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Saving Endangered Wild Places - BioGems News

Tongass National Forest

In its latest attack on our Alaskan rainforest, the Forest Service has released a proposal that would allow logging in more than 600 roadless acres of the Tongass National Forest. In 2003, the Bush administration exempted the Tongass from the "roadless rule," which protects unspoiled areas of our national forests from logging and roadbuilding.

The Emerald Bay timber sale calls for building six miles of new logging roads through the heart of the Cleveland Peninsula's 350,000-acre roadless area, an expanse of steep forested mountains, alpine lakes and coastal lowlands that provides habitat for wolves, grizzly bears, bald eagles and marten. The region's Emerald and Wasta Creeks watersheds are an important spawning and rearing ground for salmon and trout. The Emerald Bay timber sale would not only cause lasting damage to the hundreds of acres in question, but would help clear the way for future timber sales in the wild Cleveland Peninsula.

» Tell the Forest Service to stop its assaults on Tongass roadless areas.

In the News
As the Bush administration prepares for a second term, the White House is signaling that its unrelenting assaults against our U.S. BioGems will only intensify over the next four years. NRDC will continue to call on BioGems Defenders to help thwart the administration's push for oil and gas drilling in key habitat areas of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, Utah's Redrock wilderness and Alaska's Arctic. Your activism also will be critical to halting plans for a disastrous mining project in the Everglades and for roughly 50 large timber sales in the Tongass National Forest. We have a tough battle ahead of us and must strengthen our efforts.

In a major step forward in our campaign to protect whales from deadly high-intensity sonar, the European Parliament overwhelmingly approved a resolution in October calling for member nations and NATO to adopt a moratorium on the use of this technology. Scientists have linked military sonar -- used by countries around the globe, including the United States -- to a series of whale strandings and deaths in recent years. The decision, the first of its kind by any government or group of governments, seeks to suspend the use of high-intensity sonar until a full environmental assessment of its global impacts is completed. To learn more about whales and the sonar threat, visit the Whales in Danger feature on the BioGems website.

At the urging of NRDC, KB Home, one of the country's largest residential builders, recently agreed to speak out against the Bush administration's plan to abandon the roadless rule, which protects wild national forest areas from development. In September, the homebuilder made its position clear in written comments to the Forest Service, as well as in a New York Times advertisement sponsored by NRDC. Over the past several years, NRDC has worked with KB Home, and with other companies, to increase wood-use efficiency and establish wood-procurement policies that protect endangered forests, including the Tongass.

Many of you have responded to our calls to help protect whales from dangerous sonar. You may have even taken part in our groundbreaking campaign four years ago to save Mexico's renowned Laguna San Ignacio whale nursery from industrial development by the Mitsubishi Corporation.

Now, NRDC is offering an opportunity to visit breathtaking Laguna San Ignacio and see its famous whales up close. If you haven't done so already, enter NRDC's sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip for two to this last pristine birthing ground of the Pacific gray whale and one of the best wildlife-viewing areas on the planet.

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Did You Know?
Due to the extreme cold, a short growing season and nutrient-poor soils, Arctic vegetation is extremely fragile. Plant communities scarred by bulldozer tracks, oil spills and other human activities can take decades to recover.

» Learn more from the Arctic Wildlife Refuge fast facts

To Do Even More...
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save these and other threatened wild places.

» Click here to donate

Nature's Voice: BioGems campaigns are featured in Nature's Voice, our online bulletin of environmental campaigns and victories.

Photo credits: Lisianski Inlet, Tongass National Forest: © Robert Glenn Ketchum; eagle: © Raymond K. Gehman; jaguar: courtesy of Belize Zoo.