Trump Administration To Expand Logging In Nation’s Largest National Forest

Trump administration wants to start logging in huge Alaska National Forest Alaska’s 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest is the largest intact temperate rainforest in North America, and President Donald...

(Photo Credit: Alan Wu/Flickr Creative Commons)

Trump administration wants to start logging in huge Alaska National Forest

Alaska’s 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest is the largest intact temperate rainforest in North America, and President Donald Trump is proposing that we allow logging on more than half of the land.

According to Portland Press Harald, Trump instructed federal officials to reverse long-standing limits on tree cutting at the request of Alaska’s top elected officials, claiming that it will boost the local economy. Against him are critics, arguing that the protections are critical to saving and maintaining the region’s salmon fishery and tourism operations.

The U.S. Forest Service will be publishing a draft environmental impact statement this week. If passed, it would exempt the Tongass according to the 2001 Roadless Rule.

The 2001 Roadless Rule enforces prohibitions on road construction, timber harvesting, and road reconstruction on inventoried roadless areas on National Forest System land spanning over 58.5 million acres. This is different from access roads, which provide access for the industry as well as a variety of recreational activities, such as sightseeing, fishing, hunting, and off-roading.

Should the Trump Administration lift limits on logging and road building, 9.5 million acres of land would be open for development. The other 5.7 million acres of the forest as wilderness must remain off-limits to such activities under any circumstances, as designated by Congress.

The Tongass National Forest is located in southeast Alaska and is home to massive old-growth stands and provides habitat for all sorts of wildlife.

The Forest Service said in a statement, “It is rich in natural resources and cultural heritage.”

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