Heritage Forests Campaign Once They're Gone, They're Gone Forever

Forest Service Receives Over 150,000 Nationwide Public Comments Rejecting the Bush Administration's Tongass "No Wilderness" Proposal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the 100th Anniversary of the Tongass National Forest, more than 150,000 Americans rejected the Bush Administration's proposal to designate no new wilderness areas in the Tongass, America's largest old-growth forest.

"The stakes are high. The Bush administration's decision on the future of the Tongass National Forest will be a bellweather for how this administration is going to protect the rest of America's national forests," said Jane Danowitz, Director of the Heritage Forests Campaign. "And the forecast isn't promising."

After conducting a court-ordered wilderness review of over nine million acres in the Tongass Forest, the Bush Administration decided in May to designate no new wilderness areas, and put forth a "no-action" preferred alternative for wilderness recommendations in the Tongass Forest. Currently the Bush Administration is pursuing 29 large-scale industrial timber sales in roadless areas of the Tongass.

In addition to the decision on Tongass Forest, The Bush Administration will decide shortly on the future of one of the most significant conservation policies in decades -- the Roadless Area Conservation Rule -- a policy that protects more than 58 million acres of America's last undeveloped forest lands. To date the Forest Service has received more than 2.2 million comments favoring roadless protection.

"The American people are trying to get through to the Bush Administration, but all they are hearing is a busy signal," said Jane Danowitz, Director of the Heritage Forests Campaign, a national alliance of organizations working to protect our national forests. "By protecting the Tongass National Forest, the Bush Administration can send a clear message about its forest priorities."

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Contact: Tony Iallonardo, NET
(202) 887-8855

The Heritage Forests Campaign is an alliance of conservationists, wildlife advocates, clergy, educators, scientists, and other Americans working together to uphold protection of our National Forests. Heritage Forests Campaign's partners include Alaska Rainforest Coalition, American Hiking Society, Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, National Environmental Trust, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, US PIRG, and The Wilderness Society.

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Heritage Forests Campaign News Release

August 19, 2002

Public Comments Show Overwhelming Support For Tongass Protection

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