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Welcome to Wilderness Podcast

Wilderness Podcast's mission is to spread contextual awareness surrounding wilderness issues and ideals by helping to facilitate a more in-depth appreciation through long form interviews with subject area experts.

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Ep. 021

Release Date: November 7th, 2019

Trouble In The Tongass Pt. 2 | Andrew Thoms | Sitka Conservation Society

Tongass National Forest - @ Howie Garber 

In part two of “Trouble in the Tongass” I speak with Andrew Thoms, Executive Director of the Sitka Conservation Society. We discuss all of the things that make the Tongass special, the local economy of Southeast Alaska, the Roadless Rule, the consequences of logging the remaining old growth forests and the threats to subsistence living. 

The old growth forests of the Tongass sustain more than can be properly articulated and expressed in this short miniseries. Their value is priceless. As ecosystems collapse around the globe, we cannot afford to continue on our current path of destruction. The familiar forces of greed and shortsightedness are at work. The Tongass belongs to all of us, not the select few multi-national corporations that seek to capitalize on its lumber. Not to mention that rights that we have failed to properly extend to the plants and animals that which we share the Earth. The biota of the Tongass is world-renowned and worth saving on its own merit. 

The Roadless Rule is the glue that is keeping the Tongass ecosystem intact while providing flexibility to construct roads for communities and allowing native and local peoples to harvest food from the land and rivers. Ideally, wilderness designations would best protect these forests from logging interests, but wide scale implementation would work against the sustenance needs of local communities.

The draft environmental impact statement has been released regarding the Roadless Rule Please, take a moment from your busy day and write in your comments to the USDA. Tell them to keep the Roadless Rule in place for the Tongass National Forest (alternative one). The email address is akroadlessrule@fs.fed.us Alternatively, please use Sitka Conservation Society's commenting tool here https://mobilize4change.org/q4Unptv

USDA Draft EIS can be found here. https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2019/10/15/usda-forest-service-seeks-public-comment-draft-environmental-impact

If you have not checked out part one of this series with Dan Cannon from the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, I encourage you to have a listen for a more complete picture of what is happening in the Tongass. Thanks for listening.

Andrew Thoms - Executive Director - Sitka Conservation Society

A passion project about wilderness the place and wilderness the idea...

Wilderness Podcast is a passion project about wilderness and wild places, where I am attempting to tell the story of wilderness both past and present. In this program you will find a heavy focus on public lands and our National Wilderness Preservation System, but it also seeks to expand the scope of wilderness beyond distant landscapes.


The idea for this podcast came about after observing a growing public fascination and interest in the subject of wilderness. As more people become familiar with our public lands and wild places, the importance of meaningful, thought-provoking discourse has never been so crucial. This podcast is for everybody; from the enthusiast, to the wilderness newbie and everyone else in between. Most episodes are done interview style, where I talk with interest area experts about the history, ethics, people, wildlife and places that embody and epitomize wilderness ideals.


From national political issues like Bears Ears National Monument, The Tongass and the Gallatin Range. To broader subjects like the American Environmental Movement, the Wilderness Act and Art History. To people like Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, John Muir, Robert Marshall and Teddy Roosevelt. To environmental issues like climate change, public lands grazing, native fish and predators. To social issues like Leave No Trace and the impacts of social media on our wild places. I hope you will subscribe and follow along. Thanks for listening!

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