Conservation Groups, Public Support Protections for the Tongass National Forest

DENVER — The National Wildlife Federation, the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, and thousands of the organizations’ members urged the Biden Administration to restore Roadless Rule protections for 9 million acres of the Tongass National Forest.

“Restoring the Roadless Rule in the Tongass National Forest will safeguard wildlife, preserve sacred Indigenous lands, benefit the economy of Southeast Alaska, and expand outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations of Americans,” said David Willms, senior director of Western wildlife and conservation at the National Wildlife Federation. “These protections also will ensure that one of the world’s largest old-growth forests can continue to play an important role in absorbing carbon to help mitigate impacts from a changing climate.”

“Over the last few years Southeast Alaskans have come together to advocate, rally, march, write, testify, lobby, litigate, dance, and sing for the Roadless Rule to be put back in place on the Tongass, in order that we might continue to enjoy a national forest that is managed for the best interests of the people and wildlife that live throughout our region,” said Meredith Trainor, Executive Director at Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. “In both the current process to restore the Roadless Rule to the Tongass and in the twenty-one years since the rule was first written, we have repeatedly made it clear to federal administrations, Alaska’s congressional delegation, and Congress writ large that Southeast Alaskans and Americans — together — robustly support protecting our region's old-growth forests and keeping the national Roadless Rule in place on the Tongass today, and for generations to come.” 

The Biden Administration began a rulemaking process to restore the Roadless Rule protections that were removed by the Trump administration. More than 15,000 members of the National Wildlife Federation and the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council emailed the U.S. Department of Agriculture expressing support for those protections. The public comment period ended at midnight on January 24.

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