COMMENT TO HELP PROTECT AMERICA’S SALMON FOREST
The Tongass National Forest, encompassing nearly 17 million acres of wilderness in southeast Alaska, is America’s largest national forest. For anglers, the territory has taken on a more personal moniker: America’s Salmon Forest. According to Scott Hed of the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska, more than 70 unique watersheds within the Tongass have been identified as the most important to salmon and trout by a group of scientists and southeast Alaska stakeholders.
This doesn’t mean the area has guaranteed protection from development, however, and both sportsmen and conversationists keenly monitor the forest to ensure those same watersheds remain pristine and ready to support the trout and salmon populations.
Recently, the U.S. Forest Service has released draft changes to the Tongass Land Management Plan. This amendment includes higher levels of protection for over 70 of the Tongass’ most productive watersheds. We are thrilled at this opportunity to encourage the Forest Service to follow through on these proposals, but need your help to do so.
Help ensure America’s Salmon Forest will continue to entrance the generations to come. The wild salmon spawned and reared in the Tongass National Forest represent approximately 70 percent of all wild salmon harvested from our national forests, roughly 24 percent of Alaska’s overall salmon catch, about 30 percent of the salmon caught on the West Coast of the United States and close to 13 percent of the salmon harvested on the Pacific Rim. It’s no wonder that the Tongass is referred to as the “salmon forest.”
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