Klawock, Alaska (KINY) Issues that involve the Tongass National Forest headlined the purpose of the visit.
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski and Agriculture Secretary Perdue visited Prince of Wales to meet with locals about the management of the Tongass National Forest. The goal is to better utilize the forest in various industries, such as recreational, timber, and tourism.
Perdue said that the trip was a success, "It is good to see this first hand. You can show me maps and tell me about it but there is nothing like being here."
Perdue said he met with several groups on the Island. He said cooperation and working together is important, "We want to work with the state to restore the forest to a working forest with multiple uses. It is beautiful. You have cruise lines and people that come here to see it. You also have jobs on a working, productive forest and we want to utilize all of that."
Senator Murkowski pointed out that only a small percentage would be harvested for timber, "The Tongass National Forest is the nation's largest forest. About 90 percent of it will never be harvested."
Perdue was asked about any specific environmental protections like ensuring that machines to harvest the timber have low fuel emissions. Perdue said that there was noting specific set in the plans yet, but that those particular issues will be addressed in the full plan as they appear. He did say that he wants Alaskans involved in the process.
Perdue also visited Washington, Idaho and Oregon before coming to Alaska today as part of his Back to our roots tour. He met with local farmers, producers and forecasters during these trips.