A note from Elsa:
Thank you for being here, and for taking the time to learn about this wild coastal rainforest that’s my home. Currently the temperate rainforest of Southeast Alaska is under attack from a Trump Administration effort to remove protections for designated ‘roadless’ areas in the Tongass National Forest.
In 2019, the Last Stands expedition team will set sail to ground-truth roadless areas on Prince of Wales Island in the Tongass. As soon as our team gets on the ground, and starts bushwhacking through wild country, we’ll have a very different sort of story to share; there will be quantitative measure of ecological value, but there will also be illustrations of delicate understory plants, details of wildlife encounters, and audio recordings of luminous birdsong. Our public lands belong to the people of the United States, we want to humbly share with you the beauty of this rainforest—a global treasure, stewarded by citizens of the US.
Before we get to that, if you’ve never heard of the Roadless Rule, you should take some time to get caught up with the basics, and this page offers you just that. Public lands will only stay public if our democracy is a healthy one; so I’d recommend downloading the actual Roadless Rule. Primary sources offer an experience similar to bushwhacking; there’s some devils club, some muck, but there’s also something like truth. Get in there!
Download the Roadless Rule here.
The Roadless Rule was passed in 2001 to protect characteristics of designated roadless areas in National Forests, and to save the Forest Service the enormous cost of building roads into remote forests. In 2018, the US Forest Service announced that the agency was beginning a process of unraveling protections of Alaska’s un-roaded forests through the creation of an ‘Alaska specific’ Roadless Rule.
Language from the Roadless Rule:
“Inventoried roadless areas provide clean drinking water and function as biological strongholds for populations of threatened and endangered species. They provide large, relatively undisturbed landscapes that are important to biological diversity and the long-term survival of many at risk species.
Inventoried roadless areas provide opportunities for dispersed outdoor recreation, opportunities that diminish as open space and natural settings are developed elsewhere. They also serve as bulwarks against the spread of non-native invasive plant species and provide reference areas for study and research.”
“Our public lands - whether a national park or monument, wildlife refuge, forest or prairie - make each one of us land-rich. It is our inheritance as citizens of a country called America.”
― Terry Tempest Williams