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'Where Forest Meets The Sea': The Uncertain Future Of The Tongass National Forest47:35
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Nearly 5,000 salmon spawning streams throughout the Tongass National Forest provide an abundance of food for a variety of species including bears, eagles, ravens, and people. (©Amy Gulick/amygulick.com)
Nearly 5,000 salmon spawning streams throughout the Tongass National Forest provide an abundance of food for a variety of species including bears, eagles, ravens, and people. (©Amy Gulick/amygulick.com)

The Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska is one of the largest intact temperate rainforests left in the world. And as a national forest, the land serves many purposes. Now, the Trump administration wants to open up half the forest to logging and development. We'll discuss the complex story of a forest's future.

Guests

Joel Jackson, tribal president of the Organized Village of Kake.

John Schoen, wildlife biologist and author. He's worked as a scientist with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, and as an affiliate professor of wildlife biology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Author of "Tongass Odyssey."

Also Featured

Amy Gulick, photographer and writer. Author of "Salmon in the Trees." (@amygulick)

Gordon Chew, owner of the Tenakee Logging Company.

Brenda Schwartz-Yeager, backcountry guide, fisherwoman and artist.

Photo Highlights: Portraits by Amy Gulick

At nearly 17 million acres, about the size of the state of West Virginia, the Tongass National Forest fringes the coastal panhandle of Alaska and covers thousands of islands. (©Amy Gulick)
At nearly 17 million acres, about the size of the state of West Virginia, the Tongass National Forest fringes the coastal panhandle of Alaska and covers thousands of islands. (©Amy Gulick)
The Tongass is a place where the forest meets the sea. (©Amy Gulick)
The Tongass is a place where the forest meets the sea. (©Amy Gulick)
Every summer, millions of wild salmon fill nearly 5,000 spawning streams throughout the Tongass National Forest. (©Amy Gulick)
Every summer, millions of wild salmon fill nearly 5,000 spawning streams throughout the Tongass National Forest. (©Amy Gulick)
Bears drag and drop great quantities of salmon from the stream to the forest floor. Over time, the ocean nutrients in the bodies of salmon are absorbed through the roots of trees. Up to 70% of nitrogen in trees near salmon spawning streams is of ocean origin. (©Amy Gulick)
Bears drag and drop great quantities of salmon from the stream to the forest floor. Over time, the ocean nutrients in the bodies of salmon are absorbed through the roots of trees. Up to 70% of nitrogen in trees near salmon spawning streams is of ocean origin. (©Amy Gulick)

From The Reading List

National Geographic: "An ancient forest in Alaska loses environmental protections" — "A recent decision by the Trump Administration to strip protections from one of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforests could do irreparable harm both to the environment and to the communities that depend on it."

National Geographic: "A new way to profit from ancient Alaskan forests—leave them standing" — "They had all tried to quit the woods, and all of them had failed. One evening after a day’s work cutting old-growth trees in the Alaska rain forest, logger Sam Parker sits in the bunkhouse with two of his coworkers, and commiserates."

Anchorage Daily News: "Opinion: Why the Tongass’ exemption from the Roadless Rule is good public policy" — "The 2001 Roadless Rule was the fourth time significant areas of the Tongass were set aside by the national government."

Seattle Times: "Save the rare wild beauty of the Tongass National Forest from renewed logging" — "When we were young children in the early ’90s, we saw the timber industry here in Southeast Alaska collapse due to a lack of profitability, despite half a century of heavy federal subsidies."

This program aired on November 19, 2020.

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