The Alaska Regional Forester has put a major logging project in the Tongass National Forest on hold, in response to administrative objections filed by Crag’s clients. The Saddle Lakes Timber Sale, located near Ketchikan on Revillagigedo Island, called for about 50 million board feet of old-growth trees to be logged from about 2,500 acres of coastal rainforest. Crag helped its clients Greenpeace, Cascadia Wildlands, Greater Southeast Alaska Conservation Community, Center for Biological Diversity, and The Boat Company prepare a formal objection to the project.
The Regional Forester’s decision suspends the logging portion of the project pending further environmental review. The decision also allows a fish passage to be built–which will help spawning salmon–and construction of a 1.1-mile road link, which the groups continue to oppose.
“Much of Revilla Island, including the project area and its surroundings, has been very heavily logged, said Larry Edwards, a Greenpeace Forest Campaigner based in Southeast Alaska. “The decision on our objection to the project recognizes that crucial cumulative impacts were not taken into account by the Forest Service in its environmental review.”
The Alaska Mental Health Trust has already clearcut nearly all of a 4,000-acre tract of old-growth forest adjacent to the Saddle Lakes project area. An additional 8,000 acres of forest land in the same area is scheduled to be transferred from the Forest Service to the Trust, and is all but guaranteed to suffer the same fate.
“We’re glad to see this project put on hold,” said Dune Lankard, senior Alaska representative for the Center for Biological Diversity. “This kind of destructive logging comes at a steep price for wildlife including wild salmon, wolves, and goshawks that call this incredible forest home. Revilla Island is a treasure of Southeast Alaska, and deserves better than continued massive clearcutting.”
Crag has been working to protect old-growth forests Southeast Alaska for nearly a decade.