The Karta Roadless Area is located on Prince of Wales Island in the Tongass National Forest within Southeast Alaska. Roadless areas in the Tongass have exceptional wilderness value and areas of high biological value. Although about half of the big old trees on the Tongass have already been felled for logging, the Roadless Rule helps protect about half of what is left. Roadless areas are home to salmon, spruce grouse, goshawks, bears, wolves, and many other birds and wildlife. Roadless areas provide humans with opportunities for fishing, hunting, bird-watching, backpacking, and wilderness solitude.
The Karta Roadless Area is found in the heart of Prince of Wales Island, and lies close to several other roadless areas as well as the Karta River Wilderness. This proximity to other nearby protected areas helps maintain a large, interconnected corridor for animals on Prince of Wales Island, which has been identified as a “hotspot” of biological diversity for southeast Alaska. Large populations of Sitka black-tailed deer, black bears, wolves, and other mammals are found in the Karta Roadless Area. Bald Eagles, Marbled Murrelets, Queen Charlotte Goshawks, Peregrine Falcons, and Osprey are all found in this area as well, all drawn to the big trees and healthy forests. Fish-bearing streams provide habitat for runs of coho, pink, chum, and sockeye salmon, as well as steelhead and cutthroat trout. The Karta Roadless Area and other roadless areas nearby collectively support these robust populations of fish, birds, and mammals. Because these individual places are protected, and because healthy connectivity exists between them, forest animals are able to thrive.
The Roadless Rule operates on the Tongass to protect this roadless area and others from roadbuilding and logging. But efforts to chip away at these protections are underway, and the Tongass roadless areas are threatened by a rollback that specifically targets the big old trees that provide homes and connectivity for many animals.