As I wrote back in April, the Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in America. Its beauty and grandeur is a facet of the natural allure of Alaska, an allure that calls people from around the world to visit its shores, towns, and landmarks. Alaska’s siren song has called to notable figures such as former presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Barack Obama; authors Jack London and Mark Adams; and naturalists William Brewer and John Muir, to name a few. Amid all the talk of oil and fishing in Alaska, one can forget about the history and controversy of logging. However, once again the current Administration is proposing further advances in permitting logging in the Tongass National Forest.

Tongass is a 16.7 million acre, temperate rainforest which is home to numerous species of flora and fauna. The narrows that intersperse the national forest are waterways that native peoples have used for centuries to fish and travel amid the Alaskan wilderness. Allowing logging in the protected lands could potentially pollute the land and sea, reduce the amount of CO2 that is converted (estimates are that Tongass cleans 8% of the Nation’s CO2 production each year), and be a bane for the wildlife, people of Alaska, and the tourism industry, thus, the economy. 

While admittedly I don’t know very much about the logging industry, I was able to find information regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the Forestry and Lumber Industries, as well as the job statistics for indicating the industry is in decline regardless of this ruling.

While it may seem like a quick fix to open up this logging, it could inevitably be cutting off the nose to spite the face, hurting the future attractiveness of Alaska to both visitors and potential residents. It takes a special kind of person to live in the The Last Frontier, and that person is most likely a lover of the wild and wilderness Alaska provides.

More on conservation of Alaskan forests can be found here, or watch the PBS News Hour coverage of the Administration’s ruling.

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