The many fans of the Tongass National Forest

The docks in Sitka, Alaska. Photo by Marie Rose

By: Marie Rose

As the public comment period ends for the US Forest Service’s review of the Tongass Land Management Plan, I often find myself reflecting on the many conversations I’ve had here in the fishing communities of Southeast Alaska in regards to the Tongass 77 watersheds.

Rose with the a box full of goodness. Photo courtesy of Marie Rose.

There were so many stories that I feel lucky to have heard, stories told so vividly that I felt I was a part of them. Southeast Alaska is so unique in that a bulk of our citizens rely on fishing. Whether for their job, the economy, sustainability, or even just to fill their freezers for the winter.

Trolling in Southeast Alaska. Photo by Marie Rose.

The topic of conserving high value areas for salmon and trout is, I admit, one of my favorite conversations to have with people in these communities. I have witnessed families of fishermen working together to continue a tradition of salmon fishing that has existed for generations. I’ve listened to these families- to their concerns of what would happen to this tradition, to their ability to make a living (as well as feed their family and friends), if large-scale development projects made a presence in the healthy waters that have provided for them for years. I have spoken with loggers who, too, rely on Tongass salmon and trout and stress that current buffer zones on fishing streams could be improved.

The docks in Juneau, Alaska. Photo by Marie Rose

The Tongass National Forest is an invaluable resource for all who call Southeast Alaska home, and even to families around the world who simply enjoy fresh and healthy salmon that is hard to find in other places of the world. It is a way of life that, without a doubt, needs to be protected.


Take action today! As the United States Forest Service nears the end of a comment period on its Tongass Land Management Plan, it is imperative that they understand the importance of tourism and fisheries programs to Southeast Alaska’s economy and the potential impacts that development has on them. TU is working to convince Forest Service leaders that maintaining traditional use and access, and the health and function of fish and wildlife habitat should be the top priorities for managing and maintaining over 70 key areas within the Tongass. If you appreciate and enjoy these places and the fish they produce and support, Tongass Managers need to hear from you. Click here to let the Forest Service know that building and maintaining tourism infrastructure, restoring salmon streams, and conserving the 'Tongass 77' are great ways the Forest Service can help keep both our national forest & local tourism industries thriving.

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