'Where Forest Meets The Sea': The Uncertain Future Of The Tongass National Forest

Nov 19, 2020
Originally published on November 19, 2020 3:28 pm

The Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska is one of the largest intact temperate rainforests left in the world. And as a national forest, the land serves many purposes, from fishing to logging. Now, the Trump administration wants to open up half the forest to logging and development. We’ll discuss the complex story of a forest’s future.


Joel Jackson, tribal president of the Organized Village of Kake.

John Schoen, wildlife biologist and author. He’s worked as a scientist with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, and as an affiliate professor of wildlife biology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Author of “Tongass Odyssey.”

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Amy Gulick, photographer and writer. Author of “Salmon in the Trees.” (@amygulick)

Gordon Chew, owner of the Tenakee Logging Company.

Brenda Schwartz-Yeager, backcountry guide, fisherwoman and artist.

Photo Highlights: Portraits by Amy Gulick

From The Reading List

National Geographic: “An ancient forest in Alaska loses environmental protections” — “A recent decision by the Trump Administration to strip protections from one of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforests could do irreparable harm both to the environment and to the communities that depend on it.”

National Geographic: “A new way to profit from ancient Alaskan forests—leave them standing” — “They had all tried to quit the woods, and all of them had failed. One evening after a day’s work cutting old-growth trees in the Alaska rain forest, logger Sam Parker sits in the bunkhouse with two of his coworkers, and commiserates.”

Anchorage Daily News: “Opinion: Why the Tongass’ exemption from the Roadless Rule is good public policy” — “The 2001 Roadless Rule was the fourth time significant areas of the Tongass were set aside by the national government.”

Seattle Times: “Save the rare wild beauty of the Tongass National Forest from renewed logging” — “When we were young children in the early ’90s, we saw the timber industry here in Southeast Alaska collapse due to a lack of profitability, despite half a century of heavy federal subsidies.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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