Founding Principles

About the region, and what we stand for:

Southeast Alaska is unique in containing the largest contiguous stands of coastal temperate rainforest remaining in the world. It is worthy of special attention and protections, by all and for the benefit of residents and the global community.

  • Here, wildlife and fish populations are still generally strong but face major threats, particularly from cumulative loss and impairment of habitat.

  • The region’s island biogeography has resulted in a high degree of endemism and a notable contribution to North America’s biodiversity. A factor in this is the differing characteristics of the biogeographic provinces comprising this archipelago.
  • The region is a globally significant carbon repository.
  • The region supports unique lifestyles because of its geography, relative isolation, abundance of wild resources, and sparse human population. For the same reasons it is a special destination for travelers.

The above features of the region are in many cases threatened by the cumulative impacts of resource extraction and other developments over the past half-century and on-going. As a result:

  • Conveyance of clear, science-based understandings of threats is critical.
  • An effective environmental organization must:  be a strong advocate; be unafraid to take stances that are controversial and even unpopular; and avoid deal-making exercises that may compromise habitat and other environmental values.
  • The ecological integrity of key parts of the region has already been dramatically compromised over the past century. Excessive old growth logging and irresponsible development such as associated road construction have already unduly compromised the region’s most ecologically valuable forest and freshwater habitat.
  • The present timber industry is in large part no longer ecologically feasible, in view of past impacts.
  • An organization that operates from these perspectives is needed in the region, and this is this organization’s role.
  • In fulfilling this role, the organization will: adhere to the rigorous application of best available science; support habitat protection as an over-riding concern; accept funds only from organizations that support (or do not conflict with) habitat protection and will not collaborate in non-transparent or closed processes that circumvent broad public involvement in land and resource management.
  • The organization will educate the public on how environmental laws affect management of Southeast Alaska land, water and other natural resources, ensure that public processes under public laws are not undermined, and that substantive protections are not weakened or circumvented and are strengthened where presently inadequate.