Known as “America’s Amazon,” the Tongass National Forest is the biggest national forest in the United States at 16.7 million acres — and it’s the largest temperate rainforest in the world.
It’s a haven for irreplaceable old-growth groves of trees — some over 800 years old — and it’s home to Sitka black-tailed deer, bald eagles, and more bears than in the Lower 48 states combined. Forty percent of the Pacific’s wild salmon are spawned under its branches, and it’s one of the only places in the world where you can witness humpback whales ‘bubble net feeding.’
It’s an amazing place to visit, though many Americans never get the chance. We wanted to offer the opportunity to join us on a virtual tour of the Tongass so you can experience its beauty for yourself!
Scroll to join us on a virtual trip through the Tongass’ most iconic sites.
What a trip! Thank you for joining us on our journey through the Tongass National Forest. We’ve hardly scratched the surface of its 16.7 million acres, but already we’ve seen glaciers, mountains, whales, bears, and more.
What we didn’t see, but certainly benefitted from, were the areas protected by the Roadless Rule in the Tongass. Environment America has a long history with this rule that protects areas within our nation’s forests that have neither logging nor roads.
In 2001, we called on the Forest Service to implement a rule ending road-building in heretofore roadless areas of our national forests. A record 1.6 million public comments were submitted to the Forest Service. Of those, nearly half were the result of our grassroots advocacy.
Our motivation is simple. We want more special places where we can hike among ancient trees and wildflowers; more shoreline where we can sit mesmerized by the ocean and breaching whales; more abundant wildlife, from the brown bear to the bald eagle. We’re running short on nature, and we need to protect the Tongass.
Curious about what the Roadless Rule protects in the Tongass? The map below highlights the areas where logging and roads were prohibited in orange.
We’re not giving up without a fight, however. Environment America is working with our coalition partners to make sure President Biden acts to protect the Tongass.
If we all work together, we can protect wild places like the Tongass National Forest for generations to come.
Senior Director, Conservation America Campaign, Environment America
Steve directs Environment America’s efforts to protect our public lands and waters and the species that depend on them. He led our successful campaign to win full and permanent funding for our nation’s best conservation and recreation program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. He previously oversaw U.S. PIRG’s public health campaigns. Steve lives in Sacramento, California, with his family, where he enjoys biking and exploring Northern California.