Forest Service to Rezone Tongass

May 4, 2024 By: Spencer Durrant

Photo: Mark Brennan/Flickr

The United States Forest Service announced recently their intentions to completely rewrite the Land Management Plan for the Tongass National Forest. The Tongass is the largest national forest in the United States, and according to SalmonState, an Alaska-based conservation group, the Tongass “produces millions of wild salmon each year, is home to some of the densest brown bear concentrations on the planet, and it is part of the largest temperate rainforest in the world.”

The new Land Management Plan will focus on updating parts of the previous plan that are outdated. SalmonState makes it clear that they expect all stakeholders in the Tongass to have a seat at the table for these discussions.

“It’s exciting to see the ways the conversation has evolved since 1997, when the last plan was written,” said SalmonState Southeast Alaska Program Manager Dan Kirkwood. “Alaska Native values have become a prominent part of the discussion around managing the landscape, and we are now talking about managing tourism so that it benefits our communities. All of this is not only vital to our communities — it’s something that was previously put on the back burner.”