Environment America submits nearly 16,000 comments in support of restoring protections for Tongass National Forest

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Public opinion backs protecting our largest National Forest from development

Environment America

DENVER — With the comment period for a proposal to protect 9.2 million acres of Tongass National Forest ending Monday, Environment America submitted 15,941 comments to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) as part of a national effort which generated more than 100,000 comments in favor of protection. If the proposal succeeds, logging and road-building will be banned from the 9.2 million acres of “roadless area” in the Tongass, reversing a Trump-era decision to roll back the “roadless rule” protections for those undeveloped parts of the forest. 

“The American public knows that the Tongass National Forest is a natural wonder,” said Environment America Public Lands Director Ellen Montgomery. “Restoring the roadless rule will ensure that the sitka spruces stand tall for centuries to come. We hope that this is the beginning of a new trend for the Forest Service and that they go on to protect more old growth and mature forests.”

As the largest national forest in the United States, the Tongass provides integral habitats for species such as brown bears, bald eagles and all five species of pacific salmon. The forest is also one of our best natural solutions to global warming, absorbing 44% of total carbon stored by all forests in the national forest system. 

“This is a win for Alaskans,” said Alaska Environment State Director Dyani Chapman. “Thousands of people live in and around the Tongass and they count on the roadless areas to give them the opportunity to spend time in an intact forest where they can hike, kayak, hunt and fish. In a world where we are losing so much nature every minute, we must protect the most important places we have left like the Tongass.”
 

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Environment America is a national network of 30state environmental groups. Our staff work together for clean air, clean water, clean energy, wildlife and open spaces, and a livable climate. Our members across the United States put grassroots support behind our research and advocacy.

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boreal forest
Tim Rains / NPS | Public Domain

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