Salmon anglers and U.S. taxpayers, take notice. It’s time to tell the U.S. Forest Service to stop misspending your money in one of America’s Best Wild Places, the Tongass National Forest of Southeast Alaska.
Jev Shelton, a Juneau-based gillnetter and fish policy guru who has been fishing the waters of Southeast Alaska for five decades, is among those in D.C. this week asking the Forest Service to change its approach in the Tongass. Here’s some of what Jev told Trout Unlimited in a pre-trip interview:
“It bothers me greatly that the U.S. Forest Service has publicized as a priority the continued restoration of salmon habitats that were seriously degraded during the prior high volume logging policies but has failed utterly to take meaningful action to implement that priority. The Forest Service has not altered its budget in any manner that would make that priority meaningful while many very productive watersheds suffer from stream damage that will not restore naturally and from road culvert interruptions that require direct remediation. I am going in order to express that frustration and to press for the necessary budgetary changes.”
“Southeast Alaska’s pristine watersheds are the envy of many and the home to our returning salmon. The health of our wild stock is paramount to the sustainability of our wild salmon runs. We have watersheds in the Tongass that have been disturbed by past logging and need to be restored. Restoration of an impacted watershed can improve salmon productivity and help sustain our salmon runs for generations to come.”
If you’re someone who cares about salmon – whether it’s catching and releasing them, or savoring them on your plate, Trout Unlimited encourages you to contact Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell (firstname.lastname@example.org) and USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Harris Sherman (email@example.com) and express your support for Tongass salmon. Tell them it’s time to back up their commitment to salmon watershed restoration with adequate funding. Also please contact your representatives in Congress.