Today the Forest Service announced that it will introduce a “modification” to the Tongass Land Management Plan that “is expected to focus on identifying the timber base suitable to support a transition to young-growth management, in a way that supports the continued viability of the forest industry in Southeast Alaska, per the direction of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.” The announcement also says the Forest Service will create a Tongass Federal Advisory Committee” in the New Year, although how the agency will recruit and select committee members isn’t mentioned.
“It is obviously early in the process, but this announcement is a disappointing start. It doesn’t discuss the most important elements of any modification to the Tongass management plan. There is no mention of ending clear-cut old-growth logging in 3 to 5 years to protect the wildlife and salmon of the Tongass. And no mention of shifting the Forest Service’s focus to protecting and enhancing the fishing and tourism industries the region relies on for its economic future.”