Roadless areas are the cornerstone of the economic well-being of Southeast Alaska. The "Roadless Rule" is working for its designed purpose, which is to ensure that the 99 percent of the economy that depends on intact old growth forest is protected from the less than 1 percent that wants to clear-cut it and export it round. It's a myth that old-growth forests are a renewable resource, because there's a limit to how many 300-year-old logs can be piled on a ship bound for China. The ecosystem itself likely takes three times that long to mature. Mass export of our forests is simply unsustainable.
Almost 60 years ago, Alaskans had the good sense to outlaw fish traps. Fish traps, while enriching an elite handful, were killing off the salmon runs and dooming the economic future of Southeast Alaska. Round-log export logging today is strikingly similar. A handful of well-connected people get rich while the region's future gets poorer. Opening roadless lands to clear-cutting makes as much sense as reinstating fish traps.
Pick 100 people at random to be in charge of a legacy trust fund, and one person will inevitably advocate blowing through the whole thing right now.
Our roadless areas are our region's trust fund. This generation is morally obligated to to safeguard it for the ones that follow. Future generations deserve the same dividends we've all reaped from roadless areas in the form of subsistence foods, world-class beauty and recreation, and a sustaining base for wildlife, fisheries and tourism. Future generations will need the world's fifth largest carbon sink to survive and avert the coming catastrophe of climate change. Upholding the roadless rule is the key to the long-term success and prosperity of our region.
— Joan Kautzer
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