Speak up for Prince of Wales Old Growth

Now is your chance to speak up for old growth on Prince of Wales. The US Forest Service hopes that the Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis Project (POWLLAP) represents a better approach for project planning on the Tongass National Forest. While this approach has some positives to support it, it raises some serious concerns.

The US Forest Service recently came out with their Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and the comment period is underway. This is your last chance to have your say and protect the places you love on Prince of Wales. 

The DEIS is supposed to inform the public about the impacts the project. Instead, it lacks sufficient detail for forest users to assess the tradeoffs between logging as much as 28,000 more acres of Tongass old growth over the next 15 years and maintaining robust populations of deer and salmon on Prince of Wales. Additionally, the agency fails to take a hard look at the effect of allowing the export of logs without on-island processing or using taxpayer dollars to pay for new logging roads to try and make logging economically viable.

This is your chance to weigh in and tell the Forest Service to protect your unique way of life on Prince of Wales.

Two ways to take action:

Ask the Forest Service exactly how proposed logging will affect the specific lands you rely on to fill your freezers every year, and voice your concerns at one of the Subsistence Hearings scheduled in Whale Pass, Klawock, and Hydaburg next week, or

Submit comments on the DEIS to the Forest Service by June 18, 2018, or by mail to Delilah Brigham, Thorne Bay Ranger District, P.O. Box 19001, Thorne Bay, AK 99919, or by fax to
(907) 828-3309.

There are three proposed alternatives for logging outlined in the DEIS. Alternative 5 (one of the three) has some key elements worth supporting in your comments:

  • Protects old growth on the north end of Prince of Wales Island above the 20 Road, between the western shoreline of Red Bay and the communities of Point Baker and Port Protection.
  • The agency integrates important job-creating restoration and sustainable recreation development into all the action alternatives.
  • Protects old growth on south-facing slopes below 800-feet in elevation.
  • No logging of old growth in Dry Pass, south of Port Protection.
  • No use of herbicides to treat invasive plants.
  • Implements broad protections for deer and wolf habitat recommended in the 2017 Interagency Wolf Habitat Management Program.

The Forest Service is racing ahead with this sale without completing an updated inventory of the remaining old growth on the island. Consequently, the DEIS fails to account fully for:

  • The significant changes in land ownership that have occurred on Prince of Wales since 2013.
  • The effects from increasing the density of roads and loss of important deer winter range.
  • Full disclosure and accurate and detailed analysis of the project’s costs and benefits.
  • The consistent pattern of “falldown,” or the difference between the how much timber is estimated as available for logging and the amount that can actually be cut, like what occurred recently on the Big Thorne sale.

We need a new strategy on the Tongass but this plan has a long way to go. Write today to help the Forest Service move towards a sustainable future on Prince of Wales and throughout the Tongass National Forest.

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