Wednesday, January 25th–Today, the U.S. Forest Service announced the reinstatement of the Roadless Rule in Tongass National Forest, protecting some 9.3 million acres of salmon habitat and old-growth forest from industrial activities. This news comes after a years-long effort to restore the Roadless Rule protections after they were rolled-back in 2020. The Tongass Roadless Rule prevents industrial clear-cut logging in North America’s largest remaining intact temperate rainforest and provides salmon, steelhead, and other wildlife with high-quality habitats.

“The Tongass’ wild and scenic landscapes are timeless, but its management practices were stuck in the past for far too long,” said Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “Today’s news brings hope for the future. A future where the national forest that produces more salmon than all others combined is conserved for the incredibly valuable and lasting resource that it is, and a carbon sink that slows the effects of climate change is left standing.”

This decision seeks to preserve the remarkable ecosystems of Southeast Alaska and maintain the sustainable tourism industry that is in large part built on the Tongass’ powerhouse ability to create strong runs of salmon and steelhead.

“This decision has been a long time coming,” said Austin Williams, Alaska legal and policy director for Trout Unlimited. “It’s so great to see the Forest Service move beyond unsustainable and damaging clear cut logging of old-growth forest and chart a path forward for the Tongass that recognizes roadless areas are critical to our local communities and economies, and to helping fight the effects of climate change.

In addition to restoring protections, the U.S. Forest Service will employ local Southeast Alaskans to cary out habitat restoration work. The people, communities, and tribes that rely on the Tongass can celebrate the restored stability in the region through the reinstatement of the Roadless Rule.

Picture by TU’s Josh Duplechian

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