Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 14, 2016

Contact:  Larry Edwards, (907) 747-7557,
Gabriel Scott, (907) 491-0856,

Alaska Timber Sale on Hold After Objections by Environmental Groups

Controversial Road Link, Though, Allowed to Proceed

KETCHIKAN, Alaska— In response to an appeal by environmental groups, the supervisor of the Tongass National Forest has put the Saddle Lake timber sale on hold until a “supplemental environmental review” can be completed and public comments are reviewed. Friday’s decision, though, allows a pass to be built to help spawning salmon, which environmental groups support, and construction of a 1.1-mile road link, which the groups continue to oppose.

The proposed Saddle Lakes timber sale project is located in the middle of Revillagigedo Island, east of the city of Ketchikan, on a peninsula between George and Carroll inlets.

In November environmental groups filed appeals formally objecting to a final environmental impact statement and accompanying draft project decision for the project. The proposed decision was for 47 million board feet of logging and 37 miles of road construction and reconstruction.

“Much of Revilla Island, including the project area and its surroundings, have been very heavily logged,” said Larry Edwards, a Greenpeace forest campaigner based in southeastern Alaska. “The decision on our objection to the project recognizes that crucial cumulative impacts were not taken into account in the EIS. Particularly, those impacts involve a transfer of 8,000 acres of forestland from the Tongass National Forest to the Alaska Mental Health Trust that is in the works.”

Objections were filed in November directly over the Saddle Lakes project and in December concerning a related modification of a designated old-growth habitat reserve. Objecting organizations include Greenpeace, GSACC (Greater SE Alaska Conservation Community), Cascadia  Wildlands, the Center for Biological Diversity and The Boat Company.

“Our organizations remain adamantly opposed to the 1.1-mile road link, or similar links across Revilla Island,” said Gabriel Scott of Cascadia Wildlands. “This link is part of a big scheme by the state and federal governments to interconnect isolated logging road systems throughout the island to a log-export terminal in Ketchikan. This under-the-radar plan for massive exploitation of old-growth and second-growth forest has not been squarely brought before the public.”

That plan would interconnect isolated logging road systems that were created decades ago, when floating logging camps were used. A map of this transportation scheme is available here.

The planned road link is also related to a proposed transfer of about 8,000 acres of Tongass old-growth forest on the island to the Alaska Mental Health Trust. AMHT has already clearcut nearly all of a 4,000-acre tract it owns in adjacent to the Saddle Lakes project area.

“We’re glad to see this project put on hold. This kind of destructive logging comes at a steep price for wildlife that call these incredible forests home,” said Dune Lankard, senior Alaska representative for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Revilla Island is a treasure of Southeast Alaska and deserves better than massive clear-cutting.”


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