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Founding Story

Alaska Rainforest Defenders [1] is a fresh organization, founded in 2011 by six long-time professionals and environmentalists who had a combined 200 years of experience in Southeast Alaska forest issues. We formed out of frustration that other organizations' goals were increasingly tempered, despite mounting cumulative losses of irreplaceable old-growth forest from logging. We stepped in to fill the advocacy void. 
Filling that void requires being unafraid to act in proportion to the significant threats facing our coastal rainforest. So we are steadfast and courageous, taking the action needed, even if it is uncomfortable. We advance our goals through investigative research, public comment, and legal action. We will not dilute our resolve because the ecosystems we all rely on remain at stake.[2]
ARD bases its work on science, and avoids funding sources whose direct or passive pressure could dilute our drive. We do not pander to politicians or foundations to curry favors or finances. Our work is in service to the communities and species of the region, whose unique existences depend on the forest and the fish and wildlife itharbors remaining intact.
We are entirely a volunteer organization, and we welcome new volunteers to help with our efforts. Although our board is composed of elders from the decades of Tongass forest wars, we seek to expand the board with young energy. Our board members have a wide range of backgrounds and expertise, including in sciences, forestry, engineering, commercial fishing, and merchant marine. Most importantly, we’re all people who have livelihoods and identities dependent on the biological integrity of Southeast. Please think about joining and adding diversity to our board, if our philosophy is also yours.

[1] When we formed in 2011, we called ourselves the Greater
Southeast Alaska Conservation Community (GSACC). In 2017 we changed
our name to Alaska Rainforest Defenders to better describe the work
we do.

[2] While pushing back against the corporate timber industry has
always been a David and Goliath battle, the contest has been
particularly lopsided in the past 15 years. The gluttony of the
large timber companies has continued unabated, while conservation
organizations have adopted increasingly tempered strategies. Many
of us at ARD ended up parting ways with these organizations, unable
to stand by as outside funding began to dictate organizational
direction, at the expense of regional interests. We founded a new
organization to provide a clear, courageous voice working in
defense of our coastal rainforest.