TONGASS NATIONAL FOREST
Photo credit: Richard Spener
WHY TO LOVE THIS PLACE
At approximately 17 million acres, the Tongass National Forest is America’s largest national forest, encompassing the majority of the Alaska Panhandle in Southeast Alaska. Rising from the deep, rich waters of Alaska’s Inside Passage, Southeast Alaska is a land of ancient forests, mountains and glaciers with bountiful, diverse and unique wildlife.
The Tongass is home to humpback and orca whales, otters, beavers, Alexander Archipelago wolves and some of the largest, densest concentrations of brown bears and bald eagles found on the planet.
The many Tongass glaciers that can be seen today are remnants of the last ice age during the Pleistocene Epoch. The Tongass is also home to five species of salmon: king, red, silver, chum and pink.
GATEWAY TO ALASKA
The Tongass is the place to visit! Often referred to as the “Inside Passage” or the gateway to Alaska, commercial fishing, tourism and recreation are the fastest growing job sectors in Southeast Alaska.
AMERICA'S PUBLIC LAND
At approximately 17 million acres, the Tongass National Forest is America’s largest national forest. There are 19 designated wilderness areas within the Tongass, more than in any other national forest.
The Tongass alone stores more than 1.5 billion metric tons of CO2-eq and sequesters an additional 10 million metric tons each year. It stores 8% of the total carbon in the forests of the United States.
LATEST TONGASS HIGHLIGHTS
THE FIGHT TO PROTECT THE TONGASS FROM OLD-GROWTH CLEARCUTS
The Tongass National Forest, America's largest national forest, continues to be threatened by new congressional attempts to clear-cut rare and valuable old-growth trees. In addition, in October 2020, the U.S. Forest Service under the previous Trump administration announced plans to issue a final Alaska-specific Roadless Rule, eliminating roadless protections for the Tongass National Forest and opening millions of acres of irreplaceable old-growth temperate rainforest to clearcut logging. Alaska state officials and the Alaska congressional delegation are attempting to force on local communities and the region’s economies something they don’t want or need: a revival of large-scale clear-cutting and an attempt to resurrect an industry that supports less than one percent of the region’s economy.