It’s official — the National Roadless Rule has been officially restored to the Tongass National Forest!
SEACC and Southeast Alaskans mobilized hard during the Roadless Rule public process last winter to showcase the diverse voices of our region that desire strong protections on the Tongass to the Biden administration. The public was able to submit comments to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) signaling their support for the protection of the national Roadless Rule from November 23, 2021, to January 24, 2022.
SEACC gathered detailed letters of support from folks in nearly every community of Southeast Alaska expressing their unique stake in the health and protection of the Tongass (check out some of our favorite quotes here!). By ensuring an abundance of supportive comments from Southeast Alaskans and others who care deeply about Southeast Alaska, we demonstrated regional public support for the Biden administration to reinstate the Roadless Rule on the Tongass.
We want to thank everyone who submitted public comments, who attended our Rally for the Tongass, and who donated to SEACC to support this work. We also want to thank the many conservation groups in the region and nationwide who worked with us to bring in public comments and generate nationwide interest in Tongass issues and nationwide attention on Southeast Alaska’s desire for Roadless protections — in total, over 170,000 comments were submitted to the USDA Forest Service!
We’ll be holding a small event in Juneau in a couple weeks to celebrate the reinstatement of the National Roadless Rule on the Tongass — stay tuned for an announcement next week with more details.
Lastly, we want to thank the Biden administration for taking this important step — and you can thank them too! Finalizing the Roadless Rule, paired with the USDA’s Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy announced in 2021, are huge steps forward in supporting sustainable economic growth, community development, and irreplaceable wildlife habitat and salmon streams for the Tongass and Southeast Alaska altogether.
This outcome would not have been successful without the leadership of Tribes and Southeast Alaskans that spoke out in support of Roadless Rule protections. After four hard years of comment periods, community meetings, postcards, and announcement after announcement, we can finally take a moment to reflect. There is more work to be done but we are going to take today to celebrate. We hope you will, too.
Gunalchéesh — thank you — for your part in protecting the Tongass, Tlingit Aaní!