Great News for Ancient Forests and Climate: Tongass Protections Restored

August 22, 2021
Nature
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Image Source: https://www.mountaineers.org/

Over the past few years, we’ve asked you to take action against a proposal to exempt the Tongass National Forest in Alaska from the Roadless Rule. The Roadless Rule is an important conservation tool that protects many of our most valued backcountry landscapes, including many in Washington, from logging, road building, and other development. The previous administration removed protections from the Tongass rainforest to open it up to development, despite overwhelming opposition.

We’re excited to share that this month, the Administration announced that it will restore protections for the Tongass National Forest. The new protections will end large-scale old growth logging in the Tongass and will instead support forest restoration, climate resilience, and recreation. This new effort also includes meaningful consultation with Tribal governments and funding for sustainable economic and community development.

This is good news for Southeast Alaska’s ancient forests, which support Tribal communities and millions of wild salmon, host incredible outdoor recreation opportunities like mountaineering and sea kayaking, and capture a tremendous amount of carbon. Thanks to the leadership of local tribal communities and advocacy by the conservation and recreation community – including thousands of Mountaineers – this magnificent forest will be protected. Your voice makes a difference!

The new path forward for the Tongass sets a strong precedent for protecting Roadless Areas like those in Washington, but we still need to permanently protect backcountry roadless areas by passing the Roadless Area Conservation Act. Passing this bill would offer permanent protection for the 30% of National Forest lands that are currently protected under the 2001 Roadless Rule. Without permanent protection, we risk a future administration removing protections from ancient forests and recreation destinations like Washington Pass in Washington and beyond.

Tell your members of Congress to support the Roadless Area Conservation Act, and thank champions like bill sponsor Senator Maria Cantwell. Personalizing what we’ve created is always advised – add a story about climbing in Washington Pass or use the interactive map from Outdoor Alliance to find other Roadless areas where you spend time.

Story Source: https://www.mountaineers.org/blog/great-news-for-ancient-forests-and-climate-tongass-protections-restored

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