Press Releases

USDA Forest Service Restores Roadless Protections and Public Process on the Tongass

On November 23rd, the USDA will begin a 60-day public comment period on its decision to reinstate the Roadless Rule on the Tongass.

JUNEAU, AK (November 19, 2021) - Today, the Biden Administration takes the first steps to reinstating the Roadless Rule for America’s largest national forest, the Tongass. Audubon applauds the administration’s commitment to undoing the Trump-era decision to remove the protections of the Roadless Area Conservation Rule from our largest roadless areas in the nation.

“This action, combined with the administration’s global commitments to ending old growth logging and the USDA’s investment in sustainable forest management in the region are moving the Tongass into a future where we value standing trees and healthy communities,” said Audubon Alaska’s Executive Director, Natalie Dawson.

The Tongass National Forest is an island archipelago, home to endemic birds, mammals and plants including the Pacific Marten, Alexander Archipelago Wolf, Northern Goshawk and the Prince of Wales Island Spruce Grouse.

On November 23rd, the USDA will begin a 60-day public comment period on its decision to reinstate the Roadless Rule on the Tongass. The national Roadless Area Conservation Rule, first passed at the end of the Clinton Administration in 2001, garnered more public support than any other federal rule in our nation’s history. During the 2019 public comment period to end Roadless Rule protections, 96% of commenters were supportive of maintaining Roadless Rule protections for the Tongass.

“Americans from around the country have consistently supported protecting the Tongass as our largest, intact coastal temperate rainforest in the country. This forest is our nation’s largest natural climate solution, holding almost half of the total carbon stored by all U.S. national forests and home to biologically diverse species found nowhere else on the planet," said Dawson. 

Take action now to restore protections to the Tongass National Forest by submitting your comments to the U.S Forest Service.

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Media Contact:

Katrina Peavey, Audubon Alaska, katrina.peavey@audubon.org

About Audubon

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.

Since 1977, Audubon Alaska has been conserving the spectacular natural ecosystems of Alaska for people, birds, and other wildlife. Audubon Alaska uses science to identify conservation priorities and support conservation actions and policies, with an emphasis on public lands and waters. Audubon Alaska is a state office of the National Audubon Society. Learn more at ak.audubon.org.

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