What will be left for our grandkids? That's how I think of resource management — and I wish Gov. Bill Walker and the Trump administration would too. Both the state and the Trump administration want to drag us back to the old days of taxpayer-subsidized clear-cuts by gutting the current "Roadless Rule" on the Tongass.
This is a terrible idea — and I'm speaking as a longtime Southeast resident who makes his living from the forest as a small-scale logger and woodworker. It's time to face the facts: Big Timber logged the most profitable old growth on the Tongass between the 1950s-1990s.
However, there is still room for a small-scale timber industry, and thousands of miles of logging roads already exist in the Tongass. It's an abomination to suggest taxpayers subsidize more logging roads to ship old-growth trees overseas or send them, with minimal processing, through the one remaining large sawmill in Southeast. We can have both a small scale timber industry and respect that intact old-growth forest sustains commercial fisherman, tourism, and subsistence for locals.
There is more than ample room for smart development within the current Roadless Rule. I strongly encourage everyone to do some research and contact both the U.S. Forest Service and Gov. Walker.
— Zach LaPerriere
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