The Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska is the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world.
The Tongass is also the largest National Forest in the United States, covering 16.7 million acres and stretching across mountains, bays, glaciers, 1,000 islands, 18,000 miles of coastline, and almost all of mainland Southeast Alaska. 94% of Southeast Alaska is federally managed lands, and of that, 60% is set aside as Congressionally-designated Wilderness, National Parks, and National Monuments.
The lands and waters of the Tongass sustain a unique Alaskan way of life, including cultural and spiritual ties for Alaska Native communities; subsistence activities; robust salmon fisheries; remote wilderness tourism; and mining, timber, and other economic development activities.
However, forest management in the Tongass National Forest has been a topic of controversy for decades, due in part to the high percentage of public ownership in Southeast Alaska; intense timber extraction in the mid-twentieth century and the economic ramifications of a shrinking industry; and the multiple-use needs of the forest from the tourism, fishing, timber, transportation, and mining sectors, coupled with cultural and traditional uses.
In recent years, collaborative approaches to management have offered opportunities to overcome the seemingly intractable conflict across industries and uses, beginning with the federally chartered Tongass Advisory Committee to develop shared recommendations for a Forest Plan Amendment. This ongoing culture of collaboration on the Tongass has created a range of collaborative land management approaches.
Learn more about some of the recent multi-stakeholder land management efforts:
Tongass Advisory Committee (TAC)
The TAC, a federally-chartered group of diverse stakeholders, met over the course of two years to develop a set of consensus recommendations for the management of timber resources in the Tongass.
Tongass Transition Collaborative (TTC)
The TTC continued the work of the TAC to support ongoing stakeholder cooperation in Tongass management and track progress against the TAC's final consensus recommendations.
Roadless Rule Citizen's Advisory Committee (CAC)
The CAC was convened by the State of Alaska to develop a set of recommendations to support the State in its Cooperating Agency status with the Forest Service in the development of an Alaska-specific Roadless Rule for the Tongass National Forest.
Pre-Commercial Thinning Task Force (PCT)
The PCT Task Force identified opportunities for addressing challenges associated with implementing thinning projects on the Tongass National Forest.
Blueprint for Southeast Alaska
This Blueprint offers promising recommendations for policy changes, investment priorities, and management activities that draw on the social and cultural strengths of Southeast Alaska.