The forests on Prince of Wales Island are under threat from the largest old-growth timber sale on the Tongass in nearly 30 years! The Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis (POWLLA) project was recently approved by the Forest Service and could result in the clearcutting of roughly 235 million board feet of old-growth forest across about 23,000 acres. The sale would take place over the next 15 years. The Forest Service is currently taking public comment, meaning this is our opportunity to speak up!
The Forest Service is proposing to put 50 million board feet of old-growth timber up for sale as soon as September 2019. This sale and other activities are outlined under the ‘Out-Year plan,’ a living document covering the next three fiscal years that gives the public a look into the Forest Service’s planned activities for the sale. Although there are other projects outlined under the plan, only six of the twenty-seven proposed watershed improvement and restoration projects for this fiscal year have funding. In contrast, all of the field studies required for the timber sales are already fully funded, showing the Forest Service’s selective prioritization of the timber industry.
Worse, the Forest Service’s ‘condition-based National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)’ process continues to leave the public in the dark by failing to fully inform us about the specific locations, timing, amount of logging, roadbuilding, or mitigating measures it has approved for this project. The POWLLA project is precisely the type of non-specific agency decision-making Congress intended to halt when it enacted NEPA as a way to allow for full public participation in planning, nearly fifty years ago.
Together we must speak up in defense of the remaining Tongass National Forest lands on Prince of Wales Island and surrounding islands. The Forest Service is currently taking public comments until May 13th. Act today by commenting on the Out-Year plan.
When you comment, keep these issues in mind:
The POWLLA analysis fails to comply with NEPA because the Forest Service has not disclosed the essential site-specific details about where trees will be cut and roads built.
Wherever old-growth timber sales occur, it will harm local subsistence hunting, fishing, recreation, and tourism. Without the essential information of where logging will occur, the public cannot fully understand the impact of this sale.
- Prince of Wales Island has lost too much old-growth habitat already. The Forest Service should drop the old-growth timber sales and focus entirely on restoration, stewardship, and recreation projects.
Make sure the Forest Service hears your concerns about the POWLLA project. Please take 5 minutes to comment TODAY!