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A New Film Encourages Viewers to Voice Support for Tongass National Forest

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Understory, a Wild Confluence film directed by Colin Arisman and produced by Elsa Sebastian, follows three women who embark on a 350-mile sailing voyage through Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. Their goal is to document how clear-cut logging impacts the ecosystem, local communities, and the climate.

The Tongass has been heavily logged since the 1950s, when the federal government started subsidizing the state’s timber industry. Today it’s the last national forest where old-growth trees are clear-cut. In 2020, under the Trump administration, the Forest Service removed Roadless Rule protections for the Tongass, making nine million acres vulnerable to expanded logging and mining. Conservationists fear the last stands of old growth could be gone within a lifetime.

In November, the Biden administration proposed restoring protections for the Tongass and opened up a 60-day public-comment period so people could weigh in on the future of the rainforest. The filmmakers encourage viewers interested in taking action to participate in the public comment until January 24 via Last Stands