Biden Administration Moves to Protect Country's Largest National Forest
On July 15, 2021, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a new Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy through which USDA will consult with Tribes and Alaska Native corporations, and engage partners and communities in a collaborative process to invest approximately $25 million in financial and technical resources in sustainable opportunities for economic growth and community well-being and identify priorities for future investments. USDA will also end large-scale old growth timber sales on the Tongass National Forest and will instead focus management resources to support forest restoration, recreation and resilience, including for climate, wildlife habit and watershed improvement. Small and micro old growth sales will still be offered for community consumption and cultural uses such as totem poles, canoes and tribal artisan use. USDA also announced that it will initiate a rulemaking this summer that will propose to restore 2001 Roadless Rule protections on the Tongass National Forest that were stripped by the previous administration.