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Biden Administration Commits to Reinstate Roadless Protections in the Tongass National Forest

Photo by Amy Gulick

It’s a good day for ancient forests. The Biden Administration has committed to restore Roadless protections in the Tongass National Forest.
 
In October 2019, the Trump administration announced a controversial proposal to eliminate long-standing protections for unlogged old-growth forests within Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. The proposed management plan was an override to the 2001 National Roadless Rule,  opening the door for vast tracts of the Tongass to be logged and roads to be built. Freshwater, healthy salmon, one-of-a-kind recreation, and climate change offset are just a few reasons why protecting the Roadless Rule matters.
 
We’ve been leading efforts locally to re-instate the Roadless Rule in this special place — from comment letters sent to elected officials, to action alerts, to public meetings — because we know the previous administration’s rollback of protections is a threat to our last remaining ancient forests everywhere, including in Washington.
 
In Washington state, we have some of the most pristine Roadless areas in the country – places like South Quinault Ridge, much of the Kettle Range, Mt. Baker and The Dark Divide.
 
As “America’s Climate Forest,” the Tongass stores more climate-disrupting pollution in its old growth forests and rich soils than any other national forest in the United States. Logging and roadbuilding will release the stored carbon into the atmosphere at a time when we need to be cutting our emissions drastically to prevent full blown climate chaos.
 
Thank you  the Biden Administration, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Forest Service, for moving forward with a renewed commitment to protect the Tongass. It’s time to rollback the rollback and protect this invaluable place for good.