Comments exceed 100 in effort to shape future of integrated forest management on the Tongass

    Photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service

    Ketchikan, Alaska (KINY) - A public outreach designed to compile as much local input as possible to shape the future of integrated forest management on the Tongass National Forest is proving to be successful and there is still plenty of time to comment.

    According to the U.S. Forest Service, It’s clear by the 75 comments added to the interactive story map and 55 emails sent to the agency, the public is actively taking part in the Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy - Forest Management initiative.

    The Forest Service is looking forward to seeing even more engagement over the next few weeks. The agency reports receiving a lot of comments on what people think are the most significant benefits integrated forest management can produce. Tongass staff are encouraged by the genuine and direct submissions the collaborative public process has produced.

    “Whether it’s been project-specific, or just general ideas on what they want to see, it’s been great to hear from so many different people and organizations who are passionate about this forest,” said Tongass Forest Supervisor Frank Sherman. “All of this engagement is going to help us develop a vision and set of priorities that reflect the diverse people and communities that depend on this forest.”

    Since April, the Forest Service has engaged Tribal Nations, Alaska Native corporations, communities, partners, and the public to gather needs, expectations, and project recommendations for future forest management activities. This is done through a variety of mediums. Scheduled in-person workshops, virtual webinars, and community gatherings introduce collaborative efforts and garner substantial feedback.

    Public engagement continues through June. It may be extended to ensure consultation compliance. Once the process is complete and input has been organized, the agency will use the information to develop a ten-year list of priority projects that meet the criteria for integrated management and align with the Tongass Forest Plan.


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