By: Kathie Durbin
344 pages, B/w photos, 1 map
After World War II, the U.S. government lured two pulp companies to Southeast Alaska by promising them low-cost timber from the Tongass National Forest, the planet's largest coastal temperate rain forest. The mills brought jobs and growth to a sparsely settled region. They also wreaked ecological havoc and created a timber industry that broke labor unions, drove competitors out of business, and controlled politicians and the U.S. Forest Service. It took a national campaign, led by grassroots environmentalists, to bring sanity and sustainability to management of the Tongass.
In her insightful account of Alaska's era of pulp, Durbin draws on the voices of the people most affected: independent loggers who fought back when the pulp companies conspired to drive them out of business; courageous biologists who warned that logging was destroying critical fish and wildlife habitat; Tlingit Indians who saw their traditional hunting grounds vanish; young activists and lawyers who found their lives transformed by the battle for the Alaska rain forest.
In this new edition, Durbin updates the story of the Tongass with a new chapter describing political and economic developments since 1999. Among the changes: a dramatic growth in cruise ship tourism, a new governor's plan for a system of roads and bridges to link remote Southeast Alaska communities, and a renewed push by the Forest Service under a timber-friendly administration in Washington, D.C., to open vast roadless areas to logging. Yet the fight for the Alaska rain forest is becoming a broader movement as appreciation for the true value of the region's wilderness grows.
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