In 2010 the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service, pledged to put a rapid end to large scale old-growth timber harvest in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. The idea was to emphasize second-growth management, with a new focus on regional economic bright spots such as fishing, tourism, and salmon. On Wednesday, however, any notion of “rapid end” was shattered when the USDA announced decisions to continue axing Tongass old growth for the next 10 to 15 years.
The Forest Service also released a nearly 150 million board foot timber sale called Big Thorne, the largest of its kind on the Tongass in recent memory.
“The Forest Service is trapped in an outdated model. Timber isn’t the economic driver it once was in the region. The fact is the Tongass is a salmon factory. It produces 70 percent of all salmon from national forests. Managing the Tongass for salmon should be the Forest Service’s primary function, not propping up old-growth logging for another 10 to 15 years. The fact that the secretary’s plan for the Tongass isn’t focused on salmon is deeply disappointing,” says TU’s Tim Bristol.
Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.