Defending Alaska's Tongass National Forest from the Big Thorne Timber Sale

Case Overview

The Tongass National Forest is the ‘crown jewel’ of our forest system, but it has suffered as a result of the decades of unsustainable clear-cutting of old-growth trees.

Stopping industrial-scale old-growth logging and preserving wildlife habitat is essential for those wanting to experience the majesty of the country’s most iconic rainforest, as well as those pursuing the Tongass’ unparalleled hunting and fishing opportunities.

Regrettably, in the summer of 2013, the Forest Service approved the “Big Thorne” timber project on north central Prince of Wales Island, which is the largest, most aggressive timber sale on the Tongass in 20 years. It would log almost entirely remnant old-growth stands that are vital to the fate of deer and wolf populations in the area as well as many other species.

Fortunately, citizen appeals of the Big Thorne project persuaded the agency to put it on hold while a task force re-examines the environmental consequences.

Bears hunt for salmon in Alaska's Tongass National Forest.
Bears hunt for salmon in Alaska's Tongass National Forest. (USDA Photo)

Case Updates

A humpback whale breaches in Seymour Canal with a backdrop of Mt. Sumdum in Southeast Alaska.
July 29, 2015 feature

Saving the Forest for the Trees

Tongass National Forest is home to centuries-old trees and rivers flowing through thousands of islands. It is also the final forest in the fight to keep timber sales out of roadless areas.

Tongass National Forest.
March 26, 2015 Press Release

Conservation Groups Appeal Old-Growth Logging in Big Thorne Sale and Tongass Forest Plan

Bring case to the 9th Circuit

Tongass National Forest.
March 24, 2015 Press Release

Forest Service’s Decision to Clear‐Cut Thousands of Acres of Old Growth Forest is Upheld

Judge approves Big Thorne, the largest old growth timber sale in decades, and the Tongass Forest Plan