Rows of evergreen trees on an incline; light fog floats between the rows.

Tongass National Forest

The Ton­gass Nation­al For­est is a large tem­per­ate rain­for­est in south­east Alas­ka. The 2001 Road­less Area Con­ser­va­tion Rule (Road­less Rule) pro­hibits cer­tain road con­struc­tion and tim­ber har­vest­ing in nation­al forests on a nation-wide basis. The rule has helped pro­tect over 9 mil­lion acres of land in the Ton­gass Nation­al Forest. 

2017-2021

  • Octo­ber 2019

    In Octo­ber 2019, the Unit­ed States For­est Ser­vice pro­vid­ed notice that it was con­sid­er­ing exempt­ing the Ton­gass Nation­al For­est from the 2001 rule. The For­est Ser­vice claimed that its pro­pos­al would have no mean­ing­ful adverse envi­ron­men­tal impacts.

  • Decem­ber 2019

    In Decem­ber 2019, Cal­i­for­nia Attor­ney Gen­er­al Xavier Becer­ra led a coali­tion of six attor­neys gen­er­al in fil­ing com­ments in oppo­si­tion to the For­est Service’s Octo­ber 2019 pro­pos­al. The com­ments not­ed that the pro­pos­al vio­lates the Admin­is­tra­tive Pro­ce­dure Act (APA) as the For­est Ser­vice failed to ade­quate­ly explain why it was aban­don­ing the 2001 rule. The attor­neys gen­er­al also point­ed out that the pro­pos­al vio­lates the Nation­al Envi­ron­men­tal Pol­i­cy Act (NEPA) and the Endan­gered Species Act (ESA) by fail­ing to ade­quate­ly eval­u­ate the envi­ron­men­tal impacts asso­ci­at­ed with open­ing up the Ton­gass Nation­al For­est to road­build­ing and log­ging activ­i­ty, and by fail­ing to ade­quate­ly con­sult with the Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice and the Nation­al Marine Fish­eries Ser­vice regard­ing impacts that such activ­i­ties may have on threat­ened and endan­gered species.

  • Sep­tem­ber 2020

    In Sep­tem­ber 2020, the For­est Ser­vice announced the final Envi­ron­men­tal Impact State­ment (FEIS) for its plan to exempt the Ton­gass Nation­al For­est from the Road­less Rule. Cal­i­for­nia Attor­ney Gen­er­al Becer­ra released a state­ment after the announce­ment con­demn­ing the plan as hav­ing no legal or ratio­nal basis.”

  • Octo­ber 2020

    In Octo­ber 2020, ignor­ing the attor­neys gen­er­al, the For­est Ser­vice pub­lished a final deci­sion to exempt the Ton­gass Nation­al For­est from the Road­less Rule, open­ing tens of thou­sands of acres of old-growth forests to tim­ber harvesting.