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Trouble in the Tongass 

Episodes 020 & 021- Wilderness Podcast

Two part miniseries

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Trouble in the Tongass Pt. 2 | Andrew Thoms | Sitka Conservation Society | Ep. 021

Andrew Thoms of Sitka Conservation Society

Release Date: November 7th, 2019

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.

Trouble in the Tongass Pt. 1 | Dan Cannon | SE Alaska Conservation Council | Ep. 020

Adam Bronstein and Matt Mikkelsen

Dan Cannon of SE Alaska Conservation Council

Release Date: October 22nd, 2019

In this episode, I speak with Dan Cannon, Tongass Forest Program Manager with the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. We discuss proposed old growth logging, the Roadless Rule, the importance of the Tongass and some of the politics surrounding the issues. In the next episode, I will speak with Andrew Thoms, the Executive Director with the Sitka Conservation Society where we will go into greater detail on the resource and what logging would mean for the local economy. 

Add this saga to the growing list of attacks on our public lands where local and national consensus is ignored and multi-national corporation's interests are being served. Never mind the harm and trauma to Native American tribes living in the region who depend on the land for their subsistence. Americans everywhere should be outraged. Extractor's wish lists are being given top priority. 

Since interviewing Dan, the USDA has released their long awaited draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Tongass on October 15th. There are six alternatives. The first alternative leaves the Roadless Rule in place. The other five involve the logging of old growth forest with increasing levels of eligible take at each step. Alternative two would convert 18,000 acres of old growth to suitable timberland. Once you get up to Alternative Six (the option Trump is advocating for) all 9.2 million acres of existing designated roadless areas would be converted to timberland, exposing 165,000 acres of old growth to logging. You can submit your comments here akroadlessrule@fs.fed.us Please tell the USFS to keep the Roadless Rule in place for the Tongass (Alternative One). Comments are due by December 17th, 2019. Thanks for listening. 

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

About Southeast Alaska Conservation Council SEACC 

SEACC is a small grassroots nonprofit in the Tongass National Forest in Juneau, Alaska. For almost 50 years SEACC has been a regional conservation watchdog defending the remaining intact old-growth stands of the Tongass National Forest and the waters of the Inside Passage. SEACC partners with local communities, Tribes, fishermen, businesses, and visitors to advocate for the conservation and sustainable use of our region’s natural resources, and preserve a unique Southeast Alaskan way of life. SEACC mixes legal and technical expertise with grassroots organizing and robust communication skills to engage the public, advance new policy, and maintain existing protections, to ensure the interconnected whole of Southeast Alaska exists for future generations.

About Dan (From SEACC Website)

Dan grew up in Ohio and discovered the beauty of our National Forests at the age of eight while backpacking in the Allegheny National Forest.  In college, his passion for wilderness found activism when he joined his classmates to save the campus campground from being paved.

With over ten years of grassroots and digital organizing experience, Dan has mobilized hundreds of thousands of people across the country. Early in his organizing career, Dan spent most of his time in the field, organizing communities to pass the ACES Act through the House and pressuring colleges to embrace renewable energy. Before coming to SEACC, Dan spent the last seven years at Greenpeace USA exploring the intersection of data, digital mobilization, and on the ground organizing to scale people power. Some of Dan’s work at Greenpeace included building power to pressure Asia Pulp and Paper to source pulp from sustainably managed forests and protecting the Arctic from Shell Oil’s drilling plans.           

Dan fell in love with Southeast and the Tongass while visiting a friend living on Prince of Wales Island. He is a graduate of Green Corps – The Field School for Environmental Organizing and holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies from Slippery Rock University.  Dan is an avid backpacker who enjoys skiing (water and snow), collecting old maps, and local beer.

Tongass National Forest - @ Howie Garber