Comments needed for "Central Tongass" logging plan

ASK THE FOREST SERVICE TO REMOVE THE TIMBER COMPONENT OF THE CENTRAL TONGASS PROJECT 

 Photo by Lisa Lapointe.

Photo by Lisa Lapointe.

The deadline for CTP scoping comments is midnight, Sept. 24, 2018.

Read our comments here.

Write Comments and Attend Open Houses

Alaska Rainforest Defenders urges individuals to submit written scoping comments and attend Open Houses being held this week for the proposed Central Tongass Project (CTP) and ask—above all—that the timber component of the project be eliminated. (See below for time & locations). 

Under the guise of “analyzing a variety of resource management actions,” the project is in truth, a huge timber sale and road construction project. If approved, the project may log up to 150 million board feet (MMBF) from old growth forest and 80 MMBF of recovering second growth. That will come from 13,500 acres (about 21 square miles) of forest on already heavily logged Mitkof and nearby islands and the mainland. Please ask the agency to remove the timber component of the project and focus on genuine restoration of wildlife and fisheries habitat, culvert repair and replacement, and sustainable recreation projects and including overdue maintenance. The project website can be found here. 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tongass/landmanagement/projects/?cid=fseprd568085

The Backstory

The proposed CTP comes on the heels of several recent or soon to be approved massive timber sales concentrated south of Frederick Sound (in order that they be “economic” for the industry) including those on Federal, State, Alaska Mental Health Trust, Sealaska, and University lands. Clearly, there is no “shortage” of timber for industry nor any need to offer yet more to feed its insatiable appetite for more trees, and mostly for export. The CTP continues the trend of managing Tongass public lands as a subsidized timber colony for Alcan/Transpac Group, an international raw log exporter headquartered in Vancouver B.C., and Viking Lumber of Klawock. Viking is also a large-scale raw log exporter.

The timber industry now amounts to only 1% of the regional SE Alaska economy. Our region has logically moved on to sustainable, non-resource destroying ventures including independent and guided tourism and continued diversified types of commercial fishing and other uses. The immediate as well as cumulative impacts of the unsustainable rate at which the industry has operated will plague SE Alaskans for decades. This includes their impact on healthy deer populations for personal and subsistence uses. Let's push to prevent making bad matters worse.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Petersburg Ranger District, c/o Carey Case, P.O. Box 1328, Petersburg, Alaska 99833, Attn: Central Tongass Project.

Comments may also be hand-delivered to the Petersburg Ranger District, 12 North Nordic Drive, Petersburg, Alaska 99833; sent via e-mail to comments- alaska-tongass-petersburg@fs.fed.us; facsimile to (907) 772-5995; or submitted electronically at https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?project=53098.

You can customize the following points to add your own flavor and include others as you wish:

• Logging an extreme 150 MMBF of old growth is not a transition but is rather the standard and antiquated practice exercised by the agency for decades. The Tongass is the last national forest in the nation to log old growth and it is high time for the practice to end. Moreover, logging 80 MMBF of second growth is not a transition! Too much old growth has already been mowed-down in the CTP's project area since the 1950s, so the old growth timber component of this project should be dropped entirely.

• Additionally, please ask that all alternatives considered in detail in the EIS avoid any logging or roading in roadless areas within the CTP project area. This is crucial, now that the Forest Service is contemplating abandoning the Roadless Rule on the Tongass.

• Besides the old growth matter, many second growth areas must be allowed to recover to their old growth, high-habitat values and should never have been cut to begin with.

• The malfeasance identified in the findings and observations in the 2016 Washington Office's Review of the Tonka and Big Thorne timber sales must be recognized as a significant issue in the EIS. How the administration of the project (including appraisals, layout, and contract administration) will be structured and conducted to avoid these issues must be specifically addressed in detail. The time is now for the illegal, timber-first culture of the agency in Alaska to change.

• There should be no further weakening of the current Scenic Integrity Objectives anywhere in the project area via a project-specific Forest Plan amendment “in order that sale economics be improved for the commercial timber sales undertaken as part of this project”. This would harm other beneficial uses such as tourism and recreation.

• In recent years the industry has been subsidized between $224,000 to $510,000 per job annually!1 It is time to end taxpayer funded subsidies to industries that harm multiple other beneficial uses.

Public Meetings

• Wrangell - Wednesday September 5, 2018, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Nolan Center Civic Center

• Kake - Tuesday September 11, 2018, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Kake Senior Center

• Petersburg - Thursday September 13, 2018, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Holy Cross House

1 Tongass Timber Economics 101.4/20/2013. https://alaskarainforest.org/essays/ “Over the last decade the subsidy has grown to a staggering $224,000 to $510,000 per job - a nearly 1,400% increase. How can that be? The Forest Service kept spending like the industry was in its heyday while the industry was in a persistent long-term decline. It is as simple as that.”