparable harm.”  

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit Newsroom.Defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.