In just a few weeks, I'll be boarding a plane headed for Juneau, Alaska where I'll be joining a group of other journalists, bloggers, photographers and conservationists on a tour of the Tongass National Forest, a trip that is being generously sponsored by Trout Unlimited, Fishpond, Tenkara USA and RIO. The Tongass, located in southeast Alaska, is the last remaining large tract of temperate rainforest, the only remaining ecosystem of its kind. It is commonly referred to as the "Salmon Forest", a place where -- quite literally -- trees grow salmon and salmon grow trees.
As noted in the article we published a few weeks ago, Protecting the Tongass: Lessons Already Learned, the Tongass National Forest is facing a myriad of challenges that are wholly familiar to the temperate rainforests of the lower 48 and Canada. Over the last century, these forests in the lower 48 and Canada have seen themselves divided and destroyed by logging, their salmon populations severely diminished by over-harvesting and habitat destruction that is the direct result of human development such as hydroelectric dam construction.
The goal of those that are working to protect the Tongass from meeting these same fates, and the mission I'll be on when I visit the Tongass in July, is to help raise awareness of this one-of-a-kind ecosystem and its value to our economy, the indigenous cultures that depend on its health and vitality, as well as our culture and fishing heritage. I'll get to see and experience the Tongass first hand and get the chance to fish for multiple species of salmon, trout and dolly varden.
It is a rare opportunity and a privilege to travel to such a wild and unique place and to be a part of an effort to preserve and protect the Tongass. Leading up to, during and after the trip, we'll be posting a bevy of articles, blog posts and photography to help introduce our readers to the Tongass and all it has to offer. To learn more about the Tongass, please read the article mentioned above and visit the website of the American Salmon Forest campaign.