At approximately 17 million acres, the Tongass National Forest is America’s largest national forest, encompassing the majority of the southeast Alaska Panhandle. Rising from the deep, rich waters of Alaska’s Inside Passage, southeast Alaska is a land of ancient forests, mountains and glaciers.
Decades of clear-cutting has cost the Tongass portions of its best habitat, and yet the forest still contains some of the most intact expanses of temperate rainforest remaining in the world. It is home to five species of Pacific salmon, humpback and orca whales, otters, beavers, Alexander Archipelago wolves, plus some of the largest concentrations of brown bears and bald eagles found in the United States. Its giant old-growth trees are also a warehouse of carbon, helping regulate the planet’s climate.
In 2016 the U.S. Forest Service updated its management plan for the Tongass National Forest. Today, the Tongass is the only national forest in America where we still clear-cut irreplaceable old-growth forest. This plan update is an important step towards transitioning Forest Service management away from industrial clear-cutting of old-growth and towards preserving the forest and supporting the region’s sustainable industries that rely on a healthy Tongass.