Speak up cruise people. Your tax dollars at work denuding your landscape(s)

The nation’s number one and number two in size National Forests are in Alaska. The Tongass, mostly in Southeast and the Chugach, mostly in South Central. Sitka Spruce is the dominant tree in both forests. It takes up to 800 years for a Spruce tree to reach maximum age. Many Alaskans agree that the aesthetic value of thousands of square miles of beautiful old growth rain forest for our visitation industry far exceeds any financial benefit derived from short term logging.

In addition, spawning streams and rivers for Alaska's five species of wild stock salmon are located throughout these forests.

Historically, logging has been detrimental to the stream habitats for these salmon. It is not only the US Forest Service's problem, native corporations have sold off their timber for a song as well, no value added, just transported to Asia in the "round". If one is in doubt just sail portions of Prince William Sound and witness the huge expanses of clear cuts that make war bombed Nagasaki look attractive.

If you cruise Alaska, and have second thoughts about all this, then speak up, after all it is your tax dollars at work denuding "your" landscapes.

"Managing the Tongass for timber, an industry that accounts for not even 1 percent—less than 400—of southeast Alaska’s jobs. More profitable industries, on the other hand, such as tourism and commercial fishing, together generate more than $2 billion in revenue annually and employ more than 10,000 people in the region. The Trump administration’s move to expand logging in the Tongass follows decades of the federal government subsidizing timber sales in the national forest, often to the tune of more than $20 million per year. These subsidies became news yet again this summer when a controversial southeast Alaska timber sale, promoted heavily by the USFS, received no bids, despite significant federal subsidies that included USFS investments of $3.1 million in new roads. Despite the expense to taxpayers, the USFS estimated the sale would generate just $200,000 in revenue."

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/reports/2018/10/03/458961/fraud-in-the-tongass/

https://www.apnews.com/fe826cff182e46b6af6fdb3e8ee17857

3 Answers

Interesting.

Don't start me off on this. Ive seen the result of USFS boondoggles, and I didn't have to go to Alaska either. Add to that an assortment of Corps of Engineers missteps that don't bear close scrutiny. A lot of the land around here is SAM's, in one form or another.. I think most folks just don't care. If one happens to be an "outdoors person", then you might...Living "out here" gives one a different perspective on the damage done by an assortment of bureaucracies, public and private..We have had our share of who's back got scratched, and who appointed who in exchange for what...its just never been so "in your face" before. even Nixon tried to keep his ego private. This guy dares you to do anything about it. Folks get all a twitter about Alaska cruises..(pun intended)..what little they see of it.

I'm certainly not a forest managing expert but the major forest fires and diseased forests we are experiencing in the lower 48 lead just about everyone to realize that "leave it be" and fire suppression are definitely not in the forest's best interest.

A quick look up on Sitka Spruce trees shows that they are actually very fast growing trees and although a few are believed to be 700 plus years old, large trees can be just a few decades old. Those clear cuts may be from beetle infestations that occur in the area.

I don't know the answer but we do need timber, unless you are suggesting to do without wood. Smart harvesting, whatever that means, is probably the only thing that is going to satisfy almost every interest.

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