The Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska is organizing a media trip to the Tongass National Forest for up to three outdoor communicators. Sorry about the short notice, but the trip is being planned for sometime the last two weeks of July. We are looking for placement of stories in national and regional publications and websites.
UPDATE: One spot has already been filled as of June 29.
If this is something you are interested in, read on and contact the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska ASAP! They are hoping to have the trip details finalized by Friday, July 2.
“The salmon would enter the stream on the incoming tide, not in twos or threes, but in waves of fifty. We spent three days fishing the stream and didn’t see another angler.”
That’s what one outdoor writer reported after a visit to Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. [FYI, it’s Chris Batin for Outdoor Life in 2007]
His experience was not unusual.
One website says the Tongass has “some of the best cold water fishing in the world.” Another reports “Great fishing for salmon and trout in freshwater and in salt.”
By far the country’s largest national forest, with more than 120,000 acres of lake fishing and 23,000 miles of streams, Southeast Alaska’s Tongass has plenty of elbow room for the adventurous fisherman. Anglers can stay in lodges that charge $1,000 a night, rent public use cabins that costs less than $50 for six people, or camp in the wilderness.
Black bears, Sitka black-tailed deer and big brown bears draw hunters from across the country. Elusive predators, like the wolf and goshawk, can be found in the Tongass, too.
The Tongass has such great fishing and wildlife because it has the last, great remnants of the old-growth rainforest that once covered the entire Pacific Northwest coast. Streams and valleys are still lined with 200-foot trees that took root centuries ago.
But about half of the richest forest land in the Tongass has already fallen to the logger’s axe. Private interests are eager to get their hands on what’s left in unprotected areas. They’re unhappy that the U.S. Forest Service is moving toward much more sustainable management of the Tongass.
Gone are the days when the agency had to feed two pulp mills that gobbled up square miles of old-growth forest each year, ruining prime hunting grounds and laying bare salmon streams. Now the forest service wants to focus on restoring past damage and thinning out dense thickets of second growth trees for sustainable future logging.
It’s a historic shift in management philosophy for an agency that has treated the Tongass as little more than a tree farm for almost a century.
This crown jewel of our national forests is at a crossroads, and what happens now will determine whether rich habitat, popular watersheds and other majestic stands of old-growth are sacrificed to one last burst of industrial clearcutting.
It would make a good story – and there could be financial support to help a writer who wants to tell it.
View PDF that outlines some of the conservation controversies now brewing in the Tongass.
For more information on possible support for a reporting trip to the Tongass, contact Scott Hed, Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska, at 605-351-1646 or Scott@SportsmansAlliance4AK.org.