In conjunction with the United Nations’ declaration of 2011 as the International Year of Forests, the U.S. Forest Service has launched a yearlong campaign to spruce up public awareness about Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska.
|(c) 2011 Alaska Wilderness League|
The Tongass, the nation’s largest forest, is also referred to as the “crown jewel” of the U.S. Forest System.
Visitors to this region often speak about cruising up the surrounding Inside Passage but they may never realize that the misty mountains, old-growth trees, and array of wildlife that they are viewing are actually the Tongass.
At 17 million acres (the size of West Virginia), Tongass contains large densities of bears and eagles, more than 300 bird species and numerous marine species including ocras, humpback whales and Stellar sea lions. Tongass is also known for the Mendenhall Glacier, a well-visited attraction.
The Tongass provides residents and visitors with a number of activities to partake in, ranging from camping, fishing and hiking, to boating, rafting, skiing and canoeing. Additionally, the forest offers a number of cultural, natural and historical resources.
To learn more about the Tongass and the 2011 IYF programs offered this summer, visit www.myalaskaforests.com.